“Cook’s Country Eats Local:
150 Regional Recipes You Should Be Making No Matter Where You Live” by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen, $26.95, America’s Test Kitchen, 310 pages, paperback
Whenever my daughter is coming home for a visit, I prepare by heading to Tony’s Seafood and the Red Stick Farmers Market to stock up on her favorite food — Louisiana shrimp.
During her Christmas stay, we tested an easy-to-make recipe for South Carolina Shrimp Burgers from “Cook’s Country Eats Local: 150 Regional Recipes You Should Be Making No Matter Where You Live” and agreed it’s one we’d make again.
In fact, “Cook’s Country Eats Local” offers plenty of interesting American regional home specialties we’d like to try, from Babka, the multilayered cinnamon bread from the Big Apple, and mini crab fritters known as Maryland Crab Fluff to St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake, which combines a sturdy coffee cake with sweet custard. And, of course, we’ll have to sample the cookbook’s other shrimp recipes, which include Louisiana’s étouffée, jambalaya and maque choux with shrimp.
The cookbook is the result of the Cook’s Country magazine team traveling the country looking for specialties little known outside their region, such as Minnesota’s Iron Range Porketta; New Mexico’s posole, or pork and hominy stew; and Bierocks, sweet buns filled with seasoned ground beef, onion and cabbage, popular in Nebraska and Kansas.
The book is divided into four regions — New England and the Mid-Atlantic, Appalachia and the South, The Midwest and Great Plains, and Texas and the West.
Besides the above-mentioned shrimp dishes, highlighted Louisiana dishes include New Orleans muffulettas, Bonne Femme, oyster po-boys, dirty rice and red beans and rice.
Illustrated with full-color photographs of completed dishes, the cookbook offers “Eating Local” sidebars and regional maps, plus plenty of cooking tips and replacements for hard-to-find ingredients. Best of all, its recipes are clearly written, easy to follow and result in great-tasting dishes.
Christopher Kimball, founder and editor of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country, writes in the introduction that the cookbook highlights recipes “tied to small towns and their history. This is the food of America’s past and future, the recipes that make us who we are today.”
Cheramie Sonnier is a food writer and columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter, @CheramieSonnier.