Comments:There are a number of good, all-purpose cookbooks on the market. The stated goal of this one is to provide "recipes for nutritious food that isn't too fancy, doesn't take too long to prepare and put on the table, and – just maybe – tastes like what your parents and grandparents used to serve." It probably does a very good job of meeting that goal.
The recipes are from employees of the company that publishes the almanac, from its Web site, and from winners of various almanac cooking contests held over the years. We are not generally big fans of contest-winning recipes; the recipes often color a little too far outside the lines. But as a collection of 400 recipes, it looks like the editors have made their selections well.
There are certainly some anomalies, though – the Basic Vinaigrette that contains no vinegar (using lemon juice instead), a steak is not rare at 140°F and medium rare at 160°F, and for the Orange-Cream Cheese Spread for the Orange Nut Bread, surely the whole peel should not go into the food processor with the seeded flesh of the orange. Who wants all that pith? Shouldn't it just be the zest, instead? Also to our understanding, Baked Ziti and American Chop Suey have never been the same thing. Finally, quite a number of the canning recipes don't specify processing times.
The biggest problem we have with this book, however, is that the recipes want you to cook your meats to death. Keeping a turkey in the oven until the breast meat reaches 180°F is a recipe for nothing less than shoe leather. If that's what the preface means by dishes that possibly "taste like what your parents and grandparents used to serve," then we have a problem. But for that, we would have rated this book more highly. Keep your meats a little on the cool side, and you'll probably think that this is a wonderful book.