Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Commonsense Kitchen: A review

For my second food book in the first quarter of the Foodie Book Challenge, I read and skimmed The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 recipes + lessons for a hand-crafted life. This is a very comprehensive cookbook with many extras.
Table of Contents goes like this.

  1. Kitchen Basics
  2. Breakfast: Oats, Grits, Bacon, and Eggs
  3. Pancakes, Biscuits, and Cornbread
  4. Bread, butter, Crackers, and Cheese
  5. Great Lunches
  6. Beans
  7. Hot Vegetable and Vegetable Soups
  8. Salads and Dressings
  9. Beef, Pork, and Lamb
  10. Chicken and Turkey
  11. Fish and Shellfish
  12. Pasta, Dumplings, Rice, and Stuffing
  13. Sauces and Relishes
  14. Pies and Fruit Desserts
  15. Cakes
  16. Gooey Desserts
  17. Cookies and Candy
  18. Menus
  19. Dishes, Stains, and Soap
The introduction explains that this is a textbook for Deep Springs College and Ranch, where 26 males learn to run a working ranch including all things that go on in a kitchen. 

As one might imagine the American fare is the hearty kind like Chicken-Fried Steak, Red Chile Enchiladas, and nine variations of Beef Stew, but there is also a delicate touch with recipes such as Cream Scones, Goat Cheese Spinach and Green Chile Souffle, and five variations of Herbed Braised Chicken.

The cracker recipes make my heart sing, and the Bean and the Salad chapters are excellent primers on their subjects. They even cover handmade noodles and four variations of Risotto. 

I like this book a lot. I think I would love it if it wasn't a textbook. But it is. It reads like one and looks like one, and there are no photos. When they try to justify why they won't allow women into their program (male bonding and heavy lifting), I just don't buy it. 

Still lots of good recipes.

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