Comments: Seems to us that the title is a little redundant – what besides comfort food are you going to get from a slow cooker? It's not like there's slow-cooker sushi or slow-cooker fusion food.
Nevertheless, Judith Finlayson clearly extends the boundaries of comfort food with this book. There is a certain amount of Cajun Seasoning and jalapeno and Scotch bonnet chile peppers, which we have never associated with comfort food, as well as an abundance of ethnic or international dishes. Finlayson makes the argument that comfort foods need not be boring – they can be robust, with an international flair, and have the potential to transcend time, place, memory, and "work their way into our hearts."
We are still wrestling with this theory a little bit, but perhaps there are only 100 or 150 recipes that we think of as comfort foods, and if you're going to feature 275 recipes, perhaps you do have to push the envelope a bit. And perhaps our comfort-foods vocabulary does need expanding.
The book starts with an ode to the slow cooker, with information on basic operations, time management, and food safety. Subsequent chapters feature recipes, for bread and breakfast, starters and snacks, soups, poultry, fish and seafood, beef and veal, pork and lamb, meatless main dishes, grains and side dishes, and desserts. There are notes throughout the book on recipes the author considers "entertaining worthy," as well as which are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, which bits can be made in advance, and which recipes can be halved, for production in a small slow-cooker.
These are not recipes where you chuck ingredients into the slow cooker; they require some preparation, but slow-cooker dishes that do not require some preparation are not worth making.
We remain totally confused with the statement that the Zuppa di Pesce "doesn't contain any seafood," when it clearly contains seafood (as any fish soup would), but perhaps it's just an editing error (something we generally overlook). And risotto – whether made in a slow cooker or not – is not made with barley, wild rice, or short-grain brown rice. Whatever that dish is, it is not risotto.
The more recipes we read, the more we got the impression that the book (or author) feels a little guilty focusing on comfort foods, and intentionally shortchanges the comfort portion. Nonetheless, this is a very workmanlike book of recipes that will help get dinner on the table – and likely expand your comfort-food horizons a bit.