Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review: Beat This! Cookbook

Beat This! Cookbook by Ann Hodgman

I know that it might seem strange for me to be reviewing a cookbook when I've pointed out that I don't currently have a kitchen and I won't have one again until June at the earliest.  However, Beat This! Cookbook by Ann Hodgman is just too enjoyable not to share.

If you cook often, you know that you have lots of cookbooks that you really only use occasionally for one or two recipes.  On your shelf, this one has the best pie recipe, and this one has the best casserole so you have quite a lot of cookbooks.  What if you had one cookbook with the best of every type of recipe all in one book?

Well, the claim that Ann Hodgman makes is that every single recipe in Beat This! is the best recipe that you will find for that dish.  Are all of her recipes as good as she says?  I can’t say for certain because I have yet to test any of her recipes for myself (I look forward to doing so as soon as possible, however.)  This new cookbook which was released March 7th 2011 is the new and updated version of the cookbook by the same name published in 1999, so one would hope that these recipes are even more amazing than the last ones.

The best part of this book is the author’s style of writing.  While some might find her assertions that her recipes are the best slightly annoying, quite frankly I wouldn't want to try a recipe if someone told me that it was just an “ok” recipe.  The way that she describes her recipes is so enticing.  Her recipe for Brussels sprouts makes me want to try them just as much as I want to the brownies proceeding them, and Brussels sprouts aren’t usually a thing that you want as much as brownies. 

Ann Hodgman gives plenty of helpful advice before she gives you the recipe.  For example, she explains why frozen blueberries are actually better to use in pies something that I’ve never heard before.  Chances are that you will also enjoy the way that she gives tips such as “Triangles, by the way, always make a bar cookie look more impressive.”  As you may see, the style of Beat This! is different from most other cookbooks.  In addition to the above, Hodgman chose to arrange the alphabetically by the main ingredient.  This leads to some interesting combination next to each other, but why should all cookbooks be arranged the same way anyway?  I think that it works well for this book.

So if you are looking for another cookbook for your collection, I would certainly suggest Beat This! Cookbook.  Even if you don’t enjoy cooking quite as much as I do, you might enjoy reading through it all the same.

(I received a free version of this book from netgalley.  However, I was not required to review it favorably or at all unless I decided to do so.)

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