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Initial post: Nov 3, 2005 10:28:26 AM PST
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Posted on Feb 5, 2009 10:44:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2009 10:48:01 PM PST
NewsView says:
After reading many, many reviews and seeing entirely contradictory comments that are all over the map for the same book -- e.g. complaints of too many processed foods vs. too many exotic ingredients that are hard-to-find and take too long to prep -- my advice as a former bookseller is not to buy a book of this type this online. Cookbooks are one thing you are better off buying in person (besides, your local bookseller needs to stay in business!).

My second piece of advice is to know what you are getting into before you plunk down your cash. From slow cooker cookbooks, you'll either get recipes that don't require the short-cuts like canned soup, or you'll get the traditional slow cooker type recipes that do. Providing you are adding fresh meat and vegetables, a processed food item here or there is a timesaver and not a nutrition killer. (A box of Lipton soup or canned cream of mushroom, aside from the sodium content, is certainly nothing compared to hot dogs, fries, chips and burgers!) If you want all natural all the time from your slow cooker cookbook, be prepared for the time and effort involved. The slow cooker cookbooks pitched toward foodies and gourmet cooks won't be geared toward simple, fast, inexpensive recipes. Likewise, your traditional slow cooker recipes published by the likes of Better Homes & Gardens, among others that have massive 400-800 page counts and promise to be the only book you'll ever need, may, on occasion, require those standbys and staples.

In my experience, doctoring up the recipes to suit individual taste is not only necessary, but part of the fun of cooking, whether it is the slow cooker or anything else. Don't be afraid to experiment. And do read the front of the book. It is important to understand why you COULD cook it for 12 hours until you get home from work, but why it may be bland and mushy and would be better to serve after 6. Likewise, you COULD leave those starchy veggies, such as potatoes, in the slow cooker for 10 hours, but do expect the starches to break down (overcook and get mushy). You have to learn your way around these sorts of problems if they really bug you. To some people, it goes with the slow cooking territory, however. (The tradeoffs involved are one reason why professional chefs have never been as enthusiastic about slow cookers as our mothers and grandmothers were.)

Lastly, understand what works best in a slow cooker. To fill all those pages in a cookbook the editor is going to have to do better than 10-20 recipes that are absolutely the most mouthwatering. Publishers and authors are trying to appeal to a broad base by offering everything from chicken, chili, desserts, seafood, ethnic inspired meals and pot roasts. In my experience, only the high fat "comfort foods" are truly a good match to this cooking format. Beans used for stews and chili work great as do beef and pork dishes, but nearly everything else seems to go downhill from there. The easiest ones to overcook are the chicken, and the desserts, while they may seem gimmicky, are surprisingly good.

Lastly, don't be afraid to toss in a few extra seasonings toward the end of the cooking time if you are concerned the recipe would otherwise be too bland. These books have to walk a middle line between the crowd that likes their food tame and predictable vs. spicy and exotic. To get what you want, you will have to adapt the recipes, if not the cook times based upon the unique operational characteristics of your personal slow cooker. It is vital to note that these appliances don't all heat up and operate equally, and that is yet another reason why what might taste good in a state-of-the-art test kitchen may flop in yours after buying the book.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 1:06:21 PM PDT
D. DeMeo says:
I haven't written a review yet, because I've only tried 2 recipes so far. I bought the book on impulse while out buying kitchen gadgets. I love using my slow cooker, and the title of this book drew me in.

So far I'm not impressed. I made the minestrone soup and the lazy day pot roast. (I had pneumonia when I made the pot roast, so I thought lazy was the way to go.) Both recipes tasted very bland to me and needed to be spruced up quite a bit. Don't get me wrong; I generally love to modify the heck out of recipes. However, when I'm using a slow cooker, it's generally because I'm stressed for time and I just want to come home to a delicious meal with no fuss.

I'll try a few more recipes before I make any further judgements about the book. I'm curious to know what recipes from the book others have tried so far and what they think?

Posted on Jan 2, 2010 5:34:07 PM PST
Bonnie Glass says:
I bought and returned the Kindle version of this book. Sadly, due to the very poor formatting I didn't read this book beyond the soup chapter. The excessively small type of the ingredient lists made it difficult to read and was the reason for the return.

I hope the publisher reads this and makes the needed changes. There is no excuse for providing Kindle users with a lower quality than provided to print buyers.

Posted on May 17, 2013 8:27:28 PM PDT
M. Power says:
Several soups in this book are wonderful. The Winter Tomato Soup was worth the entire price of the book.
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Participants:  5
Total posts:  5
Initial post:  Nov 3, 2005
Latest post:  May 17, 2013

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Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook
Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger (Hardcover - Feb. 2005)
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