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Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies
By Mollie Cox Bryan and Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant and Bakery
ISBN: 1580089801
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: April 2009
Format: Hardcover
List price: $16.95 
Type: Desserts: Pies
Sample recipe: Blackberry Pie
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: The two locations of Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant and Bakery in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley sell 35,000 pies a year (675 pies a week). This book is a concession for those of us who can't get to the Shenandoah Valley every other Tuesday or so.

It includes recipes for crusts and toppings; fruit, berry, and nut pies (Butternut Squash Pie, Hickory Nut Pie, Damson Plum Pie); cream and custard pies (Original Coconut Cream Pie, Sour Cream and Raisin Pie, Smoothest Ever Peanut Butter Pie); freezer and icebox pies (Watermelon Pie, Grasshopper Pie, Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Pie) ; and "pies for the cupboard" (Brown Sugar Pie, Shoofly Pie, Brownie Pie). There is every mainstream pie you can think of and some you've probably never imagined – even if you are from the South.

There are also references to a couple of the restaurant's classic pies, the recipes for which are in the earlier Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook, which doesn’t strike us as completely fair, but we'll find a way to muddle through with these 65 recipes.

There is a light green ink used for callouts here and there throughout the book that is so faint they are hard to read. It doesn't affect any of the recipes, and perhaps our copy is particularly bad, but you'll need good light to read them.


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