Potluck Survival Guide by Cherie Kimmons
Price: $18.96, regularly $24.95
I was really looking forward to getting a look at this cookbook. This is no ordinary cookbook; this book was written just for bringing dishes to feed a crowd. We have a small church and we eat together at least twice a month. This is not counting the get-togethers with other groups or with other families. Needless to say, I'm constantly looking for new things to bring.
The author, Cherie Kimmons, did a great job bringing this collection together. After years of bringing dishes to feed her kids' sports teams and other activities, she put together what is really MORE than a cookbook. She has guidelines for what to feed kids before a game and what to give them after, ideas for buffet meals (like a potato bar or waffle bar), a great chart for multiplying quantities of everything from meat and pasta to muffins for a crowd. She includes decorating ideas and even help if you are the one in charge of planning the entire menu for an event, not just bringing a dish or two. There are instructions on cooking up large quantities of the staples, such as boiling chicken or cooking pasta. She also has helpful hints on making dishes kid-pleasing. She emphasizes dishes that are relatively inexpensive and easy to make, though there is a lot of latitude in that. For instance her seafood dishes would obviously cost more, where as the macaroni and cheese would not.
The bulk of the book is spent on recipes. I was very pleasantly surprised that the recipes were not all casseroles. In fact, not all of them are main dishes. She has a great variety of side dishes (which is something I struggle with coming up with for a potluck), desserts, breakfast items, etc. One of my favorite features of the book is that nearly every recipe has notes on the side with ways to make variations of the dishes so that it can be made multiple ways. Some have alternate meat ideas, or different vegetable to add, a different sauce, etc.
Last week, I was able to make a couple of the dishes from the book for our church's potluck lunch, including one of the "Hall of Fame Recipes" which are select recipes from the book that are her never-fail-people-always-beg-me-for-the-recipe dishes. Both turned out very well. My husband particularly liked the Spicy Baked Beans.
The only downside to the book, and it is a small one, is that I wished it had more hints or directions on cooking for events when you can't cook it at home and then immediately serve it. For instance, at church, we make the dishes at home and then have to either keep them warm in a crockpot or in an oven. But we are all used to that, and it wasn't that hard to adjust the recipes I made for that.
I am looking forward to making more of the recipes in this book. I received this book free to review, but I would definitely have paid money for it if I had seen it in the store! If you cook a lot for groups, you really ought to look into it!
This is a Mama Buzz review. The product was provided by Five Star Publications for this review.