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Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook

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Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook

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Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook
Recipes from America's Favorite Cooking Contest
New Edition with a Quick & Easy Main Meals Chapter
Random House Large Print, (2004)
ISBN: 0-375-43333-3
Genre: Cookbooks

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 4, 2004

I have to admit that I'm a cookbook fanatic. I don't just 'get the books' to make the recipes, but I also enjoy simply reading cookbooks and imagining the infinite variety of culinary possibilities out there. My favorites include the Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbooks, because they contain recipes created by 'real people' versus haute cuisine chefs. In other words, these are recipes that can be recreated in the typical home, with ingredients that are commonly found in the average kitchen. My first Pillsbury cookbook was the Pillsubry's Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the Bake-Off Collection that was published in 1959 and which presented recipes from the first ten Pillsbury Bake-Off contests. (The first Pillsbury Bake-Off was held in 1949.) Each edition since then has just gotten better, and better!

The newest edition to the Best of the Bake-Off collection of cookbooks is the Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook: Recipes from America's Favorite Cooking Contest. This is a marvelously illustrated and well laid-out cookbook that is, best of all, printed in Large Print! This new cookbook contains 400 mouth-watering recipes, including all the grand-prize winning recipes from 1949-2002.

This cookbook includes an introduction that offers an historic overview of the Pillsbury Bake-Off competitions. It also includes several helpful guides, such as Equivalent Measures and Weights and a list of Emergency Substitutions that you can use should you happen to be out of a need ingredient. The recipes themselves are organized into 10 thematic chapters: Each recipe is annotated with the name of its creator, the city and state that they are from, the Bake-Off contest in which their recipe competed, the year of the contest, and a list of any prizes that they won. Each recipe also includes a concise statement about the given recipe. For example, for the Streusel Spice Cake recipe (Pg. 407), it says:
Streusel is a German word for "sprinkle" or "strew." This spicy streusel filling is combined with chocolate for an extra-special cake.
When appropriate, recipes include high altitude instructions, as well as helpful tips. All the recipes include basic nutritional information, such as calories, proteins, carbohydrates, fat, and sodium per serving.

The recipes are intuitively organized. Ingredients are listed in the order in which they are used, and the instructions are clear and unambiguous - making them easy to follow. Throughout, the book is illustrated with pictures of the 'finished' products. Additionally, this cookbook is enhanced by the inclusion of informational side bars about the contest and various Bake-Off contestants, such as one about Gilbert Souey, one of the many 'male' contestants. A firefighter, Souey was a the 1992 prize winner for his Bean Picadillo Tortillas.

Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook: Recipes from America's Favorite Cooking Contest is an outstanding cookbook. Even if you don't cook, it will serve your well as a coffee table book. I must warn you however, after looking at the gorgeous pictures contained within, even the most reluctant cook will be tempted to try these easy to follow recipes. This cookbook is suitable for both novices and veteran cooks. No matter what your taste, you will undoubtably find a plethora of recipes to suit your skill level and taste-buds.

I'll leave you with the names of just a few of my favorite recipes from this cookbook. I hope you enjoy making, and eating them, as much as I did...

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