What’s cooking? Book of the Week

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Who else out there is just a little suspicious of a gorgeous cookbook? Beauty shots of perfectly browned bread and golden-crusted cherry pies are well and good — but until they’re thumb-printed with flour and spattered with filling with handwritten adjustments in the margins, those recipes are highly suspect. Can my mom get it done in time for a picnic, or does it require the Cordon Bleu equivalent of a NASCAR pit crew? Don’t Rachel Ray me and gush about how easy it is: I want tangible proof.

For everyone who prefers homemade to store-bought and mom-approved to lab-certified, this week’s Book of the Week proves that you can have your cake and bake it too. Author Barbara Houghton’s recipe for Katie’s Cookbook is a new classic:

  1. Take one well-worn, hand-written notebook of mom’s recipes
  2. Scan into a computer
  3. Drag and drop those scanned notebook pages into plain black BookSmart page layouts to showcase every well-earned crinkle, stain, and smudge
  4. Upload book, and serve to family

Take a look at the Book Preview, and you’ll notice that this cookbook features no glamour shots of dewy tomatoes, no fancy euphemisms for pot roast, no cheerleading assurances that your piecrust will turn out yum-o! in under fifteen minutes flat. Instead, every page reveals that cooking is messy, creative work that can take years of family dinners to get just right – and that’s why it’s called home cooking.

Congratulations to Katie and her daughter Barbara on whipping up a genuinely glorious cookbook, and what appears to be a positively legendary Devil’s Food Cake.

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  1. I think it is ok.. but I prefer to have some photos in a book to help you read it. I mean, if she is just going to give it out to family members as gifts, so be it. But, no one is going to buy it just for the recipes… too many free food sites out there for that. Just my 2C

    By George
      February 27, 2007 – 7:25 am   Permalink
  2. You know what they say, George: Each to their own tastes…
    couldn’t resist the pun, or this cookbook. We thought Barbara’s book was a wonderful way to pay tribute to her mother’s cooking, and preserve those lovingly worn recipes for future generations. Whether it sells is beside the point — we honor this book for its integrity and poignancy.

      February 28, 2007 – 7:22 pm   Permalink
  3. Actually, the best recipe in the entire book is the Banana Cake which was our favorite birthday and celebration cake. It is fabulous and rich and be sure NOT to frost it. The crust is wonderful. The bananas should be very ripe when you make this. Browning skins are the best. Thanks for picking my mom’s book. I can’t wait to send her the copy when it arrives this week. She will be thrilled. She is now 80.

      March 3, 2007 – 3:22 pm   Permalink

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