Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cook Book Review: Little Old Lady Recipes

Recently I was contacted by someone at Quirk Books and asked if I would review a few of their cookbooks on this site. I was honored, excited, and I love getting free things - especially cookbooks (just ask my friend Larry back in New Jersey who sent me 2 boxes of cookbooks before we moved!). So this is the first review - and while it's technically not something I put in my mouth, it's something that would enable me to make something that I could put in my mouth. So it fits. :)

Little Old Lady Recipes, by Meg Favreau

The concept of this book is quite cute - recipes from Grandmas, basically. The cover suggests the recipes are made with love and lots of lard - fortunately that's a big misrepresentation since there's hardly a mention of lard in the book. Admittedly my favorite part of the book is the disclaimer that is printed right in the front: "...use your common sense when you're cooking recipes from this book (or any other). If you don't like it, don't eat it. And if it smells bad, it's probably rotten. These are rules that'll serve you well in life and in the kitchen." Such truth!

At first glance the book seems homey and cute - there are photos of little old ladies next to recipes, and some fiesty comments peppered throughout (such as this beauty from Gladys, an 84 year old bridge club hostess: "If you are working in the kitchen and someone asks if you want help, immediately remove your apron, hand it to them, and go in the living room to have a drink."). However I was a bit dismayed when I realized that the photos are not necessarily of the little old ladies who created the recipes. Seems like they could have done with at least one photo of food somewhere in the book, but perhaps that's just what I like to see when I'm reading recipes. Upon reading through the book, it all made sense when I realized the author was not some little old lady, but a rather sassy-looking young woman. This isn't a list of her own recipes, but a collection of recipes she pulled from the books created by women's clubs around the country. Actually a cool concept, since those books are not likely to be made available in large quantities - or more likely they cease to exist all together after a few years. So kudos to the author, Meg Favreau, for pulling these all together.

The recipes - they're cute. They do honestly represent a simpler time of life that you can generally count on hearing about from little old ladies. Familiar ingredients with easy instructions - these are the types of recipes many people might have learned from their mothers or grandmothers. I was expecting to see my Grandma's Potato Soup recipe in there someplace. And there's something for everyone - Hot Toddy (yes, that's a drink!), desserts, Bourbon Balls and Matzoth Balls. While none of the recipes are challenging, I imagine the results would invoke some wonderful feelings of comfort. It's likely a great cookbook for a beginner in the kitchen, or someone who prefers an easy time when throwing together a meal. And it would fit perfectly in a stocking hung by the hearth!

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