A short while ago a package bearing cookbooks dropped into my life, courtesy of Nimbus Publishing. These cookbooks are shiny and new (unlike most of my own which I picked up in used bookstores), devoid of kid bite marks and smears of another night’s dinner. I immediately gravitated toward The Apple a Day Cookbook by Janet Reeves. Apples are a staple in our home, as they are in many Maritime homes, I imagine. The kids immediately squirrelled away in the end hall closet, scene of their many adventures, to have a look over this book.
Talking it over, we agreed to make a batch of the Apple-Carrot Muffins (p. 54), the Applesauce Meatballs (p 156) and Mark’s Baked Apples. There are so many more recipes I’m looking forward to, but I had to put a limit otherwise this review would never be written.
The Apple-Carrot Muffins were a hit. Boy and I made them shortly after lunch (a tip, use the Strudel recipe from the Apple Strudel muffins on page 53) and by dinner all but two were gone. The crumb was perfectly tender and the spices were perfect for these muffins. Too many directions and the kids lose interest, so I have an idea author Janet Reeves has experience cooking with children.
The Applesauce Meatballs. I don’t usually repeat recipes, particularly in a short span of time but I have made these meatballs twice within as many weeks. The applesauce adds a lovely sweetness and makes the meatballs downright juicy. Here’s the thing: I had to do some pretty serious modifications so that everyone would enjoy them. The recipe does not call for any herbs or spices beyond the basil in the sauce. Also, there is no sugar in in the sauce and under threat of doing it while my back was turned, Mr demanded sugar be added. I was reluctant to make any modifications as I wanted to stay true to the recipe (for the review process) but truth be told, the meatballs deserve the extra onion and garlic as well as the brown sugar in the sauce. My philosophy when it comes to cookbooks are that they are just a guide, the author doesn’t know how you like your food, you do. Behave accordingly.
I love baked apples, it’s one of the few desserts my mom when I was growing up (save for the awesome pie she makes). Mark’s Baked Apples piqued our interest. Peanut butter and apple slices are among the kids’ favourite afternoon snacks so these baked apples satisfied the whole lot of us.
Each recipe is written very clearly and it is obvious a lot of care has been put into making them very accessible, even to the novice cook. The brief history of the apple in the introduction is quite interesting; perhaps next time you dunk for apples at a Halloween party you’ll find your true love. My only quibble is that despite the gorgeous photo on the front, there are no photos in the book itself. This, in our image obsessed culture seems a little off. Also, as a parent who hands cookbooks to the kids to pick out dinner, pictures make things a lot easier.