The format makes the book a bit complicated, and the design, with a mix of regular printed entries, and entries made to look like sticky notes or notebook paper keeps the book from being easy to flip through for inspiration. But a calendar at the beginning of each chapter lists all of Ray's meals for each month, making it easy to find new recipes at a glance.
Some readers may be interested to know the book also features a section in the back by Ray's husband, John Cusimano called, "My Year in Cocktails." Cusimano shares dozens of drink recipes; some are simple while others require special trips to the store. Despite the title, the drinks section of the book is not organized by month.
Being a book about the home cooking and eating habits of such a high-profile celebrity chef I was slightly disappointed not to find more dramatic revelations, like what Ray does when a sauce just won't thicken, or half her tomatoes are mealy, or the ethics of serving your family pasta you accidentally dropped on the floor. Alas, she seems as put-together in her own kitchen as on TV, and far less likely than me to encounter kitchen mishaps.
However, I did discover Rachael Ray eats a lot of pasta, a whole lot of pasta. Any given month was sure to contain at couple pasta recipes every other page, tossed with almost every kind of meat, veggie, and sauce you can think of. It seemed only fitting that I try one of her pasta recipes for myself.
I picked pasta with sausage and kale in roasted garlic sauce, which Ray created on Jan. 31, after finding inspiration at a "fabulous" New York restaurant. I only modified it a little bit, leaving out the white wine because I didn't have any on hand, cutting back on the onion a bit, and adding extra kale because I wanted plenty of veggies. I even made the homemade sausage, which was ridiculously easy, and almost made me feel like one of the pros.