Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Review: The Quilter's Kitchen

Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Title: The Quilter's Kitchen
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publish Date: Oct 7, 2008
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Anna Del Maso had known that she wanted to be a chef since she was in the seventh grade. "Somehow everything in my life ends up being about food," she realizes, as she begins the latest of her food-themed quilts. Her twin passions have converged in a brand-new position as head chef for Elm Creek Quilts, Waterford, Pennsylvania's popular quilting retreat.

As she joins the circle of quilters at historic Elm Creek Manor, Anna is eager to preserve the manor's culinary heritage, dating to 1858, while also celebrating the new favorites of their many guests. Yet as Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson well knows, the manor's kitchen, last updated in the 1940s, can't create food that compares to the state-of-the-art quilting instruction for which Elm Creek Quilts is renowned.

Review: I've read several books in Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts series. I read them because I love the stories Sylvia tells about the history of Elm Creek Manor.

This book, however is bogged down by recipes, too many recipes and not enough story.

That is something I find it hard to believe, when it comes to the rich details Ms. Chiaverini goes to, in describing some of the meals that Sylvia shared with her family. Food was very much a part of life at Elm Creek Manor, but the recipes don't seem to have much of a place in this book. Sure some of them are reminiscent of the dishes made by Sylvia's ancestors, but most seem to be part of what the new chef, Anna will be serving once the kitchen is remodeled.

That's the problem. The recipes she's going to make aren't really discussed, so the addition of these feels like filler for the end of each chapter. Plus these aren't the fun recipes that the average cook would make.

I loved the stories that accompany some of the findings Anna makes while she's cleaning out the kitchen. It really makes things flow. I particularly loved the tale's accompanying the New Year's meals and why those of German heritage ate pork and sauerkraut and those of Italian heritage ate lentil soup.

If there had been more stories and less recipes, this book would have been as good as the rest of the books in the series.

Rating: 3 flowers


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