It is different than I expected. There are so many things I want to say about it, but that will have to wait until later when I have time to think through it. Simply in Season has been probably my favorite cookbook for the last 2+ years. The recipes encourage me to use what is in season; they're naturally low-fat; they're easy to make; and they use ingredients that you're likely to have around the house. That cookbook is one filled with recipes you can make any night of the week. I wouldn't say the recipes are super-duper little kid friendly, but they're better than many cookbooks. I would say, though, that the recipes are fine for elementary school age kids and up (including adventurous younger kids). Since I've had that cookbook, I've loved reading the anecdotes and stories inside--they're encouraging to me. There's even a page on how to encourage kids to eat healthy!
When I heard about Dishing Up Maryland by Lucie Snodgrass, this is what I expected: A few recipes, a few pictures, and a list of where you can find things in Maryland (including a map and contact information), possibly even a list of farmer's markets or websites that will direct you to them. I also expected the author to talk about CSAs and possibly even list some of them or include a website.
What I expected is not what this cookbook is---BUT that's okay. I still love it! This cookbook is a treasure whether you live in Maryland or in the surrounding areas, or you once lived in Maryland (it will evoke nostalgic feelings in your heart), or you live somewhere else and you are a firm believer in local agriculture and are encouraged to hear the stories of small farmers and cooks who believe in the same things.
So, what is in this cookbook?
+ A lot of wonderful pictures
+ Recipes that will make your mouth water
+ Recipes separated by season to make it easier to use the special fruits and vegetables that are available in Maryland at different times of the year.
+ Stories about cooks, inn keepers, farmers, and crabbers in Maryland
+ Interesting information about fruits and vegetables (I learned a lot about asparagus and soft-shelled crabs!)
+ An alphabetized list of some of the farms in Maryland. I assume that there are more. I know there are more that have CSAs locally in Harford County that weren't listed, so that leads me to assume that this is only a partial list.
The recipes are not ones that you will generally make any night of the week (though some of them are) if you have kids, like I do. But, they are recipes that you could make for special occasions and ones that will remind you how yummy good food is (and how it really is worth the work!).
Since I just received it yesterday and I already had meatballs and sauce going in the crockpot, I haven't been able to try anything from it yet. And sadly, today is Tuesday--which means Tacos in our house. So, I will have to wait until tomorrow to try something from this cookbook. But, I'll post again as soon as I have and let you know how it goes. A cookbook isn't really a good one, in my humble opinion, unless the recipes taste as good as they sound!
PS I haven't posted a lot of reviews of cookbooks on this blog, but I have requested cookbooks from Amazon when they come up on my review list. Most of the time, honestly, they've been quite disappointing. The last one I reviewed was even missing a direction on when to add one of the ingredients. That's the first time that's happened to me, though. Most of the time the cookbooks are badly formatted (they're difficult to read and follow). That is what makes this cookbook so wonderful to me! The formatting makes the recipes easy to follow and focus on.
PPS If you're curious about the author of this cookbook, she's a local Harford County native (she even helped start the Edgewood Farmer's Market where I go every week in the summer). Here is her website: http://lucielsnodgrass.net/
Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.