I'm an Inaphile. I think you know that if you've been around here long enough. I absolutely love her cookbooks and her calm approach to home entertaining. I appreciate that she is honest about the fact that she had no formal training and learned to cook from Julia Child's cookbook. I in turn learned to cook from Ina. I also enjoy that she regularly shares cookbooks that she enjoys. A few years ago she made a list of her go-to cookbooks. You can bet I wrote that down and have been tracking them down ever since.
While I could just order them on Amazon, I actually love finding cookbooks in used book stores. I enjoy reading notes that people have made in them and seeing the dog-eared pages of favorite recipes.
I was at a used book store one day when I came across Sarah Leah Chase's Cold Weather Cooking. I recognized it as an Ina rec and purchased it. Outside of the Barefoot Canon it is now my favorite cookbook. Here's my review...
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About the Author: Sarah Leah Chase and Ina Garten have a lot in common, and it is evident in the style of dishes that they make. Chase hails from my native Massachusetts and owned a specialty food store, Que Sera Sarah before her debut in the cookbook world. She is probably best known for collaborating on The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. Chase wrote several cookbooks prior to Cold-Weather Cooking including the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook, which I also own. If you follow her on social media you can often find her running cooking demonstrations or sharing meals she has prepared.
The book: Cold-Weather Cooking. I have the 1990 edition, so that is what I'm reviewing. The book is published by Workman Publishing New York and illustrated by Gretchen Shields.
Why I Love It: Chase completely understands the ways in which the seasons impact our decisions in the kitchen. She knows that in the summer we are grilling, assembling, and staying out of the kitchen for the most part, yet she knows when the first frosty nights hit we want to start making soups and stews and seguing to hearty delicious meals to fill our nights.
Her recipes are approachable and much like Ina's, the end result looks like you spent a lot of time and effort when it was actually a fairly easy way to get from point A to point B but you still end up with something fabulous.
The book actually works chronologically. This isn't just a "winter" recipe book. She starts in late Summer when colder nights set in and takes you through fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and into early Spring when it is still chilly. There are so many recipes and everything from apps, to main courses, deserts, cocktails, soups, stews, and breads are included. She peppers quotes and stories throughout the book that allows you to connect with the recipes and understand their place in Chase's life.
I love that she provides menus throughout as well. The menus are made up of recipes from the book so you can see how you could put together a dinner party, meal for two, or so many other combinations from what's within its covers.
The Thanksgiving section is particularly helpful as she breaks it down into "savories" and "sweets" and gives you menu options. If you're a first timer, this would be the only book you would need.
On a more personal level I appreciate the book because I am from the same area of the country as Chase so the ingredients she uses are local and familiar to me. That being said, this is not a region specific cookbook, she recognizes cold-weather can be 60 degree nights, blizzards, or a little drizzle of rain depending on where you are and provides recipes accordingly.
I have made several recipes from the book and each has come out wonderfully. I think my favorite thing to do though, is pour a cup of coffee and simply read Sarah's anecdotes, stories, and tips.
Pumpkin, Prociutto, and Parmesan Lasagne
Roasted Pepper and Artichocke Puffs
Ruby Poached Pears
Slow-Cooked Beef Stew
My Favorite Recipes:
Mustard Creamed Onions: I have a confession, I dislike onions. So I did something here I never do, I didn't taste my final product. However, I've made this for several holidays now and crowd pleaser is an understatement. The bowl is almost licked clean and I am constantly asked for the recipe. I point them to this cookbook. So seriously, how could that not be a favorite?
Warm White Wine with Pear Brandy Flambe: This was a fun cocktail. I love mulled wine, but would never have thought of a white mulled wine. It's warm, delicious, and elegant.
Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts: This is such a go-to fall side for me. I never liked Brussels sprouts until this recipe. It's sweet, crunchy, and fresh all at once! This was also one of the first recipes I shared on Grace and Maura!
There are literally hundreds of other recipes, in fact the book is over 400 pages long. These recipes are approachable, soul warming, and exactly what you need to get through the winter.
If you asked me one cookbook that everyone should own, I would say this (sorry Joy of Cooking). You can get it on Amazon Chase's publisher's website is here, but it's out of stock there.
What's your all time favorite cookbook?