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The Muffin Lady strikes again! "Sharing Mountain Recipes" is Randi Lee Levin's second cookbook. Her first cookbook "Baking at High Altitude; The Muffin Lady's Old Fashioned Recipes" won the Colorado Independent Publishers Association award, the Best First Cookbook in English, USA and then the Best First Cookbook in the World 2004 award. Her latest book completely lives up to the quality of the first cookbook.
As a person who is dating an Italian chef, has several subscriptions to cooking magazines and owns over 100 cookbooks that have been read from cover to cover, I found "Sharing Mountain Recipes" to be one of the best and most comprehensive cookbooks I have ever read. The Muffin Lady incorporates sound advice on cooking techniques at all altitudes, wonderful recipes and puts a lot of love into her work. You will feel like you are sitting in her kitchen trying out recipes with her when you read this.
The book starts off with the statement "There is one extraordinary ingredient that goes into everything that I cook and bake. Please do not forget this ingredient, for it is imperative to all recipes. Whenever I am cooking or baking, I add extra spoonfuls of Love to all of my recipes. Love added to all things good, makes them just a little bit better." Almost all of the recipes have stories about where they came from and how other people responded to them.
This cookbook is for all level of cooks. Levin has basic recipes for starter cooks and breaks down even her most complex recipes so that even the most novice cook will be able to create these wonderful recipes. I was also impressed with the fact that she is conscious about different dietary needs. She usually has several variations of each recipe, the original in all its fattening glory, the heart healthy version and the diabetes friendly version. As the Executive Director of the Diabetes Foundation of Rhode Island I would not hesitate to recommend this book to families that are adjusting to a diabetes friendly menu (if they promised to use the healthy recipe variations!).
"Sharing Mountain Recipes" is broken down into several sections including comfort foods, breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course, dessert. The Ultimate Comfort Food section is full of favorite mac n' cheese, mashed potato and chocolate recipes. Oh yes....I can feel my diet going right out the window with these beauties. Each section is filled with recipes from Levin's treasure trove that she inherited from her grandmothers, friends recipes and her own creations.
This book will make a great gift for the Holidays, engagement parties and showers. It would also make a wonderful host gift when I am going to someone else's home for dinner. Well, onto my biggest dilemma for this weekend, am I going to make Aunt Lil's Matzo Ball Soup or Doe's Beef Stew from "Sharing Mountain Recipes"? What would the Muffin Lady advise? Hmmmm.... she would probably give me a taste of something delectable in her kitchen and tell me to do both because there is always next weekend too!
Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (Amazon.com)
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