Book Review: Apple Cookbooks, Part I

October 22, 2010

I checked out from the library a few apple cook books in which I looked over. I will present three books this week, and three books next week.

A is for Apple

The subtitle on this book, written by Greg Patent and Dorothy Hinshaw Patent in 1999, reads “More than 200 Recipes for Eating, Munching, and Cooking with America’s Favorite Fruit.” The first chapter, “Introduction: Our Favorite Fruit” covers a lot of topics, including some history, nutrition, general advice for selecting apples based on eating, juice, sauces, pies, baking, and more, how to buy and store apples, working with apples, apple sizes in recipes, various apple sauces, juice vs cider, and other apple brews. The book has pepper though out it antidote pages, talking about various apple varities, Johnny Appleseed, “As American as Apple Pie,” waxing an apple, the difference between a pie and a tort, and many more. The chapters are divided into pies and tarts, desserts, cakes, cookies, breads, soups and salads, seafood and game, poultry, “beef, pork, and lamb,” side dishes, and “Apple Thises ‘n’ That’s.” The last chapter of the book actually talks about growing your own apples.

The formatting makes it a little hard to read and follow recipes, but I like the recipes that I see in it. Apple rice pudding, apple hot cross buns, smoked turkey and apple salad, salmon in hard cider cream sauce, chicken breasts stuffed with apple and goat cheese, apple and potato gratin, and many more. The antidotes make it fun to read, though I wouldn’t really use the last chapter on growing apples, as it a clunky section and I would use an actual apple orcharding book instead.


The Apple Cookbook

I obtained from the library a 1984 copy of The Apple Cookbook written by Owen Woodier, but there appears to be an update in 2001. It opens with a chapter on apple facts, which contains some history, nutrition, descriptions of 26 popular apples including a table on when they are available and if they are good for eating, salad, sauce, baking, pies, or freezing, and then concludes with a section on how to store apples.  The next chapter is “Cooking with Apples” before moving on to recipes. The recipes are organized into apple beverages, appetizers and snacks, apple salads, apple side dishes, apples for dinner, apples for breakfast, quick breads and muffins, apples for dessert, and preserving the harvest, which has info on canning but a lot of recipes for apple jams. The appendix contains a short blurb on hosting an apple, cheese, and wine party and also information on hardy antique apple varieties.

The layout of the recipes is very easy to read, and the recipes themselves are good country food that is easy to create. That doesn’t mean it is stock standard stuff – apple eggnog, prosciutto apple wedges, apple ratatouille, apple kabobs, black bean soup made with granny smith apples, apple meatloaf, sausage and apple omelet, apple blackberry crisp, and much more. I think one of the reasons I’m attracted to this book is that it only talks about apples in relationship to the kitchen, and leaves other topics, such as growing apples, to other books that would do a better job discussing it.


An Apple Harvest: Recipes and Orchard Lore

The copy of An Apple Harvest: Recipes and Orchard Lore I looked at was published in 1999, though it seems to have been republished in January 2010. Written by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva and full of photographs, the introduction talks about apples in society, Browning’s orchard, some different apple varieties in casual conversation before moving on to some apple history, choosing apples based on use, need, and location, storing apples, peeling apples, cider and its shifting meaning in the United States, cider vinegar, and even calvados and applejack. The next chapter is 26 different apple pictures with a brief culinary description. The recipe sections are broken into first course, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts and beverages. Each section has its own index, giving the book about 65 dishes total.

While this book was published in Berkley, California and even talks about cider in America, this book has a very European feel when it comes to the recipes. They are not exactly recipes one just throws together, and they sometimes require unique ingredients. In fact, the very first recipe is Duck Breast and Fuji Apples on Watercrest, and there are other recipes that call for monkfish liver, goose, rabbit, crayfish, calf’s liver, and herring. Some of the recipes do seem very American, but I would not recommend this book for the average cook, but instead for someone with a passion for the culinary arts and willing take the time required in finding ingredients and cooking.


One Response to “Book Review: Apple Cookbooks, Part I”

  1. […] the appendix of The Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier, there is a section titled “Have an Apple, Cheese, and Wine Party.” It caught my attention as a […]

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