Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: The Fresh Honey Cookbook by Laurey Masterton

These 84 recipes celebrate the luscious flavors of honey. Each of 12 chapters focuses on a month of the year and a specific honey varietal (such as tupelo, orange blossom, sourwood, or sage) and offers a complete seasonal menu showcasing that varietal.

In November, you might choose cranberry honey and serve a meal of Candy Roaster Squash Soup, Endive with Pomegranate Seeds and Shaved Parmesan, Turkey Roulade in Puffed Pastry with Cranberry Chutney, Baked Acorn Squash, Elsie's Cranberry Pie, and Hot Mulled Cider.

Or in April, you might choose avocado honey and serve Guacamole, Borscht with Creme Fraiche, Avocado and Mango Salad, Rack of Lamb with a Coffee and Honey Crust, Glazed Baby Carrots, Rhubarb Cream, and Southern Iced Tea.

The featured varietals are always optional; any kind of honey can be used.

Received for review.

I actually really wish I hadn't read the author's introduction. It left me with a sour taste in my mouth as to the author as a person and colored my experience with the actual cookbook part of the book. I mean, do you really need to be told to check on your bees lest they die? Common sense people! That said, I'll move on to the other 99% of the book.

The book itself was beautifully photographed and the format was lovely. It was educational for beginners with all sorts of bee and honey related tidbits sprinkled throughout. The recipes were a mix of savory and sweet, with a decided leaning towards the savory. I was actually expecting more of a sweet leaning, but alas, I was disappointed.

I did find a few recipes that I'd like to try:

Whole Roasted Chicken with Fresh Herbs
Glazed Baby Carrots (I usually do my glazed carrots with maple syrup - of course! - but it will be fun to try it with honey.)
Easy Tarte Tatin
Russian Tea

Overall the recipes had a more fussy, gourmet bent to them with a decided Southern feel. I was actually disappointed not to find more British inspired recipes. Or even some not from California or the South.

While this was a pretty standard and okay cookbook it wasn't spectacular. It didn't have much joy to it. There was just something missing. And, actually, most of the recipes were actually rater light on the honey (a tablespoon here or there) which was disappointing. There was no mention of honey cake or frosting made with honey, etc. There were a few drink recipes but, again, most were quite Southern and ultra sweet. There were no recipes that struck a happy medium.

This was okay to flip through and would be interesting to check out from the library but it really isn't something you'd like to own. I really can't recommend it.

☆☆☆ = Just Okay


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