Cookbook Review: Amish Cooking Class Cookbook by Wanda Brunstetter

Note: I received a digital advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you've ever had Amish food before, you know they make simple, honest fare that is as comforting as it is delicious. It's hard to learn how to make that food without growing up in that kind of household, with a mother at the stove every day and a home-cooked family dinner every night. It's therefore easy to see why the idea of an Amish cooking class is so appealing.

The sample I received covered Drinks, Breads, Breakfast, Cakes and Brownies, Candies, Bars and Cookies, Pies, Puddings, and various other sweets (honestly, all the best parts of a meal as far as I'm concerned!). I was thrilled to see a recipe for Amish Friendship Bread, a sweet cinnamony bread with a sourdough starter that is passed down from one Amish wife to another. You'll also find recipes for such Amish classics as fry pies, shoofly pie, baked oatmeal, and hootenanny bread. In addition, there are just some good ol' fashioned down-home recipes in here as well, such as divinity, chocolate chip cookies, sausage gravy, and bread custard pudding. Delicious.

The cookbook itself is heavy on recipes, short on pictures. In fact, there were no pictures at all in the sample I received, though I can't speak for what the final published version will look like. The recipes are packed in each chapter, so much so that it's hard to find something that won't appeal to at least one person in your household.

One note of warning: the recipes are traditional and therefore, not exactly reflective of today's health-conscious society. Lots of recipes start with a couple of sticks of butter, so if you're looking for a diet cookbook, this is not the book for you. While I don't have any stats on obesity rates in the Amish, I imagine they don't need to diet, with the increased walking and manual labor they do on a day-to-day basis. The perks of not being glued to a screen!

Before each chapter, there is a page describing Amish life, which I loved reading about, as so much of what we learn about the Amish as children in school seems to almost sound like legends. I found myself a little jealous of some of the traditions they have been able to maintain due to their isolation from our modern fast-paced society, though I don't envy the home-bound life of an Amish wife.

The layout and organization is as practical and no-nonsense as the Amish are. I think the spiral-bound nature of the physical copy will add to the practicality and the old-school charm that this book has going for it. Even though I only saw 97 pages of the 224 total, I am eager to purchase this cookbook after publication on Feb 1 to see what the other recipes entail!

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

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