Book Review: 500 Treasured Country Recipes

500 Treasured Country Recipes:  Mouth Watering, Time-Honored, Tried & True, Handed-Down, Soul-Satisfying Dishes, from Martha Storey & Friends

This book has an epic scope, taking more than 500 large pages to discuss its 500 country recipes.  This is not, as is the case with some books, the result of padding or bloat, but rather because this book has massive ambition.  If you think that this book is just a cookbook, it surprises you by talking about organic cleaning techniques and some tips on gardening, for those who think its foods are all old-fashioned and bad for one’s health, the book manages to blend food from all kinds of cultures together, many of which are appealing on many levels.  If the book doesn’t catch all of the food trends–the gluten free trend, for example, came along after this book was released, but if you like your gluten, you enjoy meat and veggies, and appreciate home cooking, this is a wonderful book.  Some friends of mine purchased the book for me to add to my list of cookbooks [1], and it is certainly a good one.

The contents of this book are massive, and it is worthwhile to give the contents of the book, to see where the reader would be interested.  For example, contains three chapters on the well-stocked country kitchen, exploring kitchen know-how, tolls for the country book, and what kind of food would be in a country pantry.  Part two, which contains more than half of the book, contains chapters on country cooking, looking at breakfasts, soups & starters, breads and muffins, salads, entrees, vegetable dishes, flavorful fruits, sweets and treats, sauces and condiments, beverages, and herbs and spices.  Part three looks at country occasions including carryouts (for picnics), country holidays, as well as entertaining for dinner or tea parties.  Part four looks at the arts of the country kitchen, including making butter, cheese, and ice cream from the milk pail, preserving the harvest through canning, drying, freezing, or making jellies and pickles, as well as dealing with meats, making homemade brews, root beers and sodas, wines, cordials, and ciders, as well as harvesting maple syrup, honey, and wildflowers and making gifts from the country kitchen.  The fifth and final part of the book gives arts of the country home including cleaning, home crafts, and gardening.  If you like anything about organic cooking or cleaning, there will be something in this book for the reader, even if the contents of the book can be strikingly overwhelming.

There are a lot of people who are responsible for compiling the materials in this book, and they all deserve a lot of credit.  The book contains recipes and even menu suggestions combining a lot of the dishes together and suggestions for food preparation and what items a cook needs in his or her kitchen.  This book is not really the sort of book you should really read cover to cover, but rather the sort of reference book that a country cook should go to as a resource whenever they want to cook for a particular event, or they are cooking a particular dish.  There are a lot of suggestions, the ingredients are hearty, and I’ve had some of the dishes and they were tasty.  There is not much more a cookbook needs than good food that is easy to make and tasty to eat, and this book more than exceeds that by including historical notes and explanations, including where the cooks got the recipes and even notes about colonial American history.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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