In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - Add a Pinch: Easier, Faster, Fresher Southern Classics

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | Apr 3, 2017 9:00 AM
Add a Pinch


Add a Pinch: Easier, Faster, Fresher Southern Classics, by Robyn Stone, copyright © 2017 by Robyn Stone. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Helene Dujardin. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Our Summary:

Add a Pinch - the blog, began as Robyn Stone's personal electronic recipe box - a collection of her most treasured family recipes.  Add a Pinch - the cookbook, feels like you're reading from those handwritten recipes Stone found on scraps of paper tucked in between the pages of an old cookbook.  They are simple enough and somehow still manage to deliver on flavor.  Almost every page is and ode to good ole southern home cooking.  And, no matter what page you choose to cook from, your home will be filled with the warmth and aroma you'd expect if you were stopping by grandma's for supper.  Whether you are just learning to cook or a seasoned pro looking for easier and faster ways to make the food you love, you'll be glad you found Add a Pinch.

What you need to know:

Get ItAdd a Pinch: Easier, Faster, Fresher Southern Classics, by Robyn Stone, copyright © 2017 by Robyn Stone. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, March 28, 2017, Hardcover $25.00 (Amazon $17.50; Kindle $13.99)

See It:  240 pages with 75 color photographs that look like they were taken in your grandmother's kitchen.

Make It:  100 recipes spread out between meaningful chapters, such as Starters & Snacks, Skillet Suppers, Slow Cooker Suppers, Casseroles & One-Dish Suppers; there's Biscuits & Breads and a chapter with recipes for stocking your southern pantry.

Our Review:

It's hard to find classic southern recipes that don't take hours to prepare.  That's always been the joy of southern cooking, right?  Long, slow days that turn out delicious food that's meant to be lingered over around a big family table.  Sadly, most don't have those kinds of days (or perhaps the inclination) to spend the time cooking that way.  Robyn Stone, after returning to her family's farm roots, decided that had to change.  Over the past seven years, her blog Add a Pinch has become an ode to southern cooking.  And now, with the release of her first cookbook of the same name, Add a Pinch, she helps us to do it easier, faster and just a wee bit healthier.

Curating her recipes from handwritten classics, Stone has found a way in Add a Pinch to take advantage of modern conventions like slow-cookers so you can serve up a Brisket with Tomato Gravy on a weeknight.  She adapts large serving recipes like Mama's Meat Loaf with Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce into smaller servings for faster-cooking or convenient freezing.  Even her pies, biscuits and rolls recipes - generally speaking - are only a few paragraphs long.  While they might take a bit of time to make, it's largely hands-off time.

Though the book is nearly all southern-styled dishes, sides, soups, pies, and some pantry projects like Pepper Jelly, Apple Butter, or Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce, Stone manages to get a few non-traditional recipes in there.  Things like White Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Shells, or Easy Skillet Lasagna, don't necessarily conjure up the idea of southern charm, but certainly, keep the recipes fresh and varied.  You won't need to often look past Add a Pinch pages whether you're in need of a quick and satisfying weeknight meal or a fine dish to entertain your VIPs.

Satisfying is the key word, here.  In Add a Pinch, Stone manages to offer you smart changes in her "lightened up" headnotes - adding fresh vegetables over canned, Greek yogurt for mayonnaise, or cauliflower "rice" for the real deal, so you don't leave a recipe wishing you hadn't indulged.  That's not to say this is a diet cookbook!  There's still plenty of real butter, cheese and rich delicious desserts that you'll want to stay mindful of portion sizes.  But in the end, your home is filled with the warmth and aromas that speak only to southern comfort food.  You sit down to the table unhurried and happy knowing that you've made a meal everyone can enjoy.

Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

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