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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format: Perfect Paperback
Jane Riley is a pen name for Mary Lou Cheatham. "Jane" has garnered recipes from her lifetime of cooking, mostly from family members and friends, to compile this omnibus cookbook. "Flavored with Love" is additionally punctuated with a nostalgic overview of the Louisiana and Mississippi regions, and its people, in particular. One will even come across the occasional poem which much lightens the text. While the author clearly has a religious cultural background, given certain Biblical quotations found throughout the work, she hasn't hedged on the occasional and moderate use of alcohol-based ingredients where they are appropriate and where they ultimately benefit the quality of particular recipes such as fruitcake and tailgater watermelons.

One of my first observations is that this volume can be one of your top ten cookbooks; however, I'm also compelled to say that it's much more than a "recipe book". Here, we have a cookbook which can be read like a good novel. In addition to the recipes, this work is bulging with fun and interesting stories originally conveyed by friends and associates of the author, including culinary tips and territorial folklore of the culturally-notable Mississippi-Louisiana region.

As to my own culinary qualifications to evaluate this work, you can read about them at my profile site, but I can tell you that, at present, I cook from scratch every day and I'm eternally in search of high-quality recipes which I can serve up to my spoiled family, friends, and neighbors. They are spoiled because I feed them only the finest of dishes, generated from the best recipes, all concocted from the freshest (except for my balsamic vinegar!) and the best ingredients available.

"Flavored with Love" includes 320 pages of easy-to-read, large-print text and the reader can expect one or more recipes on about every other page. These recipes are generally each tenoned with a brief story either from or about its respective originator. Here are some reasons why I particularly like this cookbook:

1. The print is large and easy to read while you're cooking. There are over 300 recipes herein. The exterior dimensions are 8 ½" x 11," and it's three-quarters of an inch thick.

2. The binding is soft cover and the book lies open nicely. The cover is shiny and slick and can be wiped free of stains and spills with a damp cloth.

3. The ingredients are mostly common fare, easy to obtain and many are already present in any well-stocked refrigerator, cabinet, and/or pantry.

4. A few recipe ingredients are specific in that the name brand is listed, ergo "Rudy's Farm(tm) Sausage," (page 69), a key component for "Rice Rushing". While I do not have local access to this particular product, I recognize that the author was desirous to convey that a high-quality sausage is called for, so I can simply go out and buy our best local brand, Bob Evans(tm), for this recipe and enjoy full confidence that the end result will meet the standard of the original dish.

5. The short stories and biographies of the recipe authors break up the monotony which comes of reading one recipe after another and also provide some great cooking tips and some occasional levity.

6. I particularly savor this book for what it is NOT... that would be a compendium of "made-up" supposedly old-time recipes which purport to be from "the [Appalachian] mountain people," or "the Cajuns," or from any other group of an ethnically significant culture. Yes, many of these recipes do in fact come from such folks but these people either are or were (many have passed on) real people and these are undoubtedly some of their top recipes. When one runs across cooking activity described utilizing action verbs such as "sopping," "scrunch," "daub," and "whop," you know that you're reading The Real McCoy! This work is clearly not some slick publishing device where the recipes have been gleaned and assembled from the internet, ultimately to be marketed as some manner of culturally historic dishes.

7. While "Flavored with Love" is a sort of regional cookbook, the recipes are still diverse enough to keep this volume ready at hand as a general cookbook as well, which one can use on a daily basis.

8. The ultimate test of any cookbook goes directly to the quality of the recipes. Having received my copy quite recently, the first recipe I tried was the meatloaf, (page 29). Having tested and reviewed many cookbooks in the past, I have discovered that "the meatloaf recipe" in any culinary guide is typically a great measuring device by which one can gauge the appurtenant dishes found in that same cookbook. And this one is a simple, but superb, meatloaf. I also made up a batch of the "Come Back Sauce," (page 112), a unique and delicious approach to salad dressing, just terrific. I've read every recipe in here and I'm confident that they're all as solid as the two which I have tried so far.

While there are no photographs of the dishes, I didn't find that this diminished the book in any sense because the instructions are very detailed and clear. There is also no table of contents but the well-organized, detailed, and lengthy index will guide readers quickly to any recipe which he or she is seeking.

The reader will find a great variety of dishes for all tastes. Some recipes are unique, ("Mustard Fried Venison," page 49; "Mirliton Casserole," page 190); some are hard-to-find recipes, ("Pimento Cheese Spread," page 148; "King Cake," page 244); and, a number of these recipes are simply tons of fun in which your children can be involved in helping you to prepare them, ("Orange Sherbet," page 63; Popcorn Balls," page 37).

There are certain people who would particularly benefit from having a copy of "Flavored with Love". I would especially recommend this cookbook to you if...

...you have children and not a lot of money to feed them.

...you're in a "cooking rut" and everything seems to taste the same lately.

...you have a farming family.

...you are new to cooking (newlyweds) and wish to learn both good and essential culinary techniques.

...you have an angler or hunter in your family who shows up with his or her fish and game, expecting you to prepare it.

...you have a garden which includes tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, and/or okra growing in it.

...you or your family savor Cajun, Creole, or Tex-Mex dishes.

...you collect useful and interesting cookbooks.

...you are a fiend for desserts!

In summary, "Flavored with Love" is an intelligently-written, utilitarian cookbook for busy people who enjoy great-tasting food. In my effort to evaluate this work as a general cookbook, one which the average cook can use everyday to turn out meals for a family, I simply asked myself, "If you had to live on only the recipes found in this book, could you do it?" The answer is a resounding, "Yes"... and you could live well!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Perfect Paperback
This beautiful book aptly titled is flavored with fun, family and friends and above all else love. It is not only a recipe book, but much, much more in one jacket.
A few of my personal favorite pieces of the book is the most precious and adorable tale of the author when she was a tiny four year old on a fishing trip with her Mama and Pa. An entertaining piece on her dance lessons and a poem "Ah,Love" about onions.
"Mary Lou thought the world was a wonderful place", her books certainly make the world a more wonderful place. It's really like being embraced and a part of her world, family and friends.
The recipes are from the author, her mother Myrtle and family and friends. There are charming histories of each person who has contributed recipes.
There are beautiful sunny afternoon stories with almost every recipe ! This is just cause for celebration !
This book presents not as a fling, but as a true courtship, romance and love affair for those of us that love to cook.
I just could not put the book down, reading from cover to cover and becoming absorbed in each and every story and recipe.
Some of the recipes I've tried and have gotten my taste buds spoiled by are Myrtles Chocolate Fudge, delightful and delectable. Pamelas Blueberry Cobbler is another of the desert recipes I've tried. I'm very curious about the Watermelon Rind Preserves. I'm planning on making The Cinnamon Bread recipe this weekend.
It's full of smart suggestions and tips. Making it even more endearing to the reader are quotes and inspirational phrases at the bottom of every page !
Until you are ready to cook some of these absolutely mouth watering recipes, I suggest having some snacks on hand. My appetite found this book extremely stimulating.
She generously shares so much of her life, thoughts and memories, One gets the feeling that you really have come to know this charming, delightful and beautiful person.
Hers are books I treasure and though I haven't much space, I'll always keep them on the top shelf of my book case.
For those who love cooking, humor, memoirs, bright stories and some nostalgia, I recommend this book highly.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2008
Format: Perfect Paperback
Since I was enjoying The Collard Patch so much, my children and husband gave me Flavored with Love for Mother's Day. I'm lovin' it! There are recipes for all kinds of old-fashioned deep South food in there. A lot of it is decadent. It's the kind of food I grew up on, and when there's a holiday, I'll be cooking out of this book.

There are recipes in there from people all over Louisiana and all kinds of stuff from Mississippi. Over in the back there are some Texas dishes.

The stories make me laugh. I like the one at the beginning where Mary Lou tells about catching her first fish. There's a good story about cooking turtle soup with a recipe. I like the duck recipe and the story that goes with it.

It's a big pretty red cookbook. It would make an ideal gift for alot of people I can think of.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2007
Format: Perfect Paperback
This is an excellent book for families who like cooking and eating and sharing their stories while they cook and eat. People who are from the South will appreciate the book for its humor and emphasis on the social aspect of food. People who are not from the South will be able to glean some significant aspects of Southern "kitchen" culture. The book focuses upon the family/friends anecdotes of the author, who, evidently, enjoyed quite an extended family connection. The book offers far more than the standard cookbook recipe medley; rather, the reader is actually taken on an odyssey with the author's family and friends, learning, for instance, about Susan's, the CPA, childhood horseback riding and how such relates to her grandmother's peanut butter fudge. In essence, every recipe is predicated upon a story about the person who developed the original recipe, thus making this volume a food-memoir.
Overall, this is a narrative cookbook, which reads very entertainingly. The recipes appear to be simple for production, such that even a novice, like me, can prepare them.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: Perfect Paperback
My hobby is reading cookbooks. I'm always looking for that "unforgetable" recipe to use for when I entertain. Flavored With Love is the book I keep pulling out of my assortment of cookbooks because it never lets me down. You can make any recipe in this book with the confidence that it will be a hit at your party. And if you don't cook, well, the stories are very touching and reveal a vulnerability that we all can relate to. You're going to love this book!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2008
Format: Perfect Paperback
To those uninitiated in the writings of Mary Lou Cheatham, (aka Jane Riley) I would say "beware." If you're single minded about supper, go to the index, stay focused and find the delectable recipe of your choice. If you choose to browse, you will find that the authoress has planted a mine field, numerous sand traps, speed bumps and other diversions so that when you have finally made your choice, you will discover that the family has gone to bed without supper while you were busy reading documented health hints, and all manner of sad and funny family history, and every kind of edifying, clarifying post script to the recipes in question. Just getting involved in the family tree could result in missing lunch. But it's all great fun and the recipes are by-and-large to die for - particularly stress relievers (positively sinful) and comfort foods. When the world has turned its back on you and all else fails - eat! and eat well with Flavored with Love.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2008
Format: Perfect Paperback
The author sent me a copy of the book after I had suggested she might want to do a local booksigning. It is not a standard cookbook. It is a collection of recipes collected by the author, interspersed with brief stories related to the recipes and various pieces of advice. It is interesting to read the stories, you might want to try some of the recipes, and you may find some useful advice. The book contains an index in the back. The author lives down the road from here in Louisiana, not quite within shouting distance.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2006
Format: Perfect Paperback
I absolutely love this book. My wife and I relocated from New Orleans to Wisconsin after Hurricane Katrina, and these recipes are just what we needed. A little comfort food to keep us warm throughout these long northern winters (when does the sun come back out, anyway?). Coming from a town where we sit around at lunch talking about what we're going to have for dinner and moving to the (no offense) "land of the bland", these recipes do the trick! A definite must have for our kitchen!
Mike Stanley, DVM
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2008
Format: Perfect Paperback
I'm a guy who does not always know what to cook. "Flavored with Love" has really helped me to try new recipes that are simple yet taste great. I also have "The Collard Patch". When cooking a meal this is the book I reach for first.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2007
Format: Perfect Paperback
i recieved this book as a gift and at first i was hesitant to try something new( my college diet of cafeteria food and roman noodle had become sufficent to me) . Let me be the first to say i am so glad i recieved this book! it was written simply i didnt take a masters degree to understand the direction and the stories in the book also gave you a sense of personal connection to the people you gave their recipies. from the bottom of my heart i will say that this is a great book whether its for a seasoned chef or a novice!!!!!
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