Monday, May 19, 2008

Cookbook Review: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

I have to concur with my friend, Rinnie (see her comment on the Joy of Cooking review). Apparently she and I both use this cookbook (and More-with-Less) more than the cooking "bible" Joy of Cooking. So, I thought a review of another of my top five cookbooks was in order.

I own the 11th edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 1996. This is actually a noteworthy point; my sister has the 10th edition and my mother the 12th. They are different! I think I like mine the best, so that edition is what I'm reviewing.

This cookbook is the one I have used the most across the board. The recipes are tried-and-true, classics and some new favorites. There is a nice amount of photographs, both of techniques and finished products. The recipes are designed for people with "real" schedules who also work with budget and health concerns: they contain time-savers such as condensed soups, but include lots of fresh ingredients as well. You will find some of our all-time favorite recipes from BHG on this blog as I get time to add them.

When I want some new weird vegetable dish or obscure ethnic variety, I still turn to something more comprehensive like Joy of Cooking, but this BHG edition has such a terrific combination of recipes that I would be content with only it on my shelf (and that is saying a LOT from someone who has lots of cookbooks and reads them for fun). Everything from pot roast, to homemade bread, to recipes featuring beans and tofu as main ingredients--we could truly use this cookbook only if we had to. In addition, the vast majority of recipes in this cookbook are very kid-friendly--even the tofu ones! (See one of our favorites: Cheese-and-Tofu Stuffed Shells)

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