Anderson (The Complete Book of Homemade Ice Cream, 1972) invites the home cook back to the table for traditional mealtimes centered on God and family.
Standard cookbooks are a compilation of recipes typically organized by type. Anderson, however, categorizes her recipes by occasion, providing separate meals with at least one main course, side dish and dessert for each situation. Occasions range from the simple, everyday “Family Supper” to less frequent celebrations, like “Engagement Party.” While some may find the somewhat nonstandard structure of the book distracting, others may actually find it advantageous. This setup gives individuals who feel a little lost during these occasions an idea of which foods to pair. Those who’d rather not follow this structure can use the index, where all recipes are listed alphabetically within their respective types. The book offers a combination of familiar recipes—“Beef Stroganoff,” “Applesauce” and “Mashed Potatoes”—and unique recipes that stem from the author’s personal experiences and are thereby less likely to appear elsewhere—like “Grandmama’s Biscuits & Lemon Mint Butter,” “Hickory Nut Cake” and “Sesame Scallops.” Along with a suggested menu, each occasion includes a prayer and a Bible verse, giving the meals a traditional feel that recalls a time when grace before meals and large families gathered around the table were still considered the norm. The prayers are all written in a contemporary, casual voice and will probably appeal to those alienated by archaic language in traditional prayer books. Moreover, the book is filled with “Notes” sections, allowing readers to jot down notations and adjustments as they see fit.
Family-oriented cooks will appreciate this collection of thoughtful prayers and traditional and original recipes that range in culinary complexity.