This is Part 1 of my review series on The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, which covers a basic read-through, difficulty level of recipes, familiarity of ingredients, and overall production quality.
I will start cooking from the book in Part 2. If I don’t do a Part 2, that means I don’t really use the book, which should give you an idea on its functionality. Eventually, I’ll post The Verdict, letting you know my overall opinion of things.
There won’t always be pictures, for sometimes hands are just too messy for cameras.
Type: Hardcover with dust jacket
Length: 248 pages
Size: 9.5″ x 7.5″
Published: October 2009
Publisher: William Morrow
Amazon Price: $16.01 (as of Dec 2010)
It’s hard to imagine that anyone who reads food blogs doesn’t know who Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, is. When it comes to food blogs, she is without a doubt the queen, probably getting more comments in the first minute after she posts than I get on a single post in a month. Her giveaways draw tens of thousands of comment entries.
Blogging since 2006, The Pioneer Woman uses her awe-inspiring photography, delicious recipes, and hilarious writing to welcome the world into her home.
Once of the first things to notice about PW’s cookbook is that her blogger habit of literally showing you how to cook her recipes isn’t hindered by the typical cookbook format, which features one big photo and a page full of words. Each recipe in this book has step by step instructions accompanied by a photo for each. Granted, they’re small photos, but it still helps a lot. If there’s anything I hate about cookbooks, it’s the lack of photos.
Before each ingredient list, she gives a little back story about the food she’s about to spread out before you, showing you just how much that particular recipe means to her.
As you flip through the book, you’re treated to photos of their ranch, her kids, her husband, their animals and pets, etc. While I’m not all that big on pictures of cows and wild horses, it all serves to make you truly feel that little phrase on the back of the book: Welcome to my frontier!
Another thing I simply can’t stand about cookbooks is fancy-schmancy ingredients. I hate looking at a recipe and thinking, “Now where the frick am I supposed to get whatever that is?!” This pretty much doesn’t happen with PW’s cookbook.
She uses simple, everyday ingredients that even someone like me, who finds herself short on something at least once a week, would be able to cook something straight from her book after bringing home a sack of various meats from the market. This is a huge plus for me.
Also, since I now have a big yard with tons of fresh herbs, I’m a big fan of her tendency to cook with fresh herbs.
There’s no other way to say it, the book is gorgeous. She tells you in the book that she uses a Nikon D3 and so me being the photography nooblet, I went to look at Amazon, only to find out that this camera is a whopping 5,200 DOLLARS. That’s like almost three months pay for me, pre-taxes! I guess that explains why her photography is so wicked.
Design-wise, the book is extremely colorful and expresses her personality very well. The step-by-step layout feels a bit cramped, but you find yourself excusing that since she’s trying to make it easier on you. I’m not a big fan of the curly cursive font for the serving size information, but maybe that’s just me being picky.
The writing is solid. I didn’t find any typos or word oddities in my read-through, which is awesome because that kind of stuff just kills me.
Content-wise the book runs into a little snag, in that pretty much every recipe in this book can be found on her blog. I suppose this is one of the downsides of food blogging, in that your blog becomes your first cookbook and you just have to hope that people love you enough to support you with a purchase instead of just hitting the internets.