Monday, February 8, 2016

Whitney Miller's New Southern Table by Whitney Miller, 2015

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Following her great-grandmothers examples of creatively stretching meals during the Great Depression, Whitney Miller transforms recipes from her Southern roots, preserving flavors of traditional family dishes while offering the excitement of her own special touches. She offers a taste of her family table with dishes like Southern Horchata, PB&J Chicken Satay, Dehydrated Okra Chips, Sweet Corn Grit Tamales, Peach Bread Pudding with Sweet Tea Rum Sauce, and much more. Using new techniques and cooking methods, Miller reimagines classic recipes and experiments with flavors from around the world, inspired by her travels since winning MasterChef.
(288 pages)

Okay, so I saw this cookbook available for review and I thought it would be fun to have an excuse to try out some new recipes. I always want to cook but never have time for it, so this was meant to be my motive for actually getting my butt off the chair and into the kitchen.

Yeah, it didn't really work. I tried one recipe (the olive oil biscuits - definitely recommend!) and then handed the book off to my brother and made him cook a few of the recipes for school. I know, I'm an awesome teacher, aren't I? This is what happens when you make the sixteen-year-old her brother's Spanish teacher. It wasn't a complete waste of time for him, though: he had to translate the recipes into Spanish first and then use his copy to make the recipe. I don't think I've ever seen him so motivated to do his Spanish homework as when he was scrambling to try out that homemade white hot chocolate recipe!

All of the recipes that we tried were pretty easy - once we managed to track down the ingredients, that is. Whitney Miller may have stone-ground grits or pear juice just sitting in her pantry all the time, but we had to wait for our mom to get some. She kept forgetting when she went to the grocery store, so that significantly slowed our progress in the recipes. Assuming you actually have everything you need, though, the recipes are quick and easy (far simpler than the recipes in my beloved Harry Potter cookbook, which are delicious but ridiculously convoluted).

Now for the big question: are the dishes in the cookbook tasty? And from our experiments, I'd say it's a very strong maybe. Some of them are delicious - I don't think I've ever had such wonderful biscuits before (though to be fair, I'm not exactly a biscuit aficionado). Other recipes, though, produced rather mixed responses in our taste testers. The white hot chocolate that my brother was so excited about, and that he slaved over for half an hour on the stove, was certainly tasty but it was so rich half of us got stomachaches afterwards - including me, and I couldn't even bring myself to finish my cup, it was so rich. And this from the girl who absolutely adores white chocolate.

There are still a number of dishes I really want to try, especially the Pb&J Chicken Satays, which looks extremely delicious. There are others, though, like the Creole Succotash Salad that don't really appeal to me - they're just a little too far outside of my comfort zone. All of the recipes seem very good, though, and I think it's just a matter of what sort of food you like. I like about two-thirds of the foods in this recipe book, so I think it will be supplying me with tasty new treats to try for a long time.

Especially if I can't even manage to get myself into the kitchen more than once a month.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review.

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