Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cookbook Library: The Amish Cook at Home, redux

Apparently my review of The Amish Cook at Home had the book's co-author, Kevin Williams, rolling his eyes. I was amazed at the spike in my blog hits after my review went up, and was astounded to find that almost all of my new visitors were coming from The Amish Cook website. Yes, The Amish Cook has a website. And it is great! Full of information and recipes and all kinds of stuff worth reading. I am returning Kevin's favor by providing a link to the website here. But I am afraid my review offended several people when that was not my intent. Let's be clear, I think The Amish Cook at Home is a beautiful book. My only quibble is that some of the recipes are not quite as elegant as the book itself. That does not make them bad. Rest assured, I did not turn to an Amish cookbook looking for frou frou recipes. I grew up in the Midwest -- I long for casserole down to my genes. And I understand that Amish cooks shop at grocery stores and use pre-made ingredients just like everyone else. I simply meant to point out that the book may appeal to a wider audience if the recipes matched the beauty of the photographs and narrative. Many of them did. But there is a segment of the fancy-cookbook-buying population -- call them foodies; or the health-conscious; or West Coasters; or, more simply, snobs -- who would be put off by the recipes calling for Miracle Whip, or canned cream of mushroom soup, or margarine, or the like. Again, that does not mean that the recipes are not good or that they do not appeal to a broad spectrum of home cooks. But I think that there is a divide between those foodies willing to shell out $29.99 for a glossy cookbook, and home cooks looking for yummy recipes to feed their families. The Amish Cook at Home tries to straddle that line.

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