I rarely review cookbooks. Complicated and expensive ingredients, involved cooking methods and lack of kid-friendliness make most cookbooks on the market a source of frustration for me instead of fun. However, when I received the opportunity to review Gather Around the Amish Table: Treasured Recipes and Stories from Plain Communities, I felt that there was something about this book that might make it a more fun book to be able to cook out of and review.
Lucy Leid, the compiler of the cookbook, sent out a call for recipes from among the Amish people in the communities around hers, along with their stories. She received in many responses and took those to create a compilation of recipes that Amish women are using their kitchen, along with any anecdotes about the recipes and the people who are making them. Those anecdotes do so much to add to the charm of the completed recipes. I received so many smiles be reading the stories that went along with the recipes that it made me feel like I knew the families that were sharing the recipes.
As for the recipes themselves, most of them were easy and the ingredients called for are the plain and old fashioned ingredients that most home cooks are likely to have in their kitchens. My daughter and I quickly picked out several to try, and before we knew what we were doing, we had made several recipes, including Strawberry Longcake, Alma’s Breakfast Casserole and Applesauce Raisin Cake. We also have many more pages earmarked with recipes to try. We have not found anything that we’ve made yet that was not delicious. I also love that so many things that I have made from this cookbook so far use my beloved 9 x 13 pan,
I also love that the recipes are so easy. It means that I can invite the children to help me in the kitchen and help them use this book to build their skill and confidence in the kitchen. In fact, as I homeschool mom, I’m using this cookbook as the basis of some baking lessons with my eight year old. There are several different kinds of baked goods including granola, breads, buns, pretzels, doughnuts, cakes, pies, cookies and breakfast breads like pancakes and oatmeal.
My only complaint about this cookbook is that, almost half the pages in it are devoted to different types of desserts. For this woman who is trying to watch her weight, that’s an awful lot of temptation–especially since those are the recipes that my children gravitated toward as we’ve looked through its pages. We’ve made more dessert since we got this cookbook than I’ve made in quite some time.
Still, this is a fantastic resource for the home cook. It’s full of recipes that are simple, kid-friendly and easy for the new (or experienced) cook to make. It’s one I expect to turn to again and again.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.