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I have a feeling I'm going to be drummed out of cookbook town by my blogging friends. I bought The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell on the recommendation of several Weekend Cooking participants. I'm sorry to say that this will not be a well-used, much-loved addition to my collection.
I bought what is called the "Keepsake Edition," and here was my first problem. It includes a glued-in six-page insert in which you are to add your own recipes. First, I don't want to add my own recipes to the cookbook, and second, the insert is stiff and it quickly ripped the page it was glued to, forcing me to try to carefully detach it from the book. I admit, this made me cranky.
The book starts out with an introduction by the authors, explaining what they mean by "heirloom" and how their cooking and eating habits changed when they moved out of the city. The recipes are divided by season, and each page includes a section for you to add your own kitchen notes. I like that idea! I also like the seasonality of the book because I like to buy what's fresh, either in the store or at the farmers' market.
The mix of recipes is pleasing, and I thought the inclusion of recipes for interesting non-alcoholic drinks (such as a cucumber cooler and a spiced tea) was a great idea. Unfortunately, a number of the recipes included hard-to-get ingredients. Not necessarily unusual items, but things that are not common in my part of the country. Here are some examples: goat's milk yogurt, Blaak cheese, and ancho powder. I know I can easily make substitutions for any ingredient that's not readily available, but it makes me less inclined to reach for The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.
The biggest problem I have this cookbook, which was not a problem my friends had, is that I don't feel inspired when I flip through it. I saw recipes that looked good with easy-to-follow instructions. The flavors range from gourmet to comfort, and every recipe looks doable. But for some reason I didn't linger over the pages, imagining the dishes on my table. Was it my mood? I don't know. I want to list a few recipes to give you an idea of what's in the book:
- Linguini with peas and garlic scapes (but it calls for chopped fresh lavender)
- Tomato bread salad with cannelli beans and goat feta cheese (looks pretty and easy to make)
- Broccoli-Cheddar soup (yum)
- Mulled cider (with warm spices and a bit of orange)
- Beer-braised beef with onion dumplings (winter comfort food)
- Roast chicken with potatoes and rosemary (simple but good)
- Spiced carrot cake (complete with cream cheese frosting)
Vegetarian/vegan alert: Vegetarians will find enough recipes to make it worth their while to either own the cookbook or to check it out from the library. Vegans will have a tough time because almost every recipe calls for honey, butter, eggs, or dairy. Even the poached figs include cheese.
Despite the rave reviews (including several starred professional reviews and thumbs up from bloggers), I suggest looking through Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell's cookbook before spending your money.
Buy The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook at an Indie, at Powell's, at Book Depository, or at bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs
Published by Sterling Epicure, 2011
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)