May 2, 2013

"Bean by Bean" by Crescent Dragonwagon

Bean by Bean: A Cookbook: More Than 175 Recipes for Fresh Beans, Dried Beans, Cool Beans, Hot Beans, Savory Beans, Even Sweet Beans!My rating: 3 of 5 spoons

I am a Southern gal that grew up on beans. Pinto beans and cornbread were absolute staples in our house. We grew--and ate--all kinds of beans. Some I loved and some I would be happy to never see again. Beans are so healthy and such a great source of protein that I am incorporating more of them into my family’s diet after several years of not cooking them very often, so I was so excited to dive into this book. I must say, the cover is very deceiving. It portrays all kinds of dried beans, but the bean that seems to get the most attention from the author is actually green beans with nearly 30 recipes that use them. You only get 6 recipes each for Great Northern or Pinto beans, which was a disappointment as I love cooking with both of those and was hoping for recipes for new dishes.

I cannot wait to make several of the recipes including "All-Day Baked Beans" and "Red Bean Stew", but there really isn’t a huge amount of recipes I will use. Some of the recipes have a crazy amount of ingredients, or odd combinations that do not sound appetizing to me. Many recipes have ingredients that you will only be able to find online or in a large city or someplace like Whole Foods, so that could be a definite issue for some people. I was disappointed that, though she included two different recipes for cornbread, both contained sugar. I don't need a recipe for cornbread as I've been making it from scratch since I was 12, but not everyone knows how to make it, and not everyone likes sweet cornbread. I didn’t realize this was primarily a vegetarian based cookbook, so I wasn’t expecting quite so much tofu, either. That really cuts down on the number of recipes I’ll cook as we don’t eat tofu.

There is a “Bean Basics” section in the front of the book, and a very nice glossary “Basic Beanery” covering all the different types of beans and their origin & characteristics, soaking & cooking, availability, substitutes and usage which is nice. Each chapter begins with a little history of that type of cooking. Various notes and tips are scattered throughout the book, some of which try to convince you to switch to non-meat products such as tofu, seitan, etc. but manages to walk a fine line of not seeming judgmental to those of us who like and eat meat. I really appreciated that. This book may not be for everyone, but I think many people could find recipes in this book they would thoroughly enjoy.

I received a copy of this book from Workman Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments family friendly! :-)