Good Housekeeping Great American Classics Cookbook

336 pages; Full Color Photographs, Hardcover

Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. NY, NY, October 1, 2004

Reviewed by Chef John Vyhnanek

"Brunswick stew, gee, my friend Johnny White used to make it for dinner break for the restaurant staff at the Ritz-Carlton Boston when we were young chefs. The recipe is 99% exactly the way Johnny made it, right down to the stewed tomatoes!" 

This is a must by book that can be handed down from generation to generation!


The Review---

I really enjoy cookbooks that include a bit of food history sprinkled amongst the recipes. I also enjoy cookbooks that state the fact that the recipes were tested. Oh what a horror, you mean some cookbooks haven't had the recipes prepared or tested before going to press?! The alarming fact is no, because it is a very expensive and time-consuming process to test all the recipes. You don't have to worry with the new cookbook from Good Housekeeping; after all, if you can't trust Good Housekeeping, who can you trust? Good Housekeeping's Great American Classics Cookbook has hundreds of familiar and time honored recipes that are---Triple Tested! Only such a venerable institution would do that to protect its image and stalwart position in the market. 

There is a brief chronology of cooking in America to start you on your way in the early pages of the book. As I perused the pages, I came across Clams Casino and was interested in its history, "The year was 1917, and Mrs. Paran Stevens was hosting a luncheon for her society friends at the Casino at Narragansett Pier in New York City. Maitre d'Hotel Julius Keller created a dish for the occasion featuring clams on the half shell baked with bacon and seasonings. He didn't know what to call it, but decided on Clams Casino in honor of the restaurant." The recipe is slightly different from what I'm accustomed to making only in that the bacon was chopped and I add a teaspoon of butter atop each clam; otherwise it was delicious. Next I found the history of the Coney Island Hot Dog, then a brief historical paragraph about the Philadelphia Cheese Steak, and then Beef Wellington: all very interesting and educational. Good Housekeeping has been around for a long time and and as early as 1904 had published cookbooks. Much of the historical information, as well as the proven recipes, come from their archives. I love the photographs too! 

There is a beautiful picture of Cobb Salad, just the way it should be--excellent! I didn't feel the need to test the pancake recipe on page 86 because the picture was in itself satisfying to the nth degree.

Brunswick stew, gee, my friend Johnny White used to make it for dinner break for the restaurant staff at the Ritz-Carlton Boston when we were young chefs. The recipe is 99% exactly the way Johnny made it, right down to the stewed tomatoes! 

I did choose the Best Barbecue Ribs recipe to test. Although the price of ribs these days is through the roof, they are always a popular item. The ribs are first coated with a dry rub (I don't think this recipe was around in the original 1904 cookbook!). They marinate briefly and are wrapped in foil with ice cubes. Now that may seem strange, but just follow the instructions--- on the grill they went as I finished the sauce recipe. Out of the foil, moist and juicy looking, they went on the grill again and were brushed with sauce as they got charred. Then it was rib time and what a time I had. The ribs were some of the best I ever had! See, triple testing of recipes is worth it!!!

'2004 by Good Cooking, Inc.