Cookbook review: Big American Cookbook

For the past few weeks since Christmas, I have been reading and studying several new cookbooks that I received as gifts last year.  I was thrilled to receive Mario Batali’s latest book.  This tome contains 250 recipes from around the United States. In nearly 500 pages, this book catalogs basic recipes from throughout the country, including the Gulf Coast, the Pacific Coast and the Deep South.

Photographs in this book are full color for every recipe and full size covering the pages with brilliant photographic representation.  The food stories and presentation is nothing less than spectacular.  Each regional section of the book includes a nice summary of the history of the locals foods with highlights of the roadside treasures.

Not one of these recipes looks complicated.  Not one of these recipes looks pretentious. These are down to earth classics from regional home cooks that participated in state fairs and local neighborhood clubs.

Some of the most interesting recipes to me include: broiled rock shrimp cocktail, black and white cookies, pralines, and Trenton tomato pie. There are more than a dozen other recipes that I can’t wait to experience. The Bananas Foster recipe reminds me of the year we lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. And, we have so many wonderful food memories from living there.

If you enjoy down home cooking and like to sample foods from around the country, this is the perfect book for you.  Not too many ideas taken from any one region, and such a variety to put together a delicious meal for guests and family members. It would be fun to plan a “trip around the country pot luck meal” for a book club or other couples group using this book.  So many ideas!

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