The recipes in the The Pioneer Woman Cooks look pretty good, but to me they're secondary to the rest of the book. The magic is in the photos (all taken by the author) and the stories behind them.
Ree Drummond was a city girl who fell in love with a cowboy and moved to his family ranch, where she now homeschools their four children and takes gorgeous photos of her family and friends. Her cookbook includes photo essays on the horses, the men who work the cattle, and the women who keep each other company out on the lonely plains. I like to think of Ree as living my alternate universe life--you know, the one I'd be living had my dear one been the type to major in Ag Sci in college instead of Art History? The cookbook, and her blog The Pioneer Woman, allow me to visit that alternate universe for a few minutes at a time, without having to get all muddy.
But, what about the recipes? They strike a balance in style, between Drummond's meat-and-potatoes husband and her oh-how-I-miss-sushi-takeout self, and they look delicious. She also generally cooks with a lot of butter and cream. As in, she probably uses more in one day than I use in a week. A week in which I baked a batch of cookies, even.
So, I'll have to adapt her recipes to my family's lifestyle, which doesn't involve roping cattle or building fences, much. I haven't gotten around to doing that yet (adapting the recipes, that is. Although the same could be said for building fences) but I loved the book regardless, for its personal touch and its straightforward portrayal of modern ranching life.
By Alison Jakel
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