Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In Wanda Brunstetter’s book, Amish Cooking Class Cookbook, the reader is promised 200 practical recipes for use in any kitchen. Brunstetter is known for her series of novels about an Amish cooking class. This companion book offers a bit of information on Amish living if you’re a female and gives you recipes that appear to be a mix of recipes from her novel series along with others that were submitted by actual Amish families. Before receiving this book, I did not know who Brunstetter was, so if you’re like me and have never read her novels, you’ll still be able to follow this cookbook just fine.
That said, if you haven’t read her novels you are about to be inundated with character references, which will mean little to nothing to you. You’ll be greeted with just about everyone that has taken the cooking class (in the novel series), along with their occupation, personal interests, and favorite foods. None of this means anything if you’re not a diehard fan, but it’s there…love it or leave it.
When you finally get to the food, things get a slow start. It is explained to the reader that life in an Amish household is not one of convenience. Hard work is necessary and everything is made from scratch. At this point, if you’re not an avid cook or foodie, I’m assuming that you wouldn’t be reaching for a book like this. Still, we’re taught to boil eggs and whip cream. It’s worth pointing out that if you’re not in the know about whipping cream, you might want to start with a Cooking 101 kind of book. Between recipes, you hear the drumming of “the Amish live a simpler, more fulfilling life” song. Moments later, we are given recipes that feature Kool-Aid, which seems slightly, non-Amish.
If you’re in it for the recipes, like I was, you’re probably not going to find a whole lot that you’ll add to your repertoire as home cook. For example, I quickly ignored the breakfast casseroles that had both meat and Corn Flakes in it. Likewise, while I’m usually a fan of dessert, I struggled to imagine an Amish woman whipping out a box of any cake mix. I’m not judging, but as this is an Amish cookbook, I feel like the experience is lacking.
All in all, it’s evident that Brunstetter created this book as a companion and perhaps even a marketing tool for her main novel series. Unfortunately, if this is what awaits us in the novels, her characters can keep the food to themselves.
Is Amish Cooking Class Cookbook Recommended?
Food, like most things, can be a rather subjective topic. I personally think that you’d be better off finding another book on Amish cooking, if that is your interest. I don’t feel like I came away with any sort of breadth of knowledge on the topic. Instead, I learned about what Brunstetter’s characters like to eat, why they took Heidi’s cooking class, and developed questions about why the Amish work hard all day, don’t have electricity and yet would still use boxed cake mix and Kool-Aid.