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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cookbook review - Gourmet Mustards: The How-Tos of Making & Cooking with Mustards by Helene Sawyer and Cheryl Long

(Sorry, for some reason the picture wants to be on it's side!)

ISBN-13 :978-1889531045
ISBN-10: 1-889531-04-9
Original publication date: 1987
Edition publication date: 2002
Format: paperback
Publisher: Sibyl Publications

Pages: 116
Dimensions: 7.5 x 6.6 x 0.3 inches

# of recipes: 125 - 150
Dietary scope: (Atkins, fat-free etc): mustard
Intended audience: people who want to make mustard from scratch
Photos: none, some black & white drawings
Index: yes, but it is more like an expanded table of contents
Arrangement: by course
Other information (i.e. - tips, history, etc): some tips and mustard related quotes
Lists Nutritional information: yes
Lists Servings: yes
Utilizes packaged foods: only items like prepared horseradish, and jams
Low fat: yes
Low sodium: yes
Low sugar: mostly
Low carb: mostly
Cost per recipe (listed cover price/recipes): about $.06/recipe
Recommended skill level: 
Journeyman – I’m done with boxes – what’s next?
Points – (each question can have up to 5 points) = 2.65
Hits the intended audience? 4
Picture to recipe ratio? 0
Good format? 5
Good table of contents? 2
Good index? 2
Cost per recipe (listed cover price/recipes): 3
Anthropology rating: 1
% of recipes I would make: 80%
I like? 3

I had high hope for this book, but sadly it fell short of them. There is only one ‘basic’ mustard recipe and it is a Dijon style mustard, which really isn’t that ‘basic’. I would have liked to have seen at least one or two more really basic recipes. As for the history of mustard there is a mere 4 sentences on the subject. Another thing that I didn’t like was even the basic recipe is based on powdered mustard, everyone knows that spices start to lose their pungency as soon as you start to crush, or grind them. If you are going to the trouble of making your mustard from scratch, you are certainly capable of starting with the mustard seed, in fact you are probably wanting to start with the seeds.

The recipes themselves look good. I almost wonder, however, if there is a recipe missing, since a few recipes call for "basic prepared bright yellow mustard". To me it seems silly, in a book about making mustards to have store bought mustard as an ingredient. There is another item about this book that I find annoying. There is a recipe called "Christmas Mustard" which looks like it would be a lot of fun to try because it is unusual, how many mustards have you seen with candied fruit in it? I think that since it is so unusual there should be some suggestions on what to use it with, and at least one recipe containing it. Unless I missed the recipe in the two or three times I have gone through the book there is not one mention of Christmas Mustard aside from the recipe itself. How hard would it have been to make sure that there was at least one recipe to go with each of the mustard recipes in the book? Christmas ham or turkey at the very least. Or perhaps a turkey, cream cheese and Christmas mustard wrap?

There are very short comments for each recipe, and many are followed by helpful ‘tips’. There are many mustard related quotes through out the book which adds a bit of fun to it.

For the most part I was looking for recipes on mustards, and maybe a recipe or two that contained some of the more unusual ones. And while there are almost 40 recipes for mustard (if you include all the variations) it clearly lacks on the basic mustard recipes.

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