The Military Wives Cookbook is more than just a collection of recipes. The Forward gives a brief history of U.S. military wives starting with the Revolutionary War and going through modern times. Every recipe pays homage to the women who have gone before with quotes from historical military wives—Libbie Custer, Frances Roe, and others—in the header notes and more quotes and brief narratives about other famous military wives throughout.
The book has six chapters of menus with various themes: teas and coffees; buffets, brunches, and lunches; family style dinners; alfresco dining; international dishes; and holiday celebrations. Each chapter has at least seven menus, some based on actual dinners such as Evie Foster’s Mah Jong luncheon. Paying her respects to all the places where military families are stationed around the world, the book has a lot of variety. Tillery included recipes for polenta, tomato and serrano salsa, candied yams, red velvet cake, New England clam chowder, Santa Maria style barbecue, baba ghanooj, pickled lemons, paella Valenciana, miso soup, sauerbraten, and bulkoki.
The writing has a sentimental tone, as one might expect from an author who grew up a military child and later became a military wife, but it is functional and practical, too. The menus make it easy to plan meals and gatherings, and most ingredients are readily available in the average grocery store, though some ingredients may require a trip to an Asian food store.
Because strawberries are coming in season, I made the Strawberries and Cream with Macaroons, a simple dessert with a bit of flair. It was easy to make and quite delicious, though I had to confirm the type of macaroons with Mrs. Tillery (coconut macaroons, not Cajun almond paste macaroons).
The Military Wives Cookbook would be of special interest to families with military connections, though it would also make a fine volume for someone interested in entertaining and learning how to create menus.
[Received book from the publisher.]
Price: $22.95 U.S./$25.95 CAN
Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing
Notes: Previously published under the title At Freedom’s Table.