Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Cookbook: The Taste of Home Review

I picked up the new Taste of Home cookbook the other day. I am a HUGE fan of the whole Taste of Home series, from the magazines to the annual books, to the spin-off magazines. I use the recipes all the time. So I figured the big cookbook would be just as awesome.

Well, I've been a bit disappointed. Not a lot but a bit.

For one, I would have thought that the TOH people would know that if someone was buying their cookbook, then that person already read TOH a lot. and would love to be able to put all that myriad of recipes in one place, namely this HUGE three-ring binder that the cookbook comes in. Yes, they do give you spaces for recipes--

Recipe cards.

If you've read TOH you know that only a small portion of the recipes come on recipe cards. All the rest are on the magazine pages. They're not always laid out in a card-friendly way, either. And yes, I could copy them over to index cards, but the whole point of the TOH series is QUICK and GOOD home cooking. That kind of negates the quick part.

Like other people said on Amazon, the binder itself is a PITA. It's hard to turn the pages (like they didn't make the paper holes big enough or something) and the binder is kind of cumbersome. I understand -- they wanted it all to be in one. They include a free CD for entertaining, but what I wish (and I wish the TOH people read my blog :-) is that they also included a CD of all the recipes in the book. I would have GLADLY paid another $25 for the book to get that convenience since most of the time I just Google recipes when I don't want the hassle of finding them in whichever book they're hiding in.

Okay, those are the cons. There are a lot of pros, too. The cookbook has LOTS of the great recipes I love in the TOH magazines and books. It won't replace the books I have (because it doesn't have EVERY recipe :-) but it will be a great addition. I've found several things I can't wait to try. They also expanded other meats and veggies a lot (though I still wish that the chicken section was three times larger...the average TOH reader, IMO, is cooking chicken a LOT and we could have used a lot more chicken recipes).

The extra CD is awesome. I love CD cookbooks, and am hoping this one plays nice with my other ones (haven't had time to try that).

In short, if TOH has another book, I'll be buying it. For one, I haven't met a TOH recipe I didn't like. They're the recipes I turn to when I have no idea what to cook for dinner. I know real people have made these meals and their families have not run away from home afterwards ;-)

Chicken was on sale this week, so that means that chicken section is going to get a workout. My kids are hoping there are some recipes in there involving lots of cheese and anything else that hides the real meal beneath the cholesterol/artery damaging ingredients.

I'm thinking with a cookbook this big, I can find a happy medium for all of us.


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