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Theresa Carle-Sanders – Outlander Kitchen

June 9, 2017

LibraryThing Early Reviewers33. Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders (foreward by Diana Gabaldon) (2016)
Outlander, companion volume

Length: 336 pages
Genre: Non-fiction; Cookbook

Started: 06 July 2016
Finished: 12 July 2016

Where did it come from? LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Why do I have it? Outlander! And cooking!
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 06 July 2016.

The quickest way to
Jamie Fraser’s heart is through
his wame, dinnae ken?

Summary: This cookbook (which started as a recipe blog) is a companion to the Outlander series of books. Specifically, this book presents recipes for food that is mentioned in one of the Outlander novels, along with the relevant quote and some history and commentary, if relevant.

Review: As I read (and re-read) the Outlander series, the food was not something that particularly stood out to me. Gabaldon’s writing is descriptive but food is only very rarely the focus of a scene; mostly it exists as set dressing. What this means for this cookbook, though, is that in some places the recipes are pretty loose interpretations based on only a word or two in the book (“fried chicken” in the book morphs into a decidedly un-historical recipe for chicken that is brined in sweet tea before being fried, for example). The far extreme of this are places where the connection to the books is metaphorical at best – there’s a quote from Dragonfly in Amber about Ian guarding Jamie’s weaker side to preface a recipe for buttered leeks, which, while they sound tasty, and not out of keeping with a general Scottish-themed cuisine, are in here because they are “guarding the side” of your main dish. Actually, the *far* extreme of this is “Black Jack Randall’s Dark Chocolate Lavender Fudge,” which a) damn that’s reaching, and b) I don’t think I’ll ever be making this, because c) fudge? for Black Jack Randall? Really?? Ew.

The recipes themselves run the gamut from being traditional recipes that have been adapted for the modern kitchen to more modern fare. There are fewer traditional Scottish recipes than I was expecting, which in retrospect shouldn’t be that surprising, given the series’s scope (although the classics – parritch, oatcakes, scotch eggs, etc. – are all present as well). This was somewhat disappointing as I was reading it, though, as I was hoping for more along the lines of the other literary cookbook I’ve read, Lobscouse & Spotted Dog, which made a point of locating authentic period recipes and then making them the original way, before interpreting them for a modern audience. I do get that that wasn’t the particular goal of Carle-Sanders, though, and even when she uses historical sources for her recipes, the vast majority of the recipes seem to be reasonable for a modern cook, with minimal use of exotic or hard-to-find ingredients (although I still am probably going to continue to buy my puff pastry rather than make it by hand!) I haven’t yet held an Outlander dinner party based on recipes from this book, but it’s on my list to plan one, and there are also a number of recipes I’d like to try out just for their own sake. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If you like the Outlander books and like to cook or bake, then this book is a fun addition to your cookbook shelf. If you only like one or the other of those things, then this book might still be of interest, but probably not particularly essential.

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First Line: Food disappears all the time…

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 10, 2017 8:26 am

    I’ve got to get this for a friend of mine!

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