October 06, 2011

The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini

This book is worth buying just for the wonderful recipes it contains. Because of these recipes though, I do have to warn that reading this book won't take very long. The recipes are numerous and included within the story itself so the book is actually only about half as long as it looks. I'm not going to take the time to recap the rest of the books as there are twelve that come before and it would take a whole review just for that, but even so, this book could be read as a stand alone.

Sylvia, and the new cook Anna, are busing cleaning out the cupboard of Elm Creek Manor. Elm Creek Manor plays host to a quilter's retreat during the warmer months and now that they have a new cook to help with all the people who need fed, they need to redesign the kitchen as well. Desperate to fit in as she is so new, Anna wants to make the kitchen the perfect place that produces wonderful meals, but she doesn't want it to feel different than the rest of the manor. She wants to find a way to tie the rest of Elm Creek into this future redesigned kitchen.

Sylvia is helping her with the cleaning out and as they work through the cupboards she finds family treasures and heirlooms. Each discovery brings back a memory and she happily tells Anna the meaning behind each piece. The items also follow a theme and we can see the chapter range from Harvest to Thanksgiving, to Christmas and beyond in sequential order. This of course fits in perfectly with the recipes located at the end of each chapter.

I wasn't sure what to think of the location of the recipes at first. From a reading standpoint it would have made more sense to put them all at the end. But really, I think Chiaverini made the right choice as having the recipes at the end of each chapter made it easy to see which were for a specific occasion. You could definitely tell when something was supposed to be served or when the ingredients would be found easily based on the location in the book. As a sneak peak, here are some of the 102 recipes featured in the book:

Cider Cheddar Fondue
Denver Omelet
Chestnut Dressing
Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache
Spicy Meatballs
Mushroom Soup with Fresh Rosemary
Quilter's Coffee

Since this story was so short, Chiaverini didn't have a lot of detail put into the writing. The stories Sylvia shared with Anna were heartwarming though and it was nice to see the interaction between the two characters as it showed Sylvia being very welcoming and understanding of Anna's feelings. While this story was a bit on the smaller side, it was definitely charming.

I loved this book. As an avid quilter and a big fan of cooking in the kitchen, it was a mix of both of my favorite things. I definitely plan on making quite a few of the recipes and if I do, I'll be sure to edit this review with the results. On to cooking and quilting!

The Quilter's Kitchen
Copyright 2008
plus a metrics equivalents page, Acknowledgements for recipes page, and Recipe Index

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