Here’s my verdict on Magnolia Table : A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines.
To Read: Yes, especially if you are a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines. At first, I found the stories of how she’s constantly cooking homemade meals for her family a little annoying, but I did enjoy when she shared more about her heritage and the genesis of some of the more unusual recipes in the book.
To Look At: Yes, even though the photos are on the hipsterish side (which is not my favorite trend in cookbooks, as I mentioned in my review of A New Turn in the South), they were beautiful and inspiring. There aren’t photos of every recipe, and I would prefer more photos of food than photos of their family farm. But that’s just me.
To Cook From: Maybe. So far, I’ve made two of the recipes and neither of them worked quite right if you strictly follow the directions. I plan on sharing the Party Queso recipe at some point, which was good, but I tweaked the recipe a little to make it work. I feel like the recipes might not be as exact as some of the best cookbooks I’ve used, and there is not much in here that is unusual, except for recipes for Korean bulgogi and middle-eastern meat pies.
Overall, this is a good home cooking cookbook, if not particularly original. Despite some stories of eating lots of homemade meals with ingredients straight from the farm, there are a fair amount of processed foods found in the ingredient lists for most of these recipes. This is definitely not on the healthyish side of the cookbooks I have reviewed. That being said, I do think you can get some inspiration for Sunday night dinners, weekend breakfasts, and rich desserts. If you love the Gaines family, you will probably love this book.
A couple of nitpicks: This book has very tight binding, which made it hard to keep open while cooking. I also did not think the index was very well done. I couldn’t find the Party Queso recipe in the index at all, and one Amazon review mentioned that there were recipes in the index that weren’t even in the book. Maybe this will be fixed in newer printings.
Hope everyone has a great weekend! See you next week for another cookbook that I think will be a crowd-pleaser.