Tennessee is renowned for many things, most notably it’s music, scenic beauty, walking horses and Jack Daniel’s Whiskey. -foreward
More than just a cookbook, more than just a history, more than just a memoir, Jack Daniel’s Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook, Volume 1, embraces all of those genres and goes beyond them to create a book that is charming, informative, entertaining and functional. I received this cookbook in the mail five days ago and have already prepared several of the recipes. So far the Grilled Lemon Chicken (p. 120) has been our favorite, but right now the Black Label Sirloin Roast (p.107) is in the oven and it’s smelling pretty darn good!
The Macaroni & Cheese Puff soufflé (p.111) didn’t puff. In fact, it sunk. The flavor was great and Amoeba said he would love to see it again for dinner, providing I follow the directions next time. The thing is, following the directions is dependent upon understanding them. I didn’t. “Light bread crumbs” means the bread needs to be freshly crumbled and not toasted. The dried bread crumbs were too heavy for the soufflé.
This is not a cookbook for beginners or lazy cooks. Each recipe takes time to prepare. Many of the directions are implied. Steps are skipped. These are recipes shared by real cooks who have been making these dishes for years, perhaps even generations, and what seems automatic to them is not necessarily so to someone meeting the recipe for the first time.
Another drawback, in my opinion is the organization of the Index. There is a section marked “Chicken”, but not all of the chicken recipes are in it. I find the same to be true of the other categories. One has to pretty much remember the name of the recipe if one wishes to revisit it. I found it easier to put sticky notes on my favorite pages.
Not all of the recipes in the book require Jack Daniel’s Whiskey. A few ask for other alcoholic spirits. Most of them require no alcohol at all.
One of my favorite features of the book were the historic vignettes and captivating photographs. Never before have I sat down and read a cookbook for the story and the history within. I have a half-dozen more pages marked for recipes to try. I am especially looking forward to making the Party Pecans (p. 32).
So, in summation, I have had the book for less than a week. I have recreated six of the recipes. Amoeba liked them all and specifically asked that I remember a couple. The book already has food stained pages, is full of sticky notes and other scribbles, and has become my all time favorite cookbook to date.
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I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free copy of this book to review.