Wouldn’t it be great to have a peek into recipe boxes across America to see the favourite recipes of home cooks just like us? Taste of Home has made it possible with their newly published ‘Best Loved Recipes’, a collection of recipes from home cooks, complied and tested by the Taste of Home test kitchens. ‘Best Loved Recipes’ brings together more than 1,400 of the most treasured recipes, each with its own story, gathered over 20 years.
While at BlogHer ’12, I was invited to the Reader’s Digest/Taste of Home Suite to interview Karen Berner, Food Editor of Taste of Home, about this new volume. Karen has a unique vantage point on what people are cooking at home for family and friends and is understandably enthusiastic about this new publication.
Karen explained, “We are celebrating our twentieth year next year so the timing could not have been better to pull together these recipes. By vetting recipes submitted at Taste of Home and on our Facebook page, we can find out which ones tug at the heart strings of families and home cooks.”
Karen went on to say that Taste of Home wanted ‘Best Loved Recipes’ to be totally accessible and include recipes that would, for the most part, contain items most people would already have in their pantries. They wanted to avoid making anything look fussy, so the styling of the book is, in Karen’s words, “casual, but I think, beautiful.” I have to agree. All the recipes include detailed ‘how to’ instructions “to make it easier whether you are a newbie cook or you have been cooking for years”.
Although Karen has an extensive background in food and wine publishing for both print and digital media, she actually got her start in the food world as a Private Chef, and later as a Sous Chef at a New England restaurant. I asked her whether this experience had informed the compilation of Best Loved Recipes.
“It does in the sense that I’m always thinking of foods as they relate to a menu; I want to put together the best menu I can, bearing in mind what food goes with what, seasonality and even wine pairings.”
This is particularly evident in the ‘Mealtime Express’ and ‘Mom Made It Best’ chapters, where recipes are arranged in menus to make meal planning easy. Other chapters include everything from Breakfast & Brunch to Potluck Picks, as well as a special section for Celebrations & Holidays.
Finally, I asked Karen to tell me her favourite recipe from the book.
“For me there’s a Cranberry Orange Cake. Our readers love sweets and desserts. I don’t remember the particular story behind it, but I just remember that there was a very heart warming ambiance to the cake.”
I decided this cake would be the first recipe I would make from Taste of Home, and I really can see why Karen likes it. Rich and moist, this cake improves with age and is terrific for just about any occasion. To see how it turned out in my kitchen, please click here.
An excellent collection of delicious recipes and menus, ‘Best Loved Recipes’ would make a fabulous gift for anyone, whether they are a seasoned cook or just starting out. And if it isn’t too early to mention Christmas, I can’t help suggesting this as a gift for nearly everyone on your list!
The 21st Century Housewife has not been compensated for this post. I did receive a free copy of Taste of Home’s Best Loved Recipes.