My Mom has loved slow cooker and crock pot meals for as long as I can remember. The convenience of being able to mix some ingredients together in a slow cooker shortly after breakfast, and go about her day, knowing that it would be ready by dinner time was invaluable. Even as my brothers and I are growing older, we still use crockpot meals on busy days. So when I saw this book I was greatly excited to order it and show it to my Mom, eager to find a few new go-to recipes.
When The Great American Slow Cooker Book arrived in the mail, I was surprised by how thick and heavy the book was! It was packed full of recipes, tips, and instructions. I immediately sat down and began flipping through the pages, reading through the recipe titles. I immediately discovered both pros and cons to using this cookbook.
Let’s begin with some of the positive aspects. Overall, I would say that this cookbook has an excellent format! Each recipe is complete with the ingredient proportions for three different size batches, and which size slow cooker to use for each. Also, throughout the pages, the authors insert tips and tricks of how to enhance and better use the recipes, as well as explanations of some more uncommon ingredients, why they work well in the recipe, and occasionally offer up some suggested substitutes. These, and other, attributes of this cookbook make it convenient, as well as easy to use and understand.
However, as convenient and easy to use as the cookbook was formatted, there were a some major cons as well. As I read through many of the recipes, I grimaced. A large majority of the dishes they include are honestly, just strange. I read through the 500 recipes included, and found less than 30 that I would actually consider preparing. And I don’t say this to exaggerate. I honestly don’t believe that my family would eat the foods that were offered up, and would honestly say that families with younger kids or picky eaters would struggle with these recipes as well. Similarly, the ingredients could at times become quite… interesting. I came across several I had never before heard of, and while they occasionally offered up substitutes, at times, I found the substitutes were just as perplexing.
Not, all the recipes were bizarre, however. I did find a handful of recipes that I would consider trying, and decided to do just that. So for our dinner one night, the main course, and the dessert were selections from The Great American Slow Cooker Book. I found that the recipes I had chosen, chicken and dumplings, and chocolate cake, were simple enough to prepare. The instructions were easy to understand, and not overly time- consuming. I eagerly waited for dinner, to try the dishes that were in the slow cooker. I was a bit disappointed in the results. I wouldn’t describe the meal as bad, or nasty. But I would say that it was on the bland side. The courses lacked flavor. However, the authors do recommend preparing dishes as instructed once, and then the second time tweaking and adjusting to fit personal preferences. As written, however, I did not find the taste impressive.
Overall, I would say that although the cookbook was excellently written and easy to use, I would be hesitant to recommend it, especially to families with youngsters or picky eaters. If, however, you enjoy a plethora of uncommon dishes, and are willing to take the time to adjust and experiment with recipes, this may be a something for you to consider.
I received tis book free from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.