The Pioneer Woman Cooks-A Cookbook Review
The Pioneer Woman Cooks-At Last We Get a Cookbook!
For anyone who has had the privilege of reading the Pioneer Woman's blog or cooking her fabulous recipes few things could be as exciting as a cookbook from the auburn tressed country girl herself. I myself put two copies (one for me and one for my mother-in-law) on pre-order and anxiously awaited the day when it would arrive in my postal box. Finally, I got my hungry little hands on a smooth, hardbound copy and demanded not to be disturbed for at least an hour! For anyone who may still be on the fence about the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, here are some of my impressions.
One of the things that holds true for the Pioneer Woman's blog, as well as her cookbook, is that her recipes are real and they work. Because she has limited resources at her own small town grocery store, the Pioneer Woman's recipes aren't filled with ingredient lists two pages long with specialty items one can only get in big city markets. In fact, most of the items used in her recipes are pantry staples, so it's really easy to put together a dinner without scouring the grocery store. Her cooking methods are also solid and work every time, rather than being finicky and requiring a certain panache to get just right.
Another facet of the book that I love is that the food is real, and PW does all of her own photography. This isn't highly stylized "fake" food that is put on a set to look pretty for photographers, it's real food that gets eaten, and still looks gorgeous! At first I was a little hesitant about the format of the recipes, which include many small pictures for step by step instructions, but after a while the method grew on me. While not typical for commercial cookbooks it really gives the home cook a good idea of what their food should look like at a certain point in a recipe, which is very helpful.
Most of all, Pioneer Woman's recipes taste good, every time. If I need a sure thing, I turn to her.
For some it may seem like a waste of money to buy a cookbook that includes recipes that are free on the web. That may be true, but the cookbook includes just the right mixture of new and old recipes, and for me at least, it's nice to have them all bound in one place with lovely, glossy pages. I do wish that some of my favorite recipes had made it into the book, like her Onion Blue Cheese Steak Sauce or the sinful Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. Rather than being a replacement for my printed collection of PW recipes, the cookbook is a supplement.
I also find the way the recipes are organized to be a little difficult to navigate. While organized by breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert there is also a section for a "Cowgirl" party where more main recipes are located, and I find it somewhat akin to hacking a new trail off the beaten path to find what I am looking for. Also, many of the lunch recipes work just as well for dinner, but I always find myself thinking that in cookbook organized by meal times.
At the end of the day this cookbook is well worth it for any home cook who needs delicious and practical ideas that will be a hit every single time. I personally love cookbooks by food bloggers because they are more real, created in the hearts and homes of the bloggers who cook, serve and photograph the food themselves, without an army of assistants. I can see that this book will be a staple in our food menu from now on.