Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes

Summary: What is Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes? 

  • Taste of Home is America's connection to the personal recipes of people who cook at home as a way to bring family and friends together, particularly at the holidays. 
  • This special collection includes more than 1,400 of the most requested, most beloved dishes, all submitted by Taste of Home readers 
  • Each recipe has been evaluated and selected by Taste of Home, which ensures that it can be prepared with affordable everyday ingredients. 
  • Practical and proven tips to help every kind of cook enjoy perfect results every time 
  •  Personal stories and memories from contributors are sprinkled throughout 

  • Prep/Cook Times 
  • Top 100 favorite recipes marked with an icon 
  • Everyday ingredients 
  • Easy-to-follow directions 
  • How-to photos and cooking tips 
  • Personal stories 
  • Ribbon marker 

Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes at a Glance 
26 chapters inspired by the most popular magazine features 
  • Chapters include some of the most cherished magazine features from over the years including: Mom Made it Best, Our Favorite Contributor's Meals, Mealtime Express, Cooking for One or Two, Grand-Prize Winners, Potluck Picks
Where do I even start with a review of the new cookbook TASTE OF HOME BEST LOVED RECIPES: 1485 FAVORITES? Maybe by telling you that this is a must-have cookbook for any cookbook lover's collection? Or maybe by sharing that it's over two inches thick and weighs a ton? (Seriously, it could do some serious damage if you drop it!) Or maybe I could just say that BEST LOVED RECIPES has almost 1500 recipes?

No matter how you slice it, TASTE OF HOME BEST LOVED RECIPES is positively amazing! When I first opened the package, I couldn't believe the awesomeness of this cookbook. In fact, it is so huge and has so many recipes that I was a bit intimidated at first by where to even start. So I decided just to sit down and dig in. I began reading every recipe (yes, it took hours!) And then I was really excited because there are so many wonderful recipes -- definitely something to suit every single person who has ever cooked or eaten!

There is absolutely no way to fully describe how great this cookbook is. For those of you who are familiar with the Taste of Home cookbook or magazines, you already know how great they are. But for those of you who haven't experienced their products, then this BEST LOVED RECIPES is the perfect start. The folks at Taste of Home has selected 1485 fan favorite recipes that have withstood the test of time. They've even made a note when a recipe is a Top 100 one!

The cookbook is divided into many, many chapters. They are all pretty typical with only a few surprises. Here they are: Appetizers; Beef; Beverages; Breads; Breakfast & Brunch; Cakes; Candies; Celebrations & Holidays; Condiments & Sauces; Cookies & Bars; Cooking for One or Two; Desserts; Grand-Prize Winners; Mealtime Express; Mom Made It Best; Our Contributors' Meals; Pasta, Grains & Rice; Pies & Tarts; Pork & Lamb; Potluck Picks; Poultry; Salads; Sandwiches & Pizza; Seafood; Sides; and Soups. There is also a brief introduction which includes some details on how the recipes were compiled for the cookbook.

One chapter in particular that caught my attention (besides all of the dessert ones) was the Celebrations & Holidays one. This chapter gave meal ideas for various events including beverages, appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts. It was pretty much a how-to in entertaining and leaves a lot of the guesswork out for those of us not always comfortable with cooking for a crowd.

There are a few color photographs in the cookbook which are very nice especially to readers like me who love to see the final product. Of course, there isn't a photo for every recipe or you wouldn't even be able to lift the cookbook. It's heavy enough as it is and when given a choice, I know I'd like more rather than less recipes. In addition, there are also viewers' comments in the sidebars. These quotes can be as simple as saying how great the recipes are, or they can even offer ways to serve the item as well as substitution ideas.

In a cookbook as large as this one, an easy-to-use index is essential. I think BEST LOVED RECIPES has a pretty good one. You can look up recipes by title or even by ingredient, and you can also search by the year that the recipe as first published.

I don't know if I even need to say this, but the Taste of Home recipes are always fabulous. There are close to a hundred recipes that I'd love to try, and I hate to admit this, but most are for desserts. For some reason, Taste of Home has the best dessert recipes that you'll ever find. I can vouch for a number of the recipes in this BEST LOVED RECIPES cookbook. For example, the Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle is fabulous and perfect for the fall; and, the Chicken Tortilla Bake is yummy (and very easy.)

While I do think BEST LOVED RECIPES is a quality cookbook, I also have to mention that it appeals to my emotional side as well. My late grandmother would have loved this cookbook, and I wish she were still here so I could share it with her. I inherited my love of cookbooks from my grandma and I have fond memories of looking through old Taste of Home magazines and cookbooks with her. So many of these recipes reminded me of her and the food that she made for us through the years. 

It should be apparent by now that I love TASTE OF HOME BEST LOVED RECIPES. I am pretty sure that no kitchen should be without it!

Thanks to FSB Associates for providing a review copy of this cookbook.

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bermudaonion said...

If you can't find a recipe to try in a cookbook like that, you're in trouble.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love cookbooks that include sections for celebrations and holidays!

Beth F said...

I love holiday sections too. Help with entertainment ideas are *always* welcome!