Title: B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style
Author: Barbara Smith
Release Date: November 3, 2009
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I was excited when I received model Barbara Smith’s cookbook in the mail for review, though I was a bit hesitant. I’ve made recipes from a model’s cookbook before (Padma Lakshmi’s Easy Exotic) and to put it mildly, the recipes were not very good.
However, I shouldn’t have worried – Barbara Smith really knows her stuff! She clearly knows her way around the kitchen and is cognizant of what makes up great Southern food. I’ve been wanting to find a good new Southern cookbook, so I was eager to give this a try.
I tried a few recipes out of this book, and they were pretty good. I made 4 of her recipes before writing this review, and while they were all solid, only the Cajun Veal Stew was 5 star quality. The cornbread tasted too oily, unfortunately, and the sauce for the filet recipe was very tasty, but just too salty (despite the fact that I used low sodium chicken broth when the recipe didn’t specifically call for it).
There are a lot of recipes in this book, which is great, but my main problem with it is the sheer number of dishes with obscure ingredients. I’m not planning on cooking with quail eggs, turtle, or chicken livers, and I’m not sure it’s even possible to find frog legs or alligator meat within 100 miles of where I live. I only cook for two, so I focus on main dishes, rather than sides/appetizers/desserts, so having so many dishes with obscure ingredients was a bit of a disappointment for me. Still, there are plenty of other recipes to choose from.
I have to admit, though this is a solid cookbook, I’m not sure it’s going to be a staple in my kitchen. The one recipe I loved, the Cajun Veal Stew, took a lot of work. Still, the side dishes look incredible, so when I want to make cheese grits or sweet potato salad, I’ll definitely pull this one out!