Review: Big American Cookbook by Mario Batali

Big American Cookbook: 250 Favorite Recipes from Across the USA by Mario Batali
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
Pages: 512
Source: book provided by the publisher for review
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Over two years in the making, with Batali searching for truly delicious dishes from all corners of the US, this definitive cookbook features the best America has to offer. With over 250 simple recipes celebrating the treasures of the state fairs and the dishes of the local rotary clubs and ethnic groups. Batali has interpreted these regional gems with the same excitement and passion that he has approached traditional Italian food.

Covering the Northeast/New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, the Heartland, the Southwest, and the Pacific Coast, this book will share everything from the BBQ styles of Texas, the Smokeys and the Carolinas, to the seafood soups from yankee Boston to the spicy gumbos of the Gulf Coast and the berry pies of the Pacific Northwest.

All the dishes are very simple and do-able–from Philly Cheesesteaks to Marionberry cobbler. And while Batali uses recipes passed down through the generations, he also shares hints on what he would add to the recipe to take the flavor up a notch.This is THE American cookbook you will want to own.

 

Review:  I have watched and enjoyed Mario Batali on his cooking show “Molto Mario” over the years. Big American Cookbook is the first of his cookbooks that I have owned and read. I was excited to get it. I like learning about the foods from different regions and this cookbook is about regional cooking in America. It has 250 beautifully illustrated recipes that represent American’s cooking heritage in one big collection.

Mario’s introduction to each recipe was interesting; some are facts and some explain the history of the culinary creation. Main Dishes, Sides, Desserts, Drinks, Soups, and Appetizers are included among the recipes. I noticed several use fish. Most recipes have ingredients that are not hard to find. There are no fancy techniques involved in making the recipes either, they have easy to follow directions.

image1I made three recipes right away; Trenton Tomato Pie, Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, and Charleston Red Rice. Everyone enjoyed the Trenton Tomato Pie. I have actually made it twice because it is so good. I included pepperoni in my dish. I have my own version of Biscuits and Sausage Gravy but I wanted to try out Mario’s biscuits. They are so, so good and they don’t have the classic biscuit-y taste that my husband doesn’t care for. The sausage gravy called for 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper. It seemed like a lot for me and my family but I went for it and added all of it. It was edible but a little too much for us. I had never had red rice and I am always looking for side dishes so I made Charleston Red Rice. It is a keeper and will be in my side dish rotation now. There are several more recipes I have marked to try soon; like Swedish Pancakes and Fried Peach Pies.

I think this a great cookbook that can be enjoyed by both the new and the seasoned cook. If you read a lot of recipes or cookbooks you may find recipes that are familiar. You will also get a history lesson as you read through this cookbook. I would recommend checking out Mario Batali’s Big American Cookbook.

 

RTB tammy sig