Cookbook review (Giveaway closed): Fresh Tastes

It’s Tuesday, it’s way too cold outside, and therefore (by the rules of logic) it’s time for another cookbook review. With a giveaway! To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below by Tuesday February 13th at 9am Central. If you need inspiration about what to say, here’s a question: what is your ultimate comfort food? I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner, and you’ll get a free copy of this lovely cookbook zipped off in the mail to you.

{Update: GIVEAWAY CLOSED. The winner is . . .

. . . comment #4! TWINKY! Congrats, Mama.)

Now: why do you want this cookbook? Let’s get down to it.

This cookbook is Lee Clayton Roper’s second. Here’s what I love about Fresh Tastes: it feels like a hug from your mom. Which makes sense, considering a lot of Lee’s recipes are from her mom.

To me, there’s a huge comfort food factor here. A blurb I read describes her recipes as “timeless classics,” and I couldn’t agree more. Her 170 recipes include all kinds of familiar dishes that I imagine on the table of a gracious, older Midwestern woman who has perfected the art of hosting and has prepared a spread to Feed Them All. What kind of offerings might you find on her table? Think Pimento Cheese Spread, think Chicken Pot Pie, think Potato Salad–all recipes Lee has included in her book.

(Also, I want to be this woman. At ease, confident, hospitable, and with plenty of food for everyone, always.)

A lot of her recipes include mayonnaise. Luckily, I love mayonnaise. Bring the mayo ON.

This soup looks particularly lovely:

Want to make it? You’re in luck, because I have the recipe right here in a nice printable format:

Italian Sausage Spinach and Orzo Soup

Also, though there’s no image to go with it, the mere name of this recipe speaks to me: Banana Caramel Baked French Toast. (Click to access the Word doc, and if you make it before I do, let me know how it turns out.)

Whenever I review a cookbook, I always try to make a recipe first, because that’s the proof in the pudding. For this go-around, I decided to make Lee’s meatloaf recipe, which if I remember correctly, came from one of her mother’s recipe cards. The ingredient list looked nice and traditional–milk, breadcrumbs, eggs, ground beef, sage, grated onion, with a ketchup-based sauce on top. And I was in the mood for traditional. Nothing fancy, nothing terribly innovative–just nice, plain, meatloaf.

And that’s exactly what it tasted like. And I mean that in a good way. Standard, good, meatloaf. I love a cookbook that has standard, good stuff in it.

On a side note, has anyone figured out how to photograph meatloaf in an attractive way? I have not.

As you can probably tell.

There’s something about comfort food that is just . . . ugly.

Ugly and delicious.

Anyway, I served it with brussel sprouts and potatoes.

Yum. I went back for seconds.

Now brussel sprouts–there’s a food that photographs well. Let’s have another look.

They almost make the meatloaf look good.



It’s a lovely cookbook for anyone who enjoys cooking traditional American fare. The recipes are simple, the ingredients easy-to-find, and it’s just one of those cookbooks that makes me feel warm inside. Because, as much as I sometimes want to make a complicated curry recipe with about a million steps to it and a level of spice that will burn a half dozen holes in my tongue, sometimes I just want a nice, warm spinach dip with crackers.

Or meatloaf with ketchup on top.

Here’s a link to the cookbook on Amazon:

And good luck to those of you participating in the giveaway!

9 thoughts on “Cookbook review (Giveaway closed): Fresh Tastes

    1. Jenna Post author

      SO easy! Cut the brussels in half. Toss them on a sheet pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and position them cut-side down in a single layer. Roast at 425F for 25 minutes. Check to see if they’re caramelized–smaller sprouts will be done at this point, but larger ones may need another 5-10 minutes.
      This is my all-time favorite way to eat brussel sprouts. =)

  1. Twinky

    …as if I needed another cook book…. but this sounds so tantalizing! Thinking I need to make that soup up there!


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