When I first heard from Quirk Books asking if I would be interested in receiving a review copy, I was immediately sold on the title. Come on, you know you're mind went right to your grandmother's kitchen and you got all nostalgic for a minute there. Then you noticed the fine print around the photo and couldn't help but smile. Well, turn the page and your smile will get even bigger.
It's a clever little book. The background on the cover looks like a needlepoint sampler you might find hanging in your Granny's kitchen, then you flip the page, and the cover's backing is a small floral print reminiscent of a vintage apron. You're all set to step back in time and read some old-fashioned stick-to-your-ribs no-nonsense recipes, of which there are plenty, but then you start to realize there's more going on here.
From the way the recipes are written, to the photographs of the "Little Old Ladies" in question, and the quoted pearls of "Kitchen Table Wisdom" scattered throughout, you are entertained at every turn. I do have to admit that when I first realized the author is neither a little old lady nor the creator of the recipes, and that the photos are of some of the ladies rather than of the recipes (I'm a stickler for being able to see what it is my recipe is supposed to turn out like), I was disappointed - for about a minute. Then I realized how much I enjoyed the book and immediately got over myself.
I found this book to be timely, in both content and attitude.Times are tough, and many people are being forced to scale back and to stretch their budget, including their food budget. Many of these recipes were originally created with that in mind. Chicken and Dumplings for instance - you get the benefit of the chicken flavor throughout the dish via the sauce, while being able to stretch your budget and still fill all the bellies at the table by including the dumplings. That's the practical side. The other side is the cheeky attitude. Heck, Little Old Lady Recipes sums it up nicely. Take a good look at some of the pictures, and you'll wish you could spend an afternoon with these ladies. You can see a twinkle in the eye here, and hearty laugh there. Makes you wish you could have tagged along with the author and photographer to see what other wisdom the ladies had to pass on.
It should have come as no surprise when I got to the end and read that the author, Meg Favreau, is actually a comedian. That's in addition to being an obvious food enthusiast, as evidenced by her once having won an eating contest that involved octopus (I'm afraid to look into that one further). Meg is also the Senior Editor of Wise Bread / Living Large on a Small Budget. Photographer Michael Reali did a great job in capturing the personalities of all the ladies. I just wish they had opted to photograph each of the ladies with their respective dish.
This book is the perfect size to slip into someone's Christmas stocking. It would also be great as a hostess gift, or for an office gift exchange. Be sure to pick up a copy at:
Available as an ebook
E-Book ISBN: 1594745188
Page Count: 160
Release Date: November 1, 2011
** I was provided an advance copy of the book for review by Quirk Books, but I have not otherwise been compensated for this post, and all opinions are strictly my own. **