Friday, December 27, 2013

Review Me Twice: The Neelys Celebration Cookbooks

I don't have TV, so I haven't watched the Food Network in several years, but when I did watch TV, I quite enjoyed it... most of the time.

See, Food Network shows have this habit of being really... over-the-top perky. Just look at Rachel Ray. Calm down, woman. It's just dinner. It's worse when you have two hosts, because they feed off of each other's behavior. As I recall, the Neelys do this.  But they are one of the most saccharine TV couples you'll ever watch do anything, ever.

The perkiness and the cuteness both shine through in this book... so if you don't like that, skip all the commentary parts (explaining where some recipes came from, what situations they would use these for, stories about holidays, etc.) and get straight to the recipes.

This is a from-scratch cookbook. I don't recall seeing any prepackaged ingredients (I'm looking at you, Sandra Lee).

The Neelys are southerners, so this is good old "down home" (ha! that's their show! "Down Home with the Neelys"!) country cooking. But not to the point that - I think - it alienates non-southerners. (I wouldn't know; this is the kind of food my family makes, because they're from NC.) You've got collards, devils on horseback, mustard slaw, corn bread sticks... but a bunch of not-south-exclusive stuff too. YUM. Yum to everything.

I'm with Alex on the YUM factor.  There was a TON in this book that just sounded delicious and the things that I cooked from it were also delicious.  That's right, I COOKED just for those of you on this blog.

And Alex is right.  There's nothing in this that's prepackaged, which is both nice and kind of annoying at the same time.  Yes, I can make your spice rub really easily, but making their BBQ sauce AND their pork BBQ just for one recipe?  That's a little obnoxious.  So I switched out some ingredients to make the recipe easier for me, and it worked out just fine.

The things I made (potato salad, bacon wrapped shrimp) were both DELICIOUS.  A little time consuming, but really yummy.  This book makes some great things, but personally, I don't think it's a very good beginners cookbook.

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