500 of 517 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was expecting less.....
After reading SO SO many 5 star reviews and then the few sprinkled here and there that were less than stellar, I was expecting this cookbook not to wow me. I thought the 5 star reviews were from fans that would love anything PW put out, no matter what it was, and that the people who were not impressed were probably the ones who had their feet on the ground about the book...
Published on December 8, 2009 by Stephanie M. Campbell
356 of 435 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love, Love, Love Ree-just not the cookbook.
Ok Ree has a cult following-I know this because I am a member of it. I think her blog is a blessing and a curse because every reviewer seems to be comparing this book to it. Although, it's extremely hard not too -it's really not a fair comparison. The one thing I will agree with is that, I too, was surprised about how many of the recipes were duplicates from the website...
Published on November 9, 2009 by happymommy78
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500 of 517 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was expecting less.....,
After reading SO SO many 5 star reviews and then the few sprinkled here and there that were less than stellar, I was expecting this cookbook not to wow me. I thought the 5 star reviews were from fans that would love anything PW put out, no matter what it was, and that the people who were not impressed were probably the ones who had their feet on the ground about the book. But uh.....I LOVE the book. It's beautiful, in full color (I must admit I hate cookbooks without pictures), and EVERY recipe has pictures--lots of them. I am a lover of real food: butter, meat, fruit, veggies, all the food God made in the state in which He made them. This cookbook allows me to use almost every recipe without alterations.
I know one complaint from some people was that most of these recipes are already on her blog. Maybe this is true, but as the mother of 6 small children, I simply don't have time to surf pages of recipes. I need them in book form, in my face, on my counter. A few of these recipes look familiar, but I've not been able to go through all the recipes on her site. And you know, even if I had been able to, it's nice to not have to get online to find a recipe. So if all the recipes in the book are on her blog, I am not irritated with Ree, I am *thankful* to her for providing such a wonderful resource for *free* all this time, and now I'm thankful I get to have all those wonderful recipes right in my hand.
239 of 268 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars step-by-step picture recipes,
In "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl," Ree Drummond provides step by step recipes in categories like Starters (appetizers), In the Morning (breakfast), Dinner (lunch), Supper (dinner), and Sweets (dessert). There are also bonus sections like Sunday Dinner and Cowboy Dinner Party.
The book is full of colorful photographs, and starts off with an introduction where Drummond tells her story of becoming a country girl and learning southern cooking. Having graduated from a college in L.A., she goes back home with plans to fly to Chicago and start law school. However, her plans are disturbed when she meets Marlboro Man--the character to become her husband and a true cowboy--in an eatery one day. From then on, it's marriage, four kids, country life, and a long immersion into southern cooking. Throughout the recipes, Drummond includes pictures of her family and her country life.
The recipes themselves are delicious: roasted corn salad, morning cinnamon rolls, sour cream pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, onion rings, meatloaf, fried chicken, spicy pulled pork, flat apple pie, chocolate sheet cake, blackberry cobbler, and etc. Those familiar with Drummond's blog--which she briefly mentions in the book--may have known Ree's kitchen style, but for me it was a discovery. I was especially impressed by the fact that for each recipe, Drummond actually provides pictures of each step to supplement the text. As a beginning cook, I found this very helpful.
Initially, I was attracted to this book because of its cover, but I found the contents are equally as good. Recommended for anybody who wants to expand their cooking knowledge or simply loves southern cuisine.
212 of 244 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favorite cookbook!,
Being a new wife who had NO idea how to cook, I started searching the internet endlessly looking for recipes that I could actually serve to my picky, meat and potatos eatin' husband. I came across Ree's blog about a year and a half ago, and have been a daily reader since. She has made cooking fun for me, and not just a chore like I used to think of it. Her charm makes it seem like you're cooking (or in my case, learning to cook) with a friend, rather than just reading a boring description of a recipe. I quickly saw the advantages of the step by step photos that Ree uses on her blog, and also in this cookbook. In most of my cooking expierences, I would always wonder "is this how it's supposed to look?!" or "am I doing this right?". The step by step pictures have eliminated that worry for me. It's wonderful to feel somewhat competent in the kitchen now, and that's all thanks to Ree. I know that if I make one of Ree's recipes, it's guaranteed to be a success.
I think the best part of this cookbook is that the recipes are geared towards the home cook. I often buy cookbooks and usually there are only a handful of recipes that I would even try to serve to my family. With this book, I could see myself serving every one. And of course, they are delicious - and that's really the most important part.
356 of 435 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love, Love, Love Ree-just not the cookbook.,
Ok Ree has a cult following-I know this because I am a member of it. I think her blog is a blessing and a curse because every reviewer seems to be comparing this book to it. Although, it's extremely hard not too -it's really not a fair comparison. The one thing I will agree with is that, I too, was surprised about how many of the recipes were duplicates from the website. I pre-ordered the book with high hopes and down-right anticipatory joy. So I will try to review the cookbook just as that-a cookbook. If I were to pick up the book without any knowledge of Ree Drummond I would have to say that I would be even more disappointed than I am being an avid follower of her blog. It seems that we are all a little more forgiving because we feel a kinship with her and wanted this book to do so well.
I passed the book to family members that knew nothing of her and was asked by them if the book was a "coffee table book" because it seems that the recipes get lost in the mix. I understand that photography is a huge part of her life; initially that is what drew me to her site. I completely understand including some photos in the book. My issue is not necessarily with that, but with what seems to be the EXACT same photos spreading across two page spreads. For example, upon closer inspection you see the photos of her children are SLIGHTLY different, and the spread with the rainbows are different, but not different enough or interesting enough to devote so much of the book to. I love the fact she includes pictures of every step of the recipe, but find the photos to be a little small to even notice the details. Which begs the question that if she maybe would have not included so many two-page photo spreads would she have been able to include bigger recipe photos and/or more recipes?
To summarize I was actually surprised looking at the index that there were as many recipes in the book as there were, because it literally seemed that there were only a few in each section-lost between numerous photo spreads. Perhaps if she wanted to combine so much of her overall life (i.e. stories and photography) she should have advertised the book as more of a memoir than just as a cookbook. On the positive side Ree's recipes (as always) call for easy to find ingredients-which I love, and her recipes satisfy my hearty (but picky) eating husband. My suggestion is to either thumb through a copy of this book at your local bookstore before purchasing sight unseen from Amazon, or stick to viewing her blog.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ree Drummond sticks to her characteristic mix of wry humor and butter by the pound.,
If you've followed her blog as I have, you'll be pleased to find that author Ree Drummond sticks to her characteristic mix of wry humor and butter by the pound. I'm glad. It's been working for her. In The Pioneer Woman Cooks, her cookbook slash photographic memoir, Ree brings to life the story of her city upbringing with her farm woman reality, currently wrangling four kids and a husband on a working cattle ranch in Oklahoma. Mesmerizing photographs of family members, get-togethers and muddy farm work blend well with humorous anecdotes -- and serve to show you why her family is so hungry!
Cute, ranch-laden, photo-intense asides with amusing anecdotes leave you longing for a house on the prairie in a way that 'Little House on the Prairie' episodes never did. Miss Mustang International, my favorite of these sections, showcases the farm's haughtiest mares, snobby and cool as horses can be, deadlocked in imaginary pageantry.
What apparently didn't work was the step-by-step visual instructions Ree compiles for each recipe. Drummond's gorgeous pix can be viewed on her website, and it's this stunning photography that leaves viewers drooling for more. Normally. In this publication, however, her photos fall flat. Whether an error in photo correction or on press, it's a sad reality that the green tint of the tutorial pictures makes the food less than appetizing. (Let's flag this for correction on the second printing, Harper Collins. You're far too professional for this type of error. Unless it's just my copy. Hmm.)
Now I bought the book despite its meat-centered mains partly to support a fellow blogger, but mostly because Drummond's recipes can be counted upon to work. This is turning out to be a rare feat in cookbookery. For obvious reasons, I won't comment on the chicken-fried steak or meatloaf recipes, sticking instead to ones I've already tried.
PW's Creamy Mashed Potatoes: killer Thanksgiving staple.
Maple Pecan Scones: get this, already made them three times.
Cinnamon Rolls: yum.
Migas: delectable, eggy nachos. I know, right?
Egg in the Hole: something I've made before, but the extra butter does make it better. Like two days in row better.
And I've only had the book for two weeks. In short, Drummond's pithy writing style and remarkable large-scale photography make this book almost as much a coffee table item as a kitchen resource. If you like having cookbooks you can rely on with unfussy authors you'd ask over for lunch, pick up The Pioneer Woman Cooks. You won't be disappointed, especially if you like butter as much as I do.
62 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compilation,
This is a great book. It's beautiful, well written, and the recipes are fantastic. It makes an awesome addition to most kitchens.
The big downside? There's not much in this book that you isn't already on her website. There are some additions, but the bulk of the book is a compilation of things found on her blog. I was hoping for more new stuff. It makes a great gift for a huge PW fan or for someone who isn't internet savvy. I am glad I bought the book, I'd rather have this beautiful hard cover piece of kitchen art than a bunch of printed-from-the-internet recipes.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good, beautiful, basic, homey cookbook!,
There are many reviews here both good and bad. All I may add is that I am an avid supporter of this book. As a 69 year old mother and grandmother, who has been cooking for 60 years, my finding is that this cookbook is a visually delightful return to basic, homey, delicious cooking with a sometimes surprising and decidedly modern edge. The recipes have been family tested and I can assure that they most certainly will appeal to men and children of all ages. In modern cookbooks and cooking programs, far too little attention is being paid to recipes with universal appeal and made with ingredients readily available from American farms and backyard gardens - ingredients that are freshly grown/raised in American soil and on American ranches. These basic ingredients used wisely are superior and good for us and have sustained us for generations. They also have made us the healthiest people on earth. Carelessly prepared fast food, inactivity, and the reluctance of modern women (and men) to cook meals 'from scratch' are the elements that are wreaking havoc on the health of America's children and families not traditional American cooking. Ree Drummond's book brings us back home. Although there are some recipes in Ree's cookbook that are basic and can be found in various basic cookbooks, her variations and the stunning photographs separate her cookbook from all others. The photographic recipe presentations are as close to fool-proof as you can get for beginning cooks and are very pleasing to the eyes of those of us who have been cooking for decades. Even though familiar with many of the basic recipes, after thumbing through the pages, I couldn't wait to try Ree's versions. Reading little vignettes, interspersed throughout the book, about Ree, her husband, and her family was not a distraction but rather a pleasure and her sense of humor had me happily giggling throughout - an added delight certainly not typically found in cookbooks. We have, of late, become inundated with modern culture that tends to neglect traditional families and their values. What a refreshing treat it is to read of at least one young family who is kept busy with loving and respecting one another and living out and fostering American traditions. Ree Drummond has captured America at its best among the pages of a cookbook. Read about this dear family, admire the photographs, cook the recipes, cherish the content, and enjoy this book to its fullest - in my opinion, you won't and can't be disappointed.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Cookbook!!!,
I want to start by saying that I love Ree's blog! After reading it for awhile, I decided I wanted a copy of her cookbook. Then I came to Amazon and read some of the reviews and almost did not order it. After all, I wanted a cookbook with lots of recipes and some reviewers were saying it contained too many pictures and stories and not enough recipes. I went ahead and ordered it anyway because I like pictures and stories and Ree's are some of the best. I am so glad I did!!! It is the most beautiful cookbook I have ever seen. The photos are so bright and colorful. I sat down yesterday after receiving it and thumbed through it, reading stories and looking at pictures. Then I got down to business and found a recipe and made it for supper. My family loved it! I really like that there are step by step photos. It helped at one point when I wasn't sure what my recipe was supposed to look like. Later I went to the first recipe and started reading. The photos made each recipe look so appealing! For instance, the roasted corn salad looked so good that I wanted to try it right then, and I don't like corn! Then my husband picked up the book and looked through it and he said the same thing, "This makes me hungry."
So, if you like photos, stories, or really good food, you should definitely get this cookbook.
43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun lady, pretty book, very so-so recipes,
I really enjoy Ree's blog, and I have tried a few recipes from it with great results. I have tried two recipes from the cookbook after getting it about a week ago. I used her method for a pot of beans - WAY too peppery, and we LOVE pepper. The method itself worked okay (no soaking) and the flavor was decent, but the recommended amount of pepper ruined the whole pot. I made the cinnamon rolls this morning (the house did smell divine), and, while the dough itself is a lovely recipe (they came out very light and almost flakey), they were so sweet that even my infamously sweet-toothed husband was turned off. I am spinning from a major sugar buzz, and I am dissapointed that the sugary-nous overwhelmed what I suspect is a really nice maple/coffee/cinnamon flavor. I couldn't even enjoy the nice bread itself because of the cloying sugary sweetness. That being said, I will use this recipe again, cutting way back on the sugar in the filling.
Also, as mentioned in previous reviews, some of the recipes are so very basic that I am surprised to see them included (egg in the hole, basic breakfast potatoes), especially as there are not a great number of recipes overall. And, as also mentioned by previous reviewers, if you have read the blog you already know the story told throughout the cookbook - still, it is a charming story and you can skip it if you've already read it. :)
Bottom line: I do like the fun style of Ree's writing, and her photography is nice too. I will keep tabs on her blog and will try more recipes from the book just keeping in mind to change it up if something looks off to me.
105 of 139 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't meet my expectations,
Ree cooks the kind of food many of us grew up eating (or wish we did!). It's not trendy. It's the kind of food my family likes to eat, though I'll admit that I've not tried many of her recipes. I've been cooking since I was in high school -- before Ree was born -- and many of the recipes she presents are virtually identical to recipes I've been cooking for years. Of the recipes I have tried, only half have been "keepers" and the other half have fallen into the "please don't make this again" category. I've only tried one of the new recipes from the book and it wasn't a keeper. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; I don't expect to love or want to try every recipe in a cookbook. I've had the most success with her brisket and southwestern recipes. One of my favorite things about the recipes is that Ree doesn't rely heavily on manufactured ingredients. They're not absent, but there's not a heavy use of them.
I expected to love this cookbook and I'm so disappointed that I don't. I expected more from this cookbook, not more of the same. On her website and in the introduction to the book she said that there were several old favorites and many new recipes. There are only 65 recipes in this book; 38 have already appeared on her website.
One of my complaints about this cookbook is the same one I have with many current cookbooks: it's not user-friendly. It's not a book that is easy to take into the kitchen and use. This is more like a coffee table book and I'm afraid I'll splatter food on it while cooking.
If you're familiar with Ree's blog, it's almost impossible not to compare it with the book. I like the blog better!
I'm not a fan of the step-by-step photos. On the web site, I can skip past all the photos and get to a recipe summary. In the book, there's no recipe summary. With pictures, most of the recipes are 3 pages long and some are longer. I find the photos to be more of a nuisance than helpful. However, I think they're helpful to new cooks. I faithfully read the comments to Ree's recipes and I've come to realize that there are many people who aren't knowledgeable, skilled, or confident in the kitchen. If you didn't grow up watching and helping someone in your home cook meals daily, the pictures will probably be most helpful.
I don't appreciate all the fluff in this book -- the pictures and stories of life on the ranch, Marlboro Man, punks, other family and friends, cattle, horses and dogs plus lots of color (borders at the top and bottom of every recipe page) and clip art with every recipe. It's very distracting. When a book is billed as a cookbook, I expect recipes.
The recipes are good examples of basic home cooking. I realize that there are a lot of people who don't know how to cook basic dishes and for them this is a good cookbook. For experienced home cooks with their favorite versions of pot roast, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and so on, there's little new or exciting. As I said above, many of Ree's recipes are virtually identical to those I've been cooking for years. I check Ree's cooking site frequently, but I'm looking for the rare new thing or a better version of something I already make.
The majority of the recipes serve 6-8 or more. I almost never cook for more than 3 people, so I have to cut everything down to a more reasonable number of servings. This is something I'm used to doing, but if you don't like doing the math or eating a lot of leftovers, it could be a problem.
Ree says that her cooking is "decidedly not non-caloric." She's right. I don't find this to be a problem, but I do watch the portions. If someone is looking for what many Americans believe is "healthy" cooking, this isn't the book for them. There's a lot of bacon, beef and butter!
I'm amazed at the number of 5-star reviews for this cookbook. I think they have a lot more to do with Ree's popularity than with the content of the book. In terms of how much is there and how good it is, it's a good cookbook, but it's certainly not great. I feel cheated because over 50% of the recipes and 75% of the total content of the book is available for free at her website. I can't think of another cookbook author who could deliver so little and get rave reviews for it.
I'm also surprised by the fact that she didn't acknowledge or thank her many readers. Without them, she probably wouldn't have been able to publish this book, have it be in Amazon's top 100 long before it was published and received so much publicity.
There's not a lot here for experienced cooks or those who follow her blog. It's a better book for beginners and those unfamiliar with her blog -- and who don't mind all the fluff included. There's too much visually distracting, extraneous material and too few recipes.
UPDATE: It's been a year since the book was published and my opinion of it hasn't changed. I've discovered that all the pictures with a recipe make me think the recipe is far more difficult or time consuming than it is. As much as I dislike all the pictures on the blog, I dislike them even more in the book. I think they make the book much more difficult to use. There are now more recipes from the book on her blog. When she publishes her next cookbook, I'll look at it closely at the bookstore before I buy.
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The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond