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Return to Sunday Dinner, A Review by Dr. Heather Allen

By: Russell Cronkhite
Multnomah Publishers
Sisters, Oregon

I love cookbooks, especially if they include stories to read and beautiful pictures to enjoy. Well, the cookbook, A Return to Sunday Dinner, is just such a cookbook. A reader can spend many nights enjoying the stories, histories behind certain traditional American foods, and, most importantly, the recipes.

Russell Cronkhite a renowned chef, pastry chef, and baker, who has honed his skills over thirty years, was the executive chef of Blair House, the guesthouse of the president of the United States, for 12 years. When he wrote this beautiful, and practical, cookbook, he was thinking of people like us. Real people, with real families, who care about traditions and the kinds of memories they are building within their homes.

I have read many cookbooks that are totally impractical, the foods presented are weird at best, and if the reader really wanted to cook a particular recipe, finding the ingredients is almost impossible. Every recipe in Mr. Cronkhite's book leaves you thinking, "I'm going to make that soon. My family will love it." He takes you from roast beef with pan gravy, sour cream mashed potatoes, tangy cheese broccoli, glazed baby carrots, sesame cloverleaf rolls, and bittersweet chocolate-buttermilk cake to boneless smothered pork chops, braised country greens, twice-baked sweet potato casserole, Sunday comfort macaroni and cheese, and banana black-bottom cream pie.

What I really like about Mr. Cronkhite's book, and the purpose underlying its writing, is that his focus is on bringing back the tradition of Sunday dinners and all that they once meant to families of previous generations. He discusses setting the table, working as a family to prepare the meal, using the occasion for fun and fellowship, and why we should bring back the age-old tradition of the Sunday dinner.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Return to Sunday Dinner and could not recommend this book more highly. I think just about anyone would love this book. Pick it up, read it, cook and enjoy.

-- Product Review by: Dr. Heather Allen, TOS Senior Analytical Consultant, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine