My wife wrote a review of this cookbook on Facebook, and I received permission to share it here:
Here’s an honest 3-recipe review of the new Joanna Gaines’ cookbook, Magnolia Table. I cooked a breakfast and dinner casserole, along with a dessert. It’s fairly scathing until you get to the end. Please bear with me.
In the order my family enjoyed them:
1) Chocolate Cola Cake, with Chocolate Cola Buttercream (pg. 295): George said it was “phenomenal.” I liked the icing, not the denser cake. I prefer all my cakes to be light and moist. I will make the icing again, not the cake.
2) Sausage and Hashbrown Casserole (pg. 33): My family all liked it, including my non egg-eating son. I felt like it had the texture of dog food. Alas, a breakfast casserole is born. It needs crunch, or something. (So I gnawed on the well-done edges.) But, as a side to a brunch, it’s good enough and would feed a crowd. (My Yorkie really enjoyed it, as evidenced by the teeth marks left on the edges, since my son didn’t clean off the table as instructed. There is that. Bob [the Yorkie] loved it: ✔)
3) Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (pg. 193) Come now, Lord Jesus, and fix this mess, I pray. I couldn’t eat it. Think can of cream of chicken soup meets a flour tortilla. Literally. George claims it’s a regional preference, since we grew up on red and green sauce on our enchiladas. I say cloying sauce by any other name, still ain’t a decent bechamel.
I’m also curious about her recipe writers and tasters. The enchiladas called for 10, 10 inch tortillas. Figure that in a 9×13 pan. It’s like some man from Epicurean magazine, twice removed from the average home cook, let this one slide. Any self-respecting recipe reader would immediately question how 10, 10-inch tortillas would fit in the pan, let alone rolled up with chicken inside. They didn’t. Only 7, 6 inch tortillas did. Someone fell asleep at the wheel on this one.
And, it’s the little things. The breakfast casserole called for a “container” of frozen hashbrowns. They must do things different in Texas. I’ve only seen and used “bags” of frozen hashbrowns. (See Epicurean note above.)
With that being said, I like this cookbook. I love its soul. It’s how I want my family to feel when I serve them my food. I want to create the food memories she elegantly describes throughout the recipes.
I just need to keep trying more of them. My trust meter is just not that strong, right off the bat. And, that’s disappointing because I wanted to like it so bad simply because the book itself has soul.
~Tiffany (George says I’m a “taste bud dilettante.” If I actually knew what that meant, I’d probably agree. So, take my review with a grain of kosher salt.🙄)
Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering (New York: William Morrow, 2018).
P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.