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373 of 401 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has a photo of food ever looked so good that you tried to smell it?
Ree Drummond, who uses the nom de plume "Pioneer Woman" for her eponymous show on the Food Network, is following on the success of her 2009 debut The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl with a new cookbook designed to bring the taste and culture of her family-style cooking to the rest of the world.

I've never seen an episode of Pioneer...
Published on March 13, 2012 by Scott

versus
175 of 219 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the first book better
I like cookbooks. I don't care if an author has a blog and every recipe can already be found online for free. If I like the author enough I will spend the money so I can have the book, with all the recipes in one place, to enjoy at my convenience. I don't think it's fair to judge a book solely on whether the recipes can be had elsewhere for free. That being said, I just...
Published on March 23, 2012 by Lisa


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373 of 401 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has a photo of food ever looked so good that you tried to smell it?, March 13, 2012
This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
Ree Drummond, who uses the nom de plume "Pioneer Woman" for her eponymous show on the Food Network, is following on the success of her 2009 debut The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl with a new cookbook designed to bring the taste and culture of her family-style cooking to the rest of the world.

I've never seen an episode of Pioneer Woman, and had never heard of Ree Drummond up until a month ago. My familiarity with her grew quickly only a few pages into it. "Food from my Frontier" is filled with pictures and stories of her family and children, and if you don't know the names of everyone by the time you've reached the soup section, then it's likely several pages have gotten stuck together. At first glance, I started to groan. I know all about the emotional aspect of cooking, and I'm used to chefs playing up the "family angle" in their books, but for the most part, I gloss right over it. I would gladly give up pictures of Gordon Ramsay's children picking strawberries or Paula Deen's niece cutting herbs for a crusty, bubbling mac and cheese or even a nice dark roux. I can fully appreciate the market for "coffee table cookbooks," but mine will spend most of their lives on the counter, with hand-cracked spines to ensure they lay flat and pages covered in grease and olive oil. At first appearance, "Food from my Frontier" follows the same formula, but it quickly becomes clear that Drummond has hit a magical balance between form and function and created a cookbook that retains the down-homey family aspect that will make this book appeal to those that like to "read" cookbooks and those that use them to cook.

CONTENT
I started out my research into Drummond with the food blog that started her success, and on first glance, it is easy to see where that success came from. The strength of her food blog comes from the stunningly beautiful pictures that accompany each recipe. Food photography can be a difficult skill to master, but it's clear that Drummond could have easily picked it up professionally. Almost every aspect of her cooking, from mise en place, to preparation, to finished product, is documented in vibrant full color photos that are sure to work the salivary glands into overtime. The same format follows in this book. Each recipe (yes, even the one for iced tea) has an average of 10 accompanying photographs (all taken by Drummond herself). The pictures are fairly small, but large enough to show technique and give you an idea of what you should be doing. There are still numerous non-food photos of Drummond's family, pets, and various farm animals, but the layout is so well-managed that there is more than enough room for them and they serve to add character to the book without taking away from the actual cooking.

RECIPES
There are 119 recipes in all. Normally for a cookbook of this size I would expect at least 150, but given how much space is devoted to each recipe, this is a very respectable number. If you are a devotee to the blog, most of these recipes are going to feel very familiar to you. I went through all of the recipes and came up with 30 that appeared to be truly original to the book. All the rest can be found on her blog. Some of the recipes were "reworked," which mostly just means that they had better pictures taken, and possibly small ingredient changes. But I can't fault Drummond because she likes to give away free recipes. I will however say that if you're having trouble with a particular recipe, look it up on the blog, because she has many more pictures and the steps are described in greater detail. I have had no problem following the recipes I have tried from the book though. The book follows the traditional format of most cookbooks, but adds a "Canning" section at the end. The recipe breakdown (followed by number of recipes) is as follows:

Breakfast (13)
Lunch (14)
Soups (7)
Starters, Party Food, and Drinks (15)
Pasta and Pizza (10)
Supper (21)
Sides (10)
Sweets (17)
Canning (12)

I tried recipes from each section (except the canning), and I think the strength of this book comes from the Starters/Party Food, and the Sweets. You'll find there are several classics, such as caprese salad, guacamole, and quiche, but almost all of the recipes have something original about the preparation or an added ingredient that gives them new life. I've seen a dozen recipes for caprese salad, and they are pretty much exactly the same (which is to be expected for this dish), but I had never thought to heat the balsamic before, which reduces it and concentrates the flavor, to give a much nicer presentation and richer taste. While trying Pioneer Woman's recipe for sliders, I was surprised by how much flavor was added to the burgers by adding heavy cream to the ground beef and lathering the buns with fry sauce (ketchup mixed with mayonnaise).

Usually I'll be lucky if even half of the recipes in a cookbook appeal to me, but I could see myself eventually making almost all (with the exception of some of the drinks) of the recipes in "Food from my Frontier." All of the recipes I've tried have been very easy to recreate and although my presentation is not yet on par with Drummond's, I would be surprised if the taste of my dishes were much different. The recipes are all easy to follow and do not require advanced techniques or weird ingredients that you're going to have to get at a specialty store. These are quality southern recipes that I think will appeal to kids and parents alike. Although be warned - they are not for those who are concerned with counting calories.

CRITICISM
- Lack of preparation/cooking time. It's not too difficult to figure this out from reading the recipes, but I think every cookbook should have an estimated cooking time below the serving size to give you a general idea of how long you're going to be in the kitchen.

- The book also contains a lot of the previously-mentioned camp - dozens of family pictures, life on the farm, and photos of animals with captions above them. But as I said, it's easy enough to skim over if you're not into it and I don't feel like it takes away from the content of the food portion of the book. Even though I usually hate this kind of thing, I felt that it even added to the book in this case.

- These recipes are about as far away from "healthy" as you can get. I don't fault the book at all for this (and this isn't really a criticism), since it's not advertised as a healthy cookbook, but the ingredients in these dishes would make Paula Deen blush. Make sure you have your kitchen well stocked with lots of eggs, sugar, fats, and red meat. The Drummond family can get away with it since they're working on a farm for 12 hours a day, but if the average American eats this stuff every day they will have a heart attack before they make it to the desserts section.

CONCLUSION
I have grown up in an age where cooks are spoiled by beautiful cookbooks. I can no longer pick up my mother's 30 year old Junior League cookbooks, filled with hundreds of recipes in a spiral bound book. While I am sure that Susie Greenleaf's recipe for crawfish pie is delicious, I will likely never try it because it lacks the visual accompaniment to get me excited about making it. I fear that "Food from my Frontier" is setting a dangerous precedent. How will other chefs be able to compete with their own Coffee Cream Cake recipe without a full page photo of a moist and rich bundle of calories like we're given on page 253? Maybe Ms. Drummond should consider a side job doing food photography full time? Until then, Pioneer Woman's "Food from my Frontier" will retain its place of prominence behind my grease-stained cookbook stand.

UPDATE March 16, 2012: I've gone through all the recipes and below is a list of the new and reworked recipes that I could not find already on her blog:

BREAKFAST
Orange Sweet Rolls
Eggs Florentine
Breakfast Bread Pudding (Very similar to the Sausage-Kale Breakfast Strata from her blog)
Breakfast Pizza
Cowboy and Cowgirl Quiche

LUNCH
Spicy Caesar Salad
Cornbread Croutons
Best Grilled Cheese Ever
Basic Chicken Salad (reworked from 2008 recipe)
Spicy Grilled Vegetable Panini
Chicken Apricot Panini (reworked from 2010 recipe)
Perfect Spinach Salad (reworked from 2009)

SOUPS
Gazpacho (reworked and modified from a 2009 recipe - I prefer the blog version)
French Onion Soup (Only different in the cheese/crouton preparation)

STARTERS, PARTY FOODS AND DRINKS
Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms
Classic Hot Wings / Asian Hot Wings (Modified version of the "Wings" recipe from her blog)
Whiskey-Mustard Meatballs
Cherry Limeade
Mango Margaritas
Bloody Mary

PASTA AND PIZZA
Rigatoni and Meatballs
Pizza Dough (although you can find this from the "My Favorite Pizza" blog recipe)
Thai Chicken Pizza
Carnitas Pizza

SUPPER
Barbecue Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas
His/Her Burgers
Fried Chicken Tacos
Shepherd's Pie
Tequila Lime Chicken
Tangy Tomato Brisket
Apricot Shrimp Skewers
Osso Buco
Honey-Plum Soy Chicken

SIDES
Twice-Baked New Potatoes (reworked from 2009 recipe)
Panfried Kale
Panfried Spinach (almost the exact same as the Kale recipe)

SWEETS
Apple Brown Betty (reworked from 2008 recipe)
Coffee Cream Cake (reworked from "Coffee Cake" blog recipe
Blackberry Chip Ice Cream (reworded from 2009 blog recipe)
Coffee Ice Cream
Malted Milk Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches

CANNING
Sweet lime Pickles

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free copy of this book from the publisher to review. Since I did not receive it until after my review was written, I also purchased my own copy at retail to write the review. I was never instructed or asked by the publisher to provide a positive rating.
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175 of 219 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the first book better, March 23, 2012
By 
Lisa (Bucks County, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
I like cookbooks. I don't care if an author has a blog and every recipe can already be found online for free. If I like the author enough I will spend the money so I can have the book, with all the recipes in one place, to enjoy at my convenience. I don't think it's fair to judge a book solely on whether the recipes can be had elsewhere for free. That being said, I just don't like this book as much as the first one. The first one grabbed me because it was fun and flirty, written in a tone that drew me in, with lighthearted photos and simple, delicious recipes. I didn't mind the extensive detail or the photos of the process that went into making each and every dish. This time, though, and I can't quite put my finger on it, I'm bored. The recipes aren't grabbing me; her down-home charm is wearing a bit thin. The recipes are more "exotic" (for her) this time around and a big departure from what she claims her family will eat. Her tone also seems more forced, as if she's trying desperately to hang on to who she was the first time around. And I personally cannot handle one more photo of a hand with a spoonful of paprika in its palm. There's detail and there's too much detail and these types of photos seem more filler than necessary. I have no real desire to cook from this book. This is not to say it's a bad book, rather, I just wish it drew me in as much as the first.
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48 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Losing Her Perspective, April 7, 2012
This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
I have loved Ree and read her blog for years now, and though I hate to say it, I was not thrilled with this cookbook. I feel that now that she has begun her tv show and spreading her "brand," her unique perspective and personality are becoming lost somehow. You know, the things that made her original readers love her are falling to the wayside to make her more appealing to the general masses. I turn to the Pioneer Woman for fool proof classic comfort food, but when you look through this cookbook, that's not what you find. These aren't southern classics, cowboy food, or comfort food. Recipes do sound lovely still, but they aren't the kind of recipes that I came to look for from the Pioneer Woman. I don't mean to say it's a bad cookbook -- it's just a generic cookbook that lacks the original charm of Mrs. Drummond.
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61 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Give Me Food, Lots Of Food, March 13, 2012
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This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
Ree Drummond begins her new cookbook with this phrase. ' Oh, Give Me Food, Lots Of Food' taken from the song 'Don't Fence Me In'. 'Give Me Land Lots of Land, Under Starry Skies Above, Don't Fence Me In" music by Cole Porter and lyrics by Robert Fletcher and Cole Porter. That song certainly fits the bill in Ree's life. Living in Oklahoma on a ranch, she has lots of land, lots of food, and few fences!

Ree Drummond is a force to be reckoned with. Her food is stylish but has a lot of butter, oil and red meat. So, this cookbook is not for everyone. It is true she has a large family who work hard and need good nutritious meals. I would love to see her include more fresh vegetables, whole grains and fruits, and I would be a happier woman. That said, she brings such a bright spirit to the world of cooking. Her personality seems to bloom while she is cooking, and I love the down home atmosphere. It brings us to a place we wish we could visit every weekend. The Food Network has Ree has one of their new cooks, and she brings such a fresh voice into our lives.

This cookbook is lovely to look at, and the photography is gorgeous. It is probably true that photographs are almost as necessary as the recipes in a cookbook. Ree is one of the few cooks who provide photographic instructions of the recipe step by step, that is one of the best additions to any cookbook. And, Ree took all but a few of the pictures in this cookbook. You can actually see what each step should look like. And, then she provides photographs of her home on the ranch, scenes from the ranch, her family, her kitchen, the animals, her neighbors, and the countryside.

The cookbook has an introduction and is then separated into nine chapters. Ree has a great sense of humor, and it is most apparent in the last two pages, 'Keepin' It Real', I won't spoil the surprise for you. All of the chapters are superb, from Breakfast to Lunch, to Soups, to Starters-Party Foods, to Pasta and Pizza, to Supper, to Soups, to Sweets and then Canning. How many other cookbooks include canning, strawberry jam and sweet lime pickles? One of my favorite recipes from Breakfast is Cowgirl Quiche-it looks and tastes delicious. Grilled Corn Guacamole for a Starter is superb. Ree's recipe for Shepherd's Pie is unusual and so good! I like the Citrus Butter Cookies and the Knock You Naked Brownies! From the first page to the last, this is a cookbook to be savored. Cookbooks are books to be read as all good cookbook people know. They tell a story of the author as well as the recipes. We get to know the author better, the amount of thought and love that go into each recipe. Ree Drummond has said " I hope you enjoy, devour, and love this book". Yes, indeed, Ree, yes, indeed. Love it! This cookbook will be covered with flour and chocolate spots, a well used cookbook.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 03-13-12

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--a Love Story
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yummy time, March 20, 2012
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This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
I have her first cookbook and lots of recipes looked familiar as if derived from my Mom and Grandma. The 2nd one is even more yummy and the pictures are really beautiful, makes your mouth water for sure. This is not a low fat cookbook and if you go in thinking it is, you'll be disappointed. I've tried 2 recipes so far and lets just say my husband has signed up for a few more years with me. The Tres Leche cake was a hit at our house and I have marked pages in order to try them one by one and now carry it with me to the grocery store just to make sure I have all the goodies. I love her blog and I gain 3 lbs. just reading it and this cookbook does not disappoint. Now when I read the recipes, I 'hear' her give me the little quips of humor she dishes up on the TV version of her life as a foodanista!
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just WOW!!! Gorgeous Book, amazing photos!, April 22, 2012
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This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
I didn't receive this book a very long time ago, so I didn't really have the opportunity to try a recipe from this book yet, but I read many of them, and I can tell you it really makes you hungry even if you are not!
I precise I am French from Paris, and quite aware about what is good food. I've been raised in a family where delicate and healthy food were very important.
Here, I like the very Western Cow Boys feeling and the photos of a life I will probably never know.
I also like the many quick and yummy recipes explained in it, everything seems healthy, which is a very good point too. I admire this woman who is cooking for a big family, is proud of it, and even finds the time and the energy to make a job of it.
I can tell you this book exceptional. It will follow me wherever I go and I will try many meals from it.
I am very impressed, I really highly recommend this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So fun!, October 21, 2012
This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
I rarely buy cookbooks but this is full of practical & fun recipes. She tells you where you can use store bought items and when to make something fresh. She has a multitude of photos which makes her instructions straightforward. She also gives tips on garnishes, variations, and side dishes. She really writes at my level of cooking (home chef not expert chef).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love!, March 23, 2012
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This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
I love this cookbook! Great recipes and put together very well. You can tell how much she loves her family and cooking for them. I can identify with her a lot and I love that she is so real about everything.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm not a Pioneer Woman, but....., October 23, 2012
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I think this is really such a great, well planned cookbook with so many wonderful recipes. The photography is fabulous and makes for an easy read. This is one cookbook I keep coming back to.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yum, March 14, 2012
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This review is from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier (Hardcover)
This is an excellent cookbook. I love all the pictures, she has pictures of each step of a recipe which is so nice. I hate when recipes don't even include one picture, so this is great. The recipes are easy and delicious too, things even my two little children will eat.
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The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier by Ree Drummond (Hardcover - March 13, 2012)
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