Joanna Gaines's New Cookbook Is Finally Here, & the Recipes Provide a Rare Glimpse into Her Personal Life
Just as you started running out of distracti-baking projects to do at home, Joanna Gaines swoops in with 145 new recipes to try. The former Fixer Upper star's second cookbook, Magnolia Table, Volume 2, is now available, and this set of dishes provides even more insight into what the Gaines family's life is like when cameras aren't rolling.
There's the creamy chicken and poblano soup, inspired by a dish Joanna and her husband, Chip, ordered on one of their first dates at a now-shuttered restaurant in Dallas. And soft pretzels with cheese sauce, which remind Jo of the first thing she and her daughters grab when they're at one of the Gaines boys' baseball games. There's even the seaweed soup Joanna's mom has made after the birth of all five of Joanna's kids.
"It is Korean custom to make seaweed soup for a new mom after she's given birth because it's packed with all kinds of nutrients and a variety of protective antioxidants that are so healthy for the body," she explained in the recipe's headnote. Her mom now makes a batch of the soup—which features sticky rice, beef tenderloin and plenty of green onions—every season for the family to enjoy.
"Through the process of publishing my first book, I’d say I became even more committed to the value of sharing food and swapping recipes," Joanna shared in a Q&A with PureWow. "There was something about watching my family’s favorite meals brought to life in different ways on so many dinner tables across the country that really made me marvel at the power of food and the ways it builds connections between us."
Gaines writes that "food with a story tastes different," and it's true: With all of the recipes on the internet for Cacio e Pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper), why make one coming from an interior designer and home renovator, rather than a chef or one with 1,000-plus five-star reviews? But then you learn that Gaines's recipe is based on the one thing she craved while visiting Italy after she first learned she was pregnant with her youngest son. "The version we developed for this book tastes like a really good stripped-down mac and cheese—and a single bite takes me back to those Italian dinners and the first few weeks of my pregnancy with my sweet Crew," she writes. It's personal and relatable—even if you've never been pregnant or been to Italy, you know of a dish that transports you.
Magnolia Table, Volume 2 also stretched Gaines outside of her comfort zone, pushing her to work with her team to develop new recipes beyond her tried-and-true repertoire. "In a lot of instances I had to allow my food tastes and preferences evolve, which isn’t a natural inclination of mine," she told us. "I tend to trust what I’ve always liked."
There are also recipes for diehard Joanna Gaines fans: Several dishes include a stamp in the upper-righthand corner, noting that they're a dish served at the Gaineses' restaurant, Magnolia Table, or Joanna's bakery, Silos Baking Co. (And if you haven't made a pilgrimage to the epicenter of Chip and Joanna's world, the Silos at Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas, you need to turn to page 58 and bake the bacon-studded Prize Pig biscuits ASAP.)
It's too soon to say whether this book will replicate the success of Gaines's debut, Magnolia Table, which was released in April 2018 and went on to become the second-highest-selling book of the year (not just in the cookbook category—we’re talking all books) behind only Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. But one thing's for sure: It's filled with plenty of inspiration to take your weeknight dinners to the next level.