I never thought I'd write a review of a cookery book. Ask any of my family--I'm not exactly an expert in the kitchen. Though, of course, they should take at least some of the blame. It's hard to produce expert meals when you have so many conflicting requirements. Over Christmas there was me (no gluten), spouse (likes the texture of "real"--i.e. wheat-based--cooking), mother (no fresh fruit, under-cooked veg or spice), son #1 (nothing boring), son #2 (vegetarian, no nuts), son #3 (meat and two veg), and dog (anything and everything). At least the dog was easy to please.
But Martha Cheves' cookbook, despite so many of the recipes including packets and mixes (mostly with gluten), or meat (not vegetarian), is the perfect book for me. In this modern world where so many of us are allergic to one thing or another, cooking is all too often a question of sticking to the hypo-allergenic diet cook-book, or changing better-known recipes to suit. Martha is a cook who espouses substitution, and her book is the perfect stepping stone between the exotic ingredients of specialist recipes and the world of do-it-yourself.
It's also the perfect book just to sit down and read for ideas and entertainment. I don't usually laugh while reading a cook book, but some of Martha's culinary tales will have me smiling every time I go shopping. (I shall never look at a turkey the same way again!)
And it's the perfect book for someone who's not quite sure how a cook book works. For me, being English, there are many unseen pitfalls in American cooking, from how you measure a cupful of sugar (we use weights), to what you use instead of greaseproof paper. Martha answers these questions and more in tips scattered throughout the book, again, rewarding reading from cover to cover.
After finishing this book, you won't just know where to look for a good recipe, but you'll have the confidence to change the recipe according to what's in your cupboard. Cooking becomes an exercise in creativity, instead of a lesson in how well-prepared you are. And I look forward to stirring Martha's ideas, laughing as I change them, and repeating with many variations for years to come.
Stir Laugh and Repeat by author Martha Cheves Reviewed by Fran Lewis Move over Paula Dean, Emeril, and Rachel Ray: Make way for the new Queen of Southern hospitality and cooking our very own Martha Cheves. From her home made pies to her delicious desserts Martha sends the reader into mouth-watering heaven as she describes in detail how each recipe was created and the stories behind them. As a total non-cook and someone who has trouble boiling water without burning … more
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
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Find out why her food testers celebrate these all-too-often occasions in Stir, Laugh, Repeat. Following her passion for cooking and in hot pursuit of just the right taste, Martha Cheves composed one hundred recipes for cooks of all ages that are sure to satiate appetites of any kind. Try her quick and easy bacon, egg, and cheese mini pies for breakfast; rabbit food sandwich for a healthy, take-to-the-office lunch; mustard pork chops for a zesty twist that still satisfies the meat and potato man; and whip up her renown banana puddin as a sweet end to a satisfying day. Sprinkled amongst timeless southern dishes are practical tips to help any beginner baker cook like a pro while learning from Marthas tales of kitchen woes. Feast on Stir, Laugh, Repeat today and let your experimental imagination sizzle with delight as you try your hand at Marthas suggested variations.