My World Wednesday: Cookbook Review

Reading a cookbook is my favorite way to relax and unwind. I always have several at my bedside and I read a few pages each night before I sleep. At this busy time of year, I make sure to have a few new cookbooks on hand. I recently picked up three that I want to talk about. You can find links to them on Amazon on my sidebar.

Heirloom Cooking with the Brass Sisters

I have the Brass Sisters’ Heirloom Baking and use it all the time so when I saw their new cooking book, I had to have it. I’m not disappointed. It is just as wonderful as the baking book. This cookbook has so much more than recipes; it tells the stories of families and life.

Often when I read a cookbook from even ten years ago, the recipes and techniques seem outdated. The Brass sisters have taken their heirloom recipes and updated them for today. I’m not saying they make everything low-fat and low-calorie but they did leave out the lard and other ingredients we don’t use much today.

A few of the recipes I want to try from Heirloom Cooking are: Savory Tomato Peanut Butter Soup, Louella’s Church Cauliflower, Sweet Potato Salad, Mrs. Yaffee’s Pierogi, Easter Meatloaf, Hot Chicken Salad, Mrs. Naka’s Lemon Angel Pie, Orange Drop Cakes and Edinburgh Tea Squares.

Church Socials, 782 Delicious Recipes from our Church Communities by Barbara Greenman.

With 782 recipes, it’s hard to go wrong with this cookbook. Church social, doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? These recipes are homey comfort food for the most part. Some of the chapters included are: After the Service, Dinner on the Grounds, Potluck Suppers, Holidays & Special Occasions and Bake Sale Treats.

As someone who grew up with her church’s yearly Turkey Supper, Winter Chicken and Waffle Supper, Church Picnic, Memorial Day Soup and Sandwich Lunch, Ladies’ Aid Refreshment Tables, Bake Sales and Christmas Parties, this cookbook brings back wonderful memories. No matter what part of the country, the place to find real ethnic or regional cooking is at a church meal.

Saving the best for last, Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics by Ina Garten. I love Ina. Her recipes are always stylish and elegant but easy enough for anyone to do. She doesn’t believe in food trends like foam or faux food or the crazy combinations featured on “Top Chef.” Her food is all about using the best ingredients and letting the taste of them shine through.

One fun feature of this cookbook is Ina’s top ten lists. She covers things like 10 no cook things to serve, arranging flowers like a pro, and things not to serve at a dinner party.

Ina has such a dry sense of humor throughout the book and she’s totally honest. She mentions that at one fancy holiday dinner party she was catering, a guest brought a cheesecake covered with canned cherries. She hated to add it to the dessert table but she didn’t want to offend the guest or the hostess. At the end of the party, every piece of the cheesecake was eaten and some of her fancier desserts were left.

Making old favorites in the best ways possible is kind of the theme of this cookbook. The dishes are familiar but the prep and ingredients are great, fresh ideas. Each recipe has a gorgeous photo to show how the dish should look. This is so helpful for new cooks as well as seasoned ones.