Browse through a stack of most cookbooks and you will find a collection of recipes for perfection; a “how-to” laundry list of flawless turkey dinners, chef-approved soups, company worthy salads, even the perfect burger.
Flip through the pages of The Loving Kitchen and you will still find an impeccably made assortment of breads, soups, salads, entrées and desserts, but author LeAnn Rice has a different goal in mind. In this fast-paced world of drive-thru restaurants and skipped and scattered mealtimes, her objective is to bring loved ones, friends and neighbors back to the family table.
Ms. Rice contends that “life happens in the kitchen” and tempts us to adopt that same lifestyle attitude, not with time-consuming and complicated recipes, but with easy-to-make, comforting fare. She holds no fancy culinary degree, just a love for cooking and an admiration for sharing life’s triumphs, disasters and ordinary moments through good old-fashioned hospitality.
There is no denying that Ms. Rice is a Southern soul. Some of the recipes include a hearty dose of saturated fat, but others are perfectly healthy and balanced. The Roast Chicken with Yukon Potatoes is the stuff Sunday dinners are meant for, but her Autumn Salad with Pecan-Crusted Bacon, which serves up a full quarter-pound of bacon per guest, might well be reserved for a special occasion.
The author is a realist who understands a busy schedule. With a nod to the harried lives we all lead, a few of the recipes included in The Loving Kitchen contain store-bought ready-to-use items (ie. frozen dinner rolls, yellow cake mix), but for the most part they are made from scratch with the kind of ingredients you almost certainly already buy.
Scattered through the book are helpful tips, quotes and suggestions on how to “reach out” and “gather in.” It may be idealistic to think that the simple act of gathering around a table will make the world a better place, but, like LeAnn, I am willing to give it a try.
Be sure to come back tomorrow as we share a recipe from The Loving Kitchen! —Karen