I was looking forward to receiving The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl cookbook by Ree Drummond. Yes, I knew ahead of time that the recipes were going to be full of butter and I would probably need to adjust a lot of them, but I just had to see what the book was about. Although I am not one of Ree’s regular followers, I do occasionally visit The Pioneer Woman web site.
At first glance, the book seems very cluttered. Lots of filler photos, clipart, and stories. But once I started reading through it (and I did read it from cover to cover), I found it to be charming. But as a cookbook, the excess is distracting. It’s more of a self-portrait of her personal life, and the recipes are secondary. I enjoyed reading The Pioneer Woman Cooks once, but truthfully I would rather just go to the online blog to view her recipes.
But the recipes are simple and easy to make, without a lot of ingredients to fuss over. It could possibly be a good choice for a beginner, but I found the design of the book wasn’t very user friendly. The food photos next to each step are gorgeous, but are too small for the reader to comprehend. It’s unfortunate because the photos work very well on the web site, but they are larger and easier to view. It just doesn’t translate to the printed page very well.
One more nitpick, most people naturally read left to right, but the steps are listed top to bottom in three columns. I found myself getting lost in the recipes. I would have preferred the photos/steps be listed left to right for a more natural read.
So bottom line, The Pioneer Woman Cooks offers lots of good old fashioned dishes without a lot of ingredients, but it’s more of a personal testament to Ree Drummand and life in the country, not necessarily an easy to follow cook book.
And yes, lots of butter and red meat. It’s not a health-conscious or dieter’s book by any means, but she expresses that very clearly on her blog. I would have looked past all the book’s shortcomings if I could have overlooked all of the fat, but in the end I couldn’t. So, I am donating it to my local Library. I know there is a fairly long waiting list for the book, so I hope it gives joy to other home cooks.
I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks; I like putting my own spin on a recipe rather than exactly following it. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.