There is a relatively new trend in single-subject cookbooks and I like it. I have thought of making my own – 365 days of cole slaw – just because I love cabbage so much. I love the brassicas. I also love sweet potatoes which made it very easy for me to love Sweet Potatoes by Mary-Frances Heck.
It begins with a primer on sweet potatoes, selecting, storing, cleaning, and recognizing the different types of sweet potatoes. The primer has a lovely coda, a list of complementary fruits, veggies, spices, herbs, nuts, and other things you can imagine pairing with sweet potatoes. The list is comprehensive and the suggestions sound excellent. Sadly, I did not see Jamaica Jerk spice blend or curry powder on this list, but there is a Thai Noodle Curry recipe. I think the lack of Jerked Sweet Potatoes is a missed opportunity.
The primer is followed by seven chapters starting with basic preparations of sweet potatoes, some of which, like the puree, are used in subsequent recipes. The remaining six chapters have recipes for starters, soups and stews, main dishes, side dishes, breads, and sweets.
I love that she included two ways to prepare sweet potato fries, the hard way, and the easy way. Put me down for the easy way!
Sweet Potatoes is an excellent single subject cookbook. There are about fifty recipes showing how versatile sweet potatoes are, providing the base for everything from appetizers to desserts. The recipes are realistic with the kinds of ingredients and skills of a home cook. This is a friendly, welcoming book for even beginner cooks. The only requisite is you love sweet potatoes and if you’re still reading this review, I presume you do.
The photos by Kristin Teig are appealing. I like that she avoids the seeds, nuts, flowers, and spillage all over the table style that is so dominant in today’s cookbook aesthetics. It’s not that she’s a neatnik. There’s a mix of casual and formal pictures. I like that the photos are cropped, sometimes chopping off half the dish. It makes for more striking, bolder photos. The sandwich loaf photo is not just a great food photo, it’s a great photo – period. My only criticism of the photos is that they seem oversaturated, too vibrant in color sometimes.
Sweet Potatoes was published in August by Clarkson Potter. I received a review copy through Blogging for Books.
- Sweet Potatoes at Clarkson Potter with Penguin Random House
- Mary-Frances Heck on Twitter
- Mary-Frances Heck at Epicurious