Dark Glass Ponderings

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. -1 Corinthians 13:12

Title: Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Family Favorites
Author: Beth Hensperger
Publishing Date: 2009

**Special thanks to Howard Stelzer at Harvard Common Press for providing me with a review copy.**

My Rating: 2/5

How do I transition from depression to crockpots??  I'm not entirely sure, so I'm just going to go with it here. 

As a homeschooling mom, the crockpot is definitely a favorite appliance, so this cookbook looked like a fun way to broaden out my reviews into a new genre.  I have discovered that reviewing a cookbook is much more work than reviewing fiction.

My love of cooking stems from my father, who was definitely a night owl and was known to cook the occasional 3 a.m. omelette..  Raymond Carver once said "eating is a small, good thing."  Now I'm not necessarily advocating his writing...nor do I intend to suggest eating should be our form of comfort.  However, sometimes its the little daily routines like mealtimes that can bring comfort to our days  and someone shared this very quote at my father's funeral.

When I stated on Ann's blog (I hope she won't mind me repeating this, but I honestly don't think she would) that I can never reproduce my dad's cooking because it was a pinch of this and a dab of that, never written down, she suggested that the memories of my Dad sharing the food with me were perhaps the missing pinches that kept it from being as good as I remembered.  That gave me a smile today and puts me further in the mood for reviewing this cookbook.  Hat tipped to Dad and the inimitable other Julia we both loved so much.

In order to review this cookbook, I decided to make a sampling of recipes from different sections of the book.  My one regret is that I did not take pictures, as I know I am far more in the mood to cook an appetizing looking meal.  That's one thing this book is also missing, pictures.  I love the glossy sections of cookbooks, not only for pictures of the food but the tableware...yes I know, I have issues.

Now we will discount my children's opinions of the recipes, simply because their major food groups are: chicken nuggets, PB&J, Kraft Mac & Cheese (and yes, they have told me they prefer the boxed kind to mine), and hot dogs. 

We made 4 recipes from this cookbook which is a small sampling.  Our results have been mixed.  We started with the intriguing sounding Chianti and Cherry Beef Stew.  It sounded interesting, but even the adults didn't finish their bowls.

Next, we made Thai Beef and Pasta Salad.  This was probably the favorite of both adults.  This dish combined sweet, salty, and spicy and is definitely a make-again recipe.  However, I will mention that this dish was also more time consuming than most crockpot recipes.

The third dish we made was Italian Sausage Soup with Spinach Fettuccine.  The kids enjoyed this dish, as did Chris...but shall we just say some of our stomachs protested the dish a bit later. It was a good way to sneak in some veggies though.

Lastly, we made Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna.  This dish was rated fair by both adults.  We would eat it if served, but wouldn't go out of our way to make it again.

Though the results of some of these recipes were disappointing, we look forward to making Thai Beef and Pasta Salad again and I intend to try more recipes, because it is difficult to get a feel for a cookbook based on just a few recipes.


That's a great idea! i love that you tested some of the recipes and gave the results. That gave me a much better idea of whether i could do these recipes. It's unfortunate that I can't cook. I can bake ok, but if it's made on the stovetop, it's not good. :) Great review!

Thanks. I love to cook and will probably do another cookbook review again eventually.

Julia M. Reffner

About Me

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Christ-loving bookworm & homeschool mom of 2 stealing the rare quiet moments to pursue that all elusive writing dream. I also write book reviews for Title Trakk and The Historical Novel Society.


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