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The Berghoff Café Cookbook
Berghoff Family Recipes for Simple, Satisfying Food
By Carlyn Berghoff, with Nancy Ross Ryan
ISBN: 0740785141
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Publication date: September 2009
Format: Hardcover
Number of recipes: 85
List price: $24.99
Type: Restaurant; Ethnic: German
Sample recipe: Lemon Squares
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: all breakfast/brunch lunch dinner dessert
Competition: outclassed a bit behind in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: airfare required online specialty store supermarket pantry
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose minimal complete educational
Time conscious: not conscious bald lies white lies realistic scout's honor
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant ample generous
Photos/drawings: none drawings b&w photos occasional color all color
Art contribution: disappointing distracting decorative beautiful 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 kind work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging ok clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy delicate years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: hard-to-find spotty sufficient most pages every page
Table of contents: missing frustrating minimal helpful excellent
Index: none confusing adequate nice a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writing history: beginner writer/journalist food writer writing cook personality
Cooking heritage: unknown self-taught teacher chef celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short satisfactory successful exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward good 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 Berghoff Café has been run by the same family in downtown Chicago for more than 110 years. Isn't it time they produced a cookbook?

The recipes represent the full range of Berghoff Café food. The book starts with a chapter on bar snacks, followed by soups, sandwiches, salads, side dishes, a chapter featuring the café's daily specials, one with its relatively new pizzas, and desserts from "yesterday and today." There is a lot more useful information on food and food history than we were expecting from a restaurant cookbook (to tell the truth, we weren't expecting much or any useful information, just a bunch of recipes mixed in with a little nostalgia, so we were delighted with the scope of this book).

Carlyn Berghoff, great-granddaughter of patriarch Herman Berghoff, says the café food is built on three principles that work in the restaurant and at home: reuse, recycle, and reinvent. They use and reuse basic ingredients, so potatoes become Mashed Potatoes, Lyonnaise Potatoes, Hash Browns, Potato Salad, Oven-Roasted Potatoes, Potato Pancakes, Potato Soup, French Fries, and Smoked Sausage and Potato Pizza. They recycle by putting leftovers to good use, so Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast stars in the Turkey Reuben, Turkey Okra and Rice Soup, and more.

And they reinvent, because many dishes from the 1890s don't exactly fit today's lifestyle. Many of the original recipes have been updated to require less time and have fewer calories, and there are also selections from today's café menu and current customer favorites.

Most of us do not have access to Berghoff beer and some other Berghoff-specific ingredients listed in some of the recipes. For some of the Berghoff breads, there are recipes to make the requisite Berghoff ingredients, but for some others, you'll have to make do with ingredients that are available locally.


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