Thursday, August 25, 2011

The River Cottage Family Cookbook

The River Cottage Family CookbookThe River Cottage Family Cookbook has quickly become one of my favorites.  It is stocked with simple recipes using mostly whole foods and has easy step-by-step instructions for a variety of cooking techniques. The author, Hugh Fearnley-Whittngstall, is a the host of a British cooking show (some variation of the 'River Cottage' name).  He has a series of cookbooks which feature recipes for mostly farm raised meats, garden produce, and wild foraged foods.  I borrowed a few of the others in this series via interlibrary loan to see if it would be worthwhile for me to purchase them as well.  I found them to be a bit "too British" for my American tastes, but they also feature beautiful, homey farm photography and are categorized with an eye towards using what is available locally.  Many of them do feature information on using almost all (ALL) parts of farm animals in cooking. 

Whittingstall's Family Cookbook sticks to recipes that children are more likely to find appealing and part of the book even mentions that it tries to appeal to a more Americanized audience.  I really liked that he doesn't dumb food down for kids  (no happy-face salad or other gimmicks) but also realizes that complex gourmet fare doesn't appeal to the majority of children either.  We have especially enjoyed the lentil-bacon soup and, after years of hearing about making spaghetti carbonara, I am a pro at this simple dish.  Thanks to River Cottage, I also now know the proper technique for making a French omelet and never over-brown the outside. 

I really can't recommend this book enough.  I usually don't purchase a cookbook if it only has a few recipes worth bothering with; however, this book is well worth the money.

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