I love trying new things! Combine that with food, baking, and books and I’m hooked! This week I’m delving into new territory, reviewing a cookbook! I am a big NCIS fan and I have to admit, that’s what drew me to this particular cookbook; Abby. Thankfully, Donna Bell's Bake Shop didn't disappointed. Before I review, just a preface. I am NOT a chef/baker by trade. I enjoyed the stories and recipes, but I will be mostly focusing on the “book” aspects of the review and less on the food. Enjoy! [goodreads review]
A cookbook filled with familial warm that pours from the pages!
#Cookbook #autobiographical #celebrity
The stories are delightful and heartwarming. Pauley, Darren, and Matthew have a friendly banter with one another and their families are obviously close. The personal segments were mixed in with the recipes well, and the food even followed the narration. Family pictures were also throughout and gave the whole book a family album feel that felt, at its core, Southern. A few of the stories could have been a bit less tied together when two or more of them discussed the same story right after the other. While the multiple views was interesting, I’d rather have had another story about Donna Bell or their families.
As the second largest portion of the book, and arguably the most important, the recipes were numerous. Their organization within the book was based on the narrative and going back to search for a specific one I wanted to try, that made it more difficult. There were only fifty or so recipes, so overall, not a huge deal. The ingredient lists were clear and easy to read and the pictures of the foods were greatly appreciated! I love seeing a benchmark of how fluffy a whipped cream should be or how much sauce to drizzle. My one negative would be the block of text that is the direction section. Having to find my place after every time I looked away from the book to mix or add something was tiring and frustrating.
I have tried two of the recipes and have had varied results. My husband oversaw my measurements and procedures to ensure I made as few errors as possible. (I made none). My favorite was the White Chocolate Cranberry Rice Crispy Treats. As a basic treat, they were easy to make with a little southern flair that everyone I gave them to loved. The second recipe I used was the vanilla sauce that gets drizzled over the treats. This one I was not a fan of. The balance felt off and while everyone loved the treats as a whole, two people commented that id didn’t add to or enhance the treat enough to be worth having.