Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Treasured Amish & Mennonite Recipes

I recently obtained a review copy of the book, Treasured Amish & Mennonite Recipes. Having spent many happy childhood summers vacationing in Amish country, I was eager to flip through the book and find a couple of recipes to try. Perhaps I might attempt to make shoo fly pie, or maybe whoopie pies? I mean...that's the kind of recipes one expects to find in a book with that title, right? Especially with this blurb from the publisher:
"The new edition of this cook book includes 600 delicious recipes from the kitchens of real Amish and Mennonite families, with 50 new to this version. Dishes include country kitchen favorites, like chicken pot pie, apple butter, ham loaf, classic mashed potatoes and much more. There's endless appetizers, dips, soups, salads and dressings, casseroles, pickles, relishes, sauces, pies, tarts among other items that reflect the German heritage and agricultural roots of these notably peaceful people.
"The recipes are easy to make and require no special ingredients. In fact, many of the items might be growing in your garden or on backyard trees. Readers will also be delighted by interesting facts, and fun stories about the recipes. Using this cook book in your kitchen will provide delicious meals and plenty of fun, family time at the table."
Color me surprised when I found recipes for calzone, chalupas, Chinese chow mein dinner, Mexican wedding cakes, samosas, Taco salad, and Vietnamese spring rolls! Perhaps these recipes are treasured by a handful of Amish or Mennonite families, but they are certainly not Amish or Mennonite recipes. Yes, yes, semantics, I know, but I'm a big fan of meaning what you say and saying what you mean.

Much like a Junior League cookbook, the recipes seem unaltered from their original submitted state. Some recipes call for precise measurements, and some do not. Some make a family-sized amount of food - serving 4 - 8 - but others produce enough for a barn raising.

The book itself is printed in full-color, including some lovely photos from Amish country. Unfortunately, none are of the dishes themselves. It really befuddles me that so much money was spent on printing the pages with colored type on colored backgrounds, yet nothing seemed to go toward proofreading or recipe testing. At least one cookie recipe consists of a list of ingredients and vague directions, but no oven temperature.

The majority of recipes included are for starchy items like cookies, pies, and breads, or salad-type items and pickles. There are also a handful of main dish and casserole recipes, but those clearly are not the focus of the book. Honestly, I'm not sure what the focus is. But...if you're looking for a recipe for Lebanon bologna, or for roast pig to serve 200, this might be the book for you.

Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.