Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fire burn and cauldron bubble

Reviews by Jeanne

There are some wonderful cookbooks out there and I'm happy to say our library has quite a number of them. Currently, I'm in a desperate search for some recipes for the holidays. I thought I had it all figured out when I learned that there are some new food restrictions for some family members, others have had all the turkey and ham they want to see until next Thanksgiving, and my plan to go out to eat has a slight flaw: there really aren't too many places open on Christmas Day.

This means I need to find something to cook. Something easy. Something foolproof, although it has been said there is nothing foolproof from a sufficiently talented fool. The kitchen is one of the many places where I over-qualify.

Here are some interesting and possibly holiday saving books:

Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Cookbook Volume 2 by Wanda E. Brunstetter (641.566 BRU Main)
Along with Beverly Lewis and Cindy Woodsmall, Brunstetter is arguably one of the best known authors of Amish fiction. To give Englishers a real taste of Amish foods, Brunstetter has gathered more than 200 recipes from Amish friends across the country. The layout is clean and uncluttered, making it very easy to use this as a real cookbook. Interspersed among the recipes are lovely color photos, some home remedies, and bits of information about the various Amish communities and their customs.

The Cracker Kitchen by Janis Owens (641.5975 OWE Main and Avoca)
There’s a full review of this one elsewhere on the blog but the recipes sounded really good and like something we might actually eat. (Well, not the ‘possum or rattlesnake but Ms. Owens wasn’t keen on those herself.) She helpfully divided her book up by season, two of which are Winter and Football. That covers the interests of most of the family so there should be some very appropriate recipes. I had a very good time reading it because of all the humor, which might improve the cook if not the cooking.

The Cook Book: A Collection of Recipes (641.5 COO Main & Avoca)
This is an absolutely delicious collection of recipes courtesy of the legendary cooks of the Avoca Friends of the Library! I’ve been lucky enough to join them for their luncheons on occasion. (Pause here while I sigh with happiness.) These ladies have dishes for every occasion and taste. I’m partial to spinach, and there is wonderful recipe that is cooked slowly in a crock pot, meaning that it can be made up early and free the rest of the day for other pursuits, such as double-checking the local restaurants to see if one has decided to stay open on Christmas. (By the way, copies of the cookbook are still available for purchase at the Avoca Branch Library. They make great gifts!)

But after all, recipes can only do so much. The last time I cooked, the entire family suddenly developed a taste for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Who would have guessed they didn’t like stir-fried turnips and creamed cabbage? Not me, obviously.

Happy cooking, everyone!

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