The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl

My first experience with one of Ree Drummond’s recipes came when I was surfing the internet for the ultimate apple dumpling recipe. My husband had stated that he’d never had an apple dumpling that he actually liked (and folks, this is rare. He is the easiest man to please cooking-wise.)

Because of the dearth of an adequate apple dumpling recipe, I made it my mission one day to find a recipe. I happened upon Ree Drummond’s site of The Pioneer Woman and was astounded at the blog I found there. The first thing I noticed was the gorgeous photograph of apple dumplings on a beautiful blue and white dish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. The photograph alone had my mouth watering.

But it was the way she talked about her mom and the recipes she wanted her mom to bring when she came for a visit that made me keep reading. This is one cookbook author who isn’t afraid to be authentic. One of the first recipes Ree recreated from her mother’s binder of recipes was the apple dumpling recipe. I’m an impatient person, so I just printed off the recipe, got the ingredients and went to work. My family felt they had died and gone to heaven (even if I didn’t serve them on such a beautiful plate as she did). I made eight batches of those dumplings before they finally allowed me to stop.

That’s when I returned to her blog and marveled at the detailed way she shares her recipes. Every step has a beautiful photograph. Her marvelous sense of humor pervades the writing. It took no time for me to be completely hooked, wondering if there was enough ink and paper in the whole world to copy every one of her recipes for my very own. I felt I had stumbled upon the greatest cookbook ever.

I guess William Morrow Cookbooks felt the same way because that is when I discovered that she had a cookbook coming out. They made good use of her step-by-step process complete with photographs in the cookbook. No complaints here about not enough photographs of important steps.

I bought one of the first copies. I was very anxious to find out if the cookbook was as good as her blog. I’m here to tell you that my only disappointment in the book is that it is far too short. Now don’t get me wrong…her cookbook is a standard-sized cookbook. I just know that there were a few of my favorites from her blog that didn’t make the cut. (Do I hear a sequel in her future? I hope so…)

I read a review of her cookbook by Publishers Weekly. They commented that her constant references to her husband, The Marlboro Man, made the book distracting and juvenile. I’m guessing that a man wrote that review. As for this woman, I was enchanted by her serialized story of her romance with a cowboy that took her from the sushi-eating vegetarian beaches of California to the heart of cattle country. The main story is on her blog. Anyone who has read that understands the references in the book. In fact, to me, that was a big part of the charm of her book.

If you’re just looking for a good cookbook without any of the down-home stories about life on a ranch, buy a Betty Crocker or Joy of Cooking cookbook.

If you’re looking for entertainment, combined with the most detailed recipes with step-by-step full color photographs that are sure to guarantee your success, check out The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl. It’s my new favorite cookbook, and I’ve given them as gifts to my favorite cooks.