Friday, June 20, 2008

Cookbook Review: The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

As usual, there is now an All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Mine is merely the Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, and I'm going to be a little stick-in-the-mud who resists change because I don't believe it could get much better. The cover pictured is the one I have, still available on (clearly, that's where my picture is from...). Oxmoor House Publishers, the Southern Living publisher, no longer has the older version (sigh). So, this review will be of a book that has limited availability.

That being said, Southern Living has a well-earned reputation for producing outstanding recipes/cookbooks. I'm sure the new one is just as good. This is a cookbook that is a little high in fat/calories and effort for my current level of ordinary cooking, but some of our family's ALL-TIME favorites come from this book (Chicken-Pecan Quiche, Oven-Fried Pork Chops, Mexicana Brunch Pie, to name a few). I'm sure I'll post those at some point on this blog.

This is a cookbook that has a great variety of recipes, most of which are very family friendly, and all of which could be whipped up for company untried. If I'm in the mood to cook something I've never attempted before, this is one of those cookbooks I can use to experiment with, even if guests will be eating my first attempt. There are many nice color photographs sprinkled throughout, as well as helpful comments at the beginning of many recipes (quick and easy, family-friendly, healthy, etc.). Each recipe also gives the caloric content, fat grams, etc. per serving (no carb gram list for those watching carb counts).* There is also a menu suggestion section which is quite helpful.

Of course, the recipes cater to a southern audience. You'll find great recipes for Squash Casserole, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, and the ubiquitous biscuits and pound cakes in here. There are plenty of recipes that aren't limited to southern tastes, but it is definitely the place to turn if you're in the mood for something distinctly southern. If you enjoy southern style food and enjoy cooking, check this cookbook out. Mine was a wedding gift, and it has been well used.

*Because of the caloric information, my husband and I realized anew why cheesecake should be an occasional treat! But, when we're in the mood, this cookbook has several amazing looking versions!

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