Farm Girl Country Cooking: Hearty Meals for the Active Family Kindle Edition
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|Length: 84 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Looking at Karen's picture, she and I are about of an age. Crockpots were all the rage when we were first learning to cook in the late 60s and early 70's. Julia Child had made them popular as a way to cook beans and even Farm Journal put out recipes using the Crockpot. That was when I first learned to cook Mexican food, something I learned from another military wife - a California farm girl - when I was in Germany. I started turning out a stir fry now and then too, so I was delighted to see that Karen included some of those recipes. For those who feel Mexican, stir fry and a crock pot doesn't qualify as "farm food", do let me point out that this book is named after Karen's first book, Farm Girl - a compilation of stories told by her 90 year old mother about growing up on a farm in the 1920s. These are the recipes that Karen used to feed her large family, not the food that her Farm Girl mother ate growing up on the farm.
Now, if you have a small family, maybe just a child or two at home or even none at all, then this is not the cookbook for you. The recipes are all much too large. You would be eating the same one thing for a week! (Great if you want to fill your freezer though.) However, if you have the makings of your own basketball team, then Farm Girl Country Cooking: Hearty Meals for the Active Family will be a life-saver.
Full of extra-large recipes for Main Dishes, Salads & Vegetables, Yeast Breads, Quick Breads & Grains, and Desserts there are recipes for every taste. Nearly all of them are economical. After all, Karen raised 10 children on a shoe string. Oddly, she started out not knowing how to cook and not liking it very much either. Karen had me in stitches as she made her utter dislike of the thankless, never-ending task of feeding a houseful clear.
You'll want to pay close attention to the opening chapter, where you'll find time-tested strategies for feeding the multitudes. (Karen's strategies work. They're mostly the same as those I used myself.) I particularly like her Rule of Three - the idea that serving three items turns a snack into a meal.
The Kindle version of the book features an interactive Table of Contents listing every recipe. (View the list from the Look Inside feature at the top of the page.) Main dishes center around casseroles and soups, with a few stir fries and crock pot specialties for good measure. Salads & Vegetables are often inventive. I really liked the idea for Salad in a Bag and the Oven Baked Fries Karen suggests as a way to use up baking potatoes that are still edible but bit past their prime. The Broccoli Salad sounds luscious. I could see my own children eating that without the first quibble. (I can't wait to taste it - just as soon as I cut the recipe into two servings.)
The easiest way that I know of to cut your grocery bill dramatically is to bake your own bread. It tastes better, isn't loaded with preservatives like the stuff you buy in the store, and costs a mere fraction of the price. Karen gives a wealth of easy recipes for both quick and yeast raised breads.
Teens, of course, seem to not think that they've eaten unless they've had something sweet. Karen includes numerous recipes for easy-to-make cakes, cookies (mostly bar cookies), brownies and more. You'll find the recipe for the famous Texas Sheet Cake, large batch Brownies and some Coconut Lime Squares that sound luscious and of course, much more. (Luckily, I don't bake for 1 or 2!)
I do have one (well, two) very minor quibbles. Karen's recipe for homemade Enchilada Sauce is mostly tomato sauce. Real Enchilada Sauce is mostly chile. Similarly, Karen adds canned tomato sauce to her Salsa Fresca, which makes it Salsa (probably excellent) but not Fresca. Fresca means "fresh" - real Salsa Fresca has nothing canned in it at all.
Grandma's $0.02 - Two thumbs up, super job and a Must-Have for every large family!
Several of the recipes take some time (refrigerated yeast rolls, several soups), but not a lot of complicated, "hands-on" time. I plan to use several of these recipes. My 10-year-old daughter was excited about Ms. Gowen's cookbook and immediately selected the orange spice cake to make. The cake (which also calls for carrots) turned out amazing. She had a little trouble with the frosting. Instructions may assume one has a basic knowledge of cooking. (I've grown spoiled with the step-by-step approach of Pioneer Woman and similar. However, this book really doesn't call for any complicated techniques, either.) That's my only minor issue with this book. Some mouth-watering photos would be nice, too.
Being raised near a farm I thought this would bring back a lot of memories of the food we grew up on-fresh grown.
Rule of three makes sense to the way we eat now. Love the added suggestions on what other foods could be placed on the menu.
Found the main meals/casseroles to use a lot of meat-something we have maybe once a week now but gave me ideas on combining a few recipes together for a meal.
Love getting back to basics with dry beans. Loved muffins the best and refrigerated dough that can be used for cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls.
Lacking are the pictures of food made but otherwise a good resource for old time cooking.