Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Farm Fresh Southern Cooking



Title:  Farm Fresh Southern Cooking: Straight From the Garden to Your Dinner Table
Author: Tammy Algood
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format:  Softcover
Pages: 280
ISBN:  978-1-4016-0158-4
Retail Price:  $24.99


In our quest for better health, our family has been buying more fresh vegetables and preparing them in new and healthier ways.  Of course, I found the title of this cookbook intriguing: Farm Fresh Southern Cooking: Straight From the Garden to Your Dinner Table.  I was looking forward to a cookbook that would provide us with more vegetable recipe options.  Except, I discovered when I received the cookbook that I am not a southern cook.  I'm not a southern gal, and our family doesn't really care for southern cuisine (other than spicy Cajun foods).


I initially flipped through the cookbook and was impressed with the full-color photographs throughout the book.  There are a lot of images in this book to inspire you.  My second read-through included reading the recipes, and that's when I hit my first snag.  Most of these recipes called for items that we just don't stock in our kitchen.  Using the cookbook would mean needing to purchase things like: balsamic vinegar, horseradish, dry red wine, shallots, and red wine vinegar (to name a few).


When Steve brought home fresh broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, and bell peppers, I went to the index to try to find recipes for these vegetables.  There weren't very many.  There were a few recipes where these vegetables were one of many ingredients, but there weren't very many that let me prepare them as just a vegetable dish, or that would tell me different ways to prepare each vegetable on its own.  One of the two broccoli recipes called for turnips and rutabagas which are NOT in my pantry.  The other was a dip, which wasn't what I needed for that meal.  The squash recipes mainly turned the squash into complicated casseroles.


I did find two green bean recipes, but only one I could actually prepare that day: Lemon Steamed Green Beans.  It sounded like it would be a refreshingly different way to prepare green beans for my family. The instructions were clear, and easy to follow. However, Lemon Steamed Green Beans were not a hit in my family.  No one liked them.  I ate the majority of the beans myself  as leftovers.  Finally, I gave the last few servings to my chickens.


Apparently I am just not a southern cook.  Whenever I pull out this cookbook, I either don't find the type of recipe I am looking for, I don't have the ingredients, or I don't find the options appealing. I guess I had hoped it would include more vegetable dishes since it includes "farm fresh" and "garden" in the title.  Admittedly, I also avoid recipes with multiple stages required or a LONG list of ingredients.  Some of these recipes fell into those categories.  If it requires "cooked chicken chunks" then I either have to purchase that packaged, or plan ahead and cook extra chicken to save for later.  Leftover chicken rarely happens in our home.


Farm Fresh Southern Cooking is a good cookbook, just not one that works well for our family's tastes, shopping method, or cooking methods.  This cookbook will work best for those who have a very well-stocked and diverse cupboard of spices, herbs, and condiments.  It will work best for those who plan their meals, and then shop to fit the meal plan.  In our home, we shop what is on sale, and then we plan meals from what is in the pantry.  And though our pantry is full and over-flowing, I did not have ALL the ingredients for the majority of these recipes.


This is a good cookbook, just not one that suits our family's tastes, shopping methods, or cooking methods. If you live in the south, don't mind long ingredient lists or shopping to fit a menu, or have more time to spend in the kitchen than I do ... this cookbook should appeal to you.  Despite being disappointed in my attempts to use the cookbook thus far, there are still a handful of recipes in it that I want to try.  I just need to plan ahead, acquire the extra ingredients, and give them a try.
This cookbook was provided free to me from BookSneeze for review purposes.  These thoughts and opinions are all my own.

April E.

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