In February of 2013 my husband and I closed on our house in central Arkansas. This move marked the first time in our marriage we would own a home with land, having up until this point been suburbanites who both grew up in or near big cities. Yet we embraced country living with vigor: adopting a farm dog, raising chicks, buying sheep and planting a garden — all in our first Spring. It was an amazing period of discovery for us and we reaped a bountiful harvest from our garden that year. In fact, we had more veggies (and eggs) than we knew what to do with. This is one reason Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Harvest Cookbook caught my eye and why I am reviewing it for you here today.
What struck me first about Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Harvest Cookbook was the practical wisdom and frugality of this cookbook. The book begins with helpful advice from Amish gardeners on how to protect your garden from pests and grow a larger yield. Later it concluded with around 50 pages of recipes for preserving the harvest. In between, you’ll find scores of fruit and vegetable recipes that make good use of your bounty.
Since the cookbook is a compilation of recipes from numerous Amish and Mennonite communities, the meals can easily be prepared by any home cook. Many items which are not found in your own garden are pantry staples. Although servings sizes are not annotated for most recipes, this can be easily approximated by the volume and number of ingredients. Additionally, we found the lay-flat spiral binding convenient as my children and I were testing recipes.
In our house we tend to select new recipes from cookbooks based on photographs, of which there is a significant amount. However all the food photos are stock photos, which came to my attention as the Easy Veggie Quiche had a crust in the photograph, but no crust in the recipe. Secondly, we raise chickens and therefore have a lot of farm fresh eggs — sadly the quiche recipe is the only breakfast recipe that contained our much loved ingredient. Finally, hamburger and Velveeta cheese make numerous appearances. If by chance you are a Velveeta cheese fan, there are 8 new recipes for you to try. The hamburger in the recipes could possibly be substituted for ground venison, turkey, or chicken. In the end, ground beef is the predominant protein (it’s even in both the Easy Veggie Quiche and Green Bean Casserole) and frankly we don’t eat a lot of it. While these three observations may not apply to your kitchen, for me the allure of Wanda E. Brunstetter’s Amish Friends Harvest Cookbook will remain the canning and organic gardening tips.
“I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.”