Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Review: Return to Sunday Dinner

Return to Sunday Dinner: The Simple Delight of Family, Friends, and Food by Russell Cronkhite is an inspiring invitation to this wonderful family tradition.  This beautiful hardcover cookbook is sure to leave your mouth watering and give you lots of recipe ideas to try out for your Sunday dinner.

In the beginning, the author shares his memories and ideas about Sunday dinner which may or may not resonate with the reader, but it definitely made me wish I had those kinds of memories.  A Sunday dinner where the whole family can gather to enjoy a delicious meal and the warm company of family and friends is worth aspiring to.  Cronkhite purposely has tried to pick recipes that are simple with ingredients that everyone can readily get their hands on (sorry Rachel Ray, but your recipes are often hard to pull off with our rural Indiana grocery store).  He has also included pictures with most of the recipes, but not all of them.  So for those of us who need to be able to visualize a recipe before being willing to try it, this cookbook could be lacking.

I just have two issues with the cookbook.  First, and I realize this is just a little thing, but the recipes are grouped together into meals rather than being divided into categories like a typical cookbook (e.g. main dishes, sides, desserts).  I'm sure that many will like this feature, but I was not a fan. 

My other problem with the book is a bit more complicated. With this being from a Christian publisher, my expectations were a bit higher for some sort of spiritual insight or at least Scripture interspersed.  I was pretty disappointed.  The meals are lovely, but realistically they would be difficult to pull off every Sunday for a family who has regular church attendance as a priority.  Cronkhite includes some suggestions for preparing parts of the recipes ahead of time, but these meals (really mini-banquets) would require the help of many hands to pull off after getting home from church.  I don't know about you.  But I don't like to face famished family and friends after arriving home from Sunday services and say "sorry, it's going to be a couple of hours before I can get this food on the table."

That being said, I am eager to try out some of these recipes, but probably not the entire meals as the author has them laid out and not on Sunday afternoon.

4 out of 5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the Booksneeze program by Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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