Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book Review: What Can I Bring?

Author: Elizabeth Heiskell
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Oxmoor House

Become one of the most sought-after guests in your circle and be asked back time-after-time with a little bit of help from Elizabeth Heiskell.

It is usually the first question you ask after receiving an invitation to a gathering or event: "What Can I Bring?" Now you'll have the answer! Based on the popular monthly feature "What Can I Bring?" in Southern Living magazine, no matter what the occasion, you'll have the perfect dish. From housewarming party to garden party, a new baby, a wake, a wedding, christening or anything in between, Elizabeth delivers over 100 delicious recipes, including appetizers, mains, sandwiches, desserts and more, that are sure to please a crowd, no matter how big or small. Additionally, these are all dishes that can be prepared in advance and travel well.

But let's not forget the most important question: What can I bring to my own table? Whether you're looking for some new ideas for dinners to please a fractious family or want to make Sunday brunch a more special event, What Can I Bring? has you covered.

Recipes include Elizabeth's take on Sour Cream Coffee Cake (perfect for welcoming a new neighbor!), delicious salads - Chicken, Shrimp, and Pimiento (you won't go wrong at the church picnic), amazing sides, including Lemon Rice and Spoon Bread (perfect for rounding out the potluck table), and comfort food that no one will be able to say no to, including Vegetable Beef Stew, Chicken Pot Pie, and Chicken and Dumplings, plus an array of desserts so good that that's the only thing people will remember about the meal.

Above all, these are all delicious dishes, served straight from the heart, with no stress required.

When a friend invites you to a party, it’s an ingrained response to ask, “What can I bring?” and most times the response will be, “I have it all taken care of.” That doesn’t mean don’t bring anything. It just shouldn’t be something the host feels compelled to serve that evening. These recipes can be set aside or set out, depending on the host’s preference. Either way, you’ll impress.

“I like to died the first time I put these fried deliciousness in my mother.”

Yes, I know, I know. This recipe uses instant pudding and a box cake mix. Don’t judge me. Sometimes I’m in a hurry and need something quick and easy. This is a cake you can take to a friend who’s going through a hard time or the one that you forgot was going through a hard time months ago. Always better late than never! And no one will know it wasn’t made from scratch.

This book was so beautiful and filled with such rich and inviting images that I often forgot that what I was reading was actually a cookbook. The cookbook definitely has a southern theme and all of the food is your typical southern fare but with a little added flair – Sausage, Eggs, and Grits SoufflĂ©, Pound Cake with Fresh Peaches & Cream, and Mississippi Mud Brownies...just to name a few. A lot of the recipes that are shared in this book are a bit healthier than us true southerners are used to. The book features tons of appealing images to enhance the recipes and to show what a finished/fully prepared and dressed plate could look like. This book would be the perfect gift or edition to someone’s home that loves to cook, entertain, or enjoys reading cookbooks.

The absolute best part of this book was the small anecdotes that accompanied each recipe. The author put a lot of time into writing and sharing her experiences with each recipe and much care went into grouping the recipes into different sections of the book like “Moving Day”, “Under the Weather”, and “Dinner with Friends”. There are several different sections in the cookbook and a small write up introduces each section and gives a slight explanation of what readers can expect to see next. This cookbook is not gluten free or fat free; I felt like I need to make this clear even though most people associate southern cooking with lots of salt, sugar, and saturated fats! The 3 S’s! This book will be a perfect gift for the upcoming holiday season.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Oxmoor House in exchange for my honest review***

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