Thursday, May 30, 2013

Simply Delicious Amish Cooking, by Sherry Gore

A great collection of the best Amish recipes from Pinecraft, Florida (a village in the heart of Sarasota) put together by Sherry Gore. It has hundreds of easy and delicious recipes, complete with pictures. Also, alongside of the recipes, 'Simply Delicious' offers cooking and baking tips, and true stories about Amish life, weddings, birthdays, celebrations, and even accidents taken from the author’s column in the Amish newspaper, The Budget. Cook with author Sherry Gore and her friends from Pinecraft while sharing stories about love, life, family, friends, and God’s providence and faithfulness.

As I read 'Simply Delicious', I felt like I was cooking at home with my mother, my grandmother and my favorite aunt. You are not just cooking, and you are not doing it alone. You’re in your kitchen sharing recipes and stories; sharing tips and little nuggets of wisdom; learning how to cook and learning a little bit about history, and different places, and people. This is not just a cookbook; it’s a history lesson about the Amish and their community in Pinecraft. It’s also full of their humor, their wisdom and their sense of family and no-nonsense way of life.

But it is most definitely a book about cooking. Some of the recipes are those wonderfully made-from-scratch semi-decadent Amish dishes. Comfort food at its best, and very simple, like the Red-Skin Mashed Potatoes (mouth watering), Chicken Pie (sooo good), Parmesan Pan Bread (full of flavor), and Pizza Crust (…homemade pizza, enough said!), among many other recipes that are pretty common, but here they have an Amish twist. Other recipes are semi-homemade, like the Monkey Bread (which calls for refrigerated biscuits), and this was not what I expected, but, on the other hand, it shows how the book can be used by those who don’t have much time to prepare a full meal from scratch. It has alternatives, and that is a very good thing.

I also loved how the recipes were written: just like my mom would write a recipe for me. For example, when the Cooked Chocolate Pudding recipe (my family’s favorite dessert at the moment) says, “Pay attention, because this happens quickly.” A very candid way to write a recipe that made me smile while making it because it is not written dryly. Since these recipes are written by everyday homemakers or cooking enthusiasts, their wording is very familiar, very easy to understand and to follow. A few recipes, however, don’t include all of the measures (like the amount of cinnamon, butter and brown sugar for the Cinnamon Rolls’ filling), so you have to go with your taste.

The tips included are very useful. The tip on the substitutions for different types of flour was wonderful, as well as how to keep brown sugar soft (a big help for me). Also, the different tips on cooking seafood, among a few others, were very helpful, and made this cookbook a great addition to my kitchen for my everyday use.

Many recipes are written with a large family in mind, since Amish families are usually pretty big. So for a family of three, like mine, there was a lot left over, which meant that my father, my mother and my sister got to enjoy them also. And isn’t that exactly one of the purposes of Amish cooking and, therefore, this book? To share your meals, your stories, your lessons learned, and the goodness of God with your family and friends.

5 out of 5 stars

*I received a copy of this book from Zondervan through The Christian Manifesto in exchange of an honest review.

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