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Book Review

‘The United States of Pie’

1/9/2013

BookCourtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Sally Wisdom

Harper Collins

5/22/2012

$24.99

HIV

226pp.

The current trend in cookbooks is toward sumptuous tomes replete with tantalizing photographs. A new cookbook with just a few line drawings for illustration really has to stand on its own merits. “The United States of Pie” is just such a cookbook.               

Adrienne Kane has compiled a marvelous collection of recipes from old newspaper clippings, out-of-print cookbooks and spiral-bound booklets from church and community groups. The organization is regional with recipes including: Crunchy Cranberry and Shoofly Pies from the Northeast, Green Tomato and Tar Heel Pies from the South, Hoosier Cream and Rhubarb Pies from the Midwest, and Pear Crumble and Meyer Lemon Cream Pies from the West. Assuming the five my family and I have sampled are representative of the entire collection, all 51 recipes are worthy of any pie maker’s effort.                

The book begins with a 40-plus-page explanation of ingredients and recipes for a variety of both pastry and crumb crusts. Each recipe is easy to follow and calls for readily available ingredients, but readers who want to dig deeper are provided a wealth of information on all things relating to pie. Vegetable shortening is specified, but adventurous cooks will learn how to render their own leaf lard for the flakiest of all crusts.                

Kane is an engaging writer, and each section is introduced with an interesting narrative about regional differences and the pie makers she met as she researched the book. “The United States of Pie” is an exceptional resource for both experienced and novice pie-makers. CV

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