“FALLING OFF THE BONE” is the latest cookbook from Jean Anderson, published in 2010 by John Wiley & Sons.
Jean, you may know if you have followed her career at all, is the author of more than twenty cookbooks and has written articles for Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Gourmet and other national magazines. She is also a six-time best cookbook award winner (James Beard, IACP, and Tastemaker) and is a member of the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. She is also a founding member of both Les Dames d’Escoffier and the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance.
Jean Anderson is a cookbook author whose work I have long admired, but with the publishing of “AMERICAN CENTURY COOKBOOK” in 1997, her status, in my eyes, increased enormously. This is a cookbook to treasure forever, and the fascinating detail is reflected in the pages that took the author ten years to write. Other cookbook authors have written books in tribute to the past century, but Jean Anderson’s “AMERICAN CENTURY COOKBOOK” easily outshines them all. It could not have been an easy task, to search out the most popular recipes of the 20th century, and to chronicle 100 years of culinary change in America. Look at the changes that have taken place in just the past twenty or thirty years!
Now we have another Jean Anderson cookbook that you will want to cherish and use forever. I’ve always been more than a little partial to “one dish” meals, probably because that’s what my mother prepared more than anything else.
“In our rush to do everything on fast-forward,” we learn on the dust jacket to ‘Falling Off The Bone’, “we forget the slow-and-low cooking methods that can turn the most common and affordable cut of meat into a supremely tender and tasty family meal. The toughest veal shank slowly simmered in broth is magically transformed into a fall-off-the-bone-tender Ossobuco. A bony beef tail stewed with vegetables becomes a deeply flavorful and nourishing Oxtail Soup. All over the world, the most satisfying and soulful meat dishes don’t cost a lot of money—they just take a little more time (make that unattended time) and a little more love.”
“FALLING OFF THE BONE” is divided into four categories of contents; Beef, Veal, Lamb and Pork—and not only does the author provide you with a wealth of falling off the bone recipes, she also provides the best ways to cook each recipe, along with nutritional profiles, grades of the meat and shopping, storage, and freezing tips. It occurs to me, as I am reading the recipes, that this cookbook would make a dandy wedding present for pair of newlyweds. (You will note, please, that I didn’t say a ‘dandy wedding present for a bride’ – more and more husbands are taking up a wooden spoon or spatula and learning how to cook. Three of my four sons enjoy cooking and retain bragging rights in the kitchen).
In the chapter for beef, you will find (in a place of honor – the first recipe – Jean’s grandmother’s hearty beef and vegetable soup. There is also a recipe for Root Soup which only uses ¾ pound of meat in the recipe. Another sure to please recipe is Oxtail Soup which brings to mind Julie & Norma, two ladies who rented rooms from my grandmother in her house on Baltimore Avenue when I was a teenager.
The ladies often made oxtail soup and the aroma drifted throughout the house on oxtail-soup-night.
There is also a recipe for Borsch and a beef shank soup with meatballs and vegetables—followed by a recipe for onion-smothered beef. OMG, I can’t wait to try this – and there are only six ingredients to the recipe.
There are also recipes for beef stew with carrots, corn & potatoes, a mulligan stew, prairie stew and sweet-sour beef stew—and oh, ragout of beef with cranberries and wild mushrooms….and did I mention, most of these recipes are accompanied by the most mouth-watering photographs of the finished product, photographed by Jason Wyche?
Another really enticing feature of “Falling-off-the-Bone” are the prefaces to each recipe, tips from the author – as an example, introducing “Sweet-sour beef stew”, Jean writes, “Such an easy stew and for me, a dinner party favorite. I make it one day, refrigerate overnight, and reheat shortly before serving. I vary the accompaniment, sometimes pairing with boiled unpeeled redskin potatoes, sometimes with steamed rounds of sweet potato or boiled brown or white rice. Note to save time, I use the bagged-in-plastic peeled baby carrots now sold at most supermarkets”
And, let me add that almost all of the ingredients to make sweet-sour beef stew are items you most likely have in your refrigerator or pantry.
The Beef section contains many more delectable-sounding recipes, “That Fiery Beef Bowl of Red” “Green Chili with pinto beans”, “Texas Beef ‘n’ Beans” and “Picadinho de Carne” which is a fancier way of describing a Brazilian influence to making chili. There is, I’m happy to say, a recipe for Beef Bourguignon and a slow ‘n’ easy Austrian Goulash (I haven’t tried this last recipe yet but reading it, I sense that it’s quite similar to my grandmother’s Goulash, so it will be interesting to do a comparison.)
However, there is also a recipe for Hungarian Goulash with sauerkraut – I grew up on Hungarian Goulash but we never had it with sauerkraut! Interesting!
Jean’s “Swiss Steak with Tomato Gravy” bears a slight resemblance to the Swiss Steak I learned to cook as a new bride – except THIS one sounds much better. Another recipe to mark with a post-it.
There are these and many more beef recipes that you will want to try—and we haven’t even reached the recipes for veal yet!
In the chapter for veal, you will find recipes such as veal stew with mushrooms and cauliflower, a Florentine classic called stufatino, veal paprikash, slow cooker blanquette de veau or veal and vegetable risotto.
Jean offers other slow-cooker recipes using veal, such as Slow ‘n’ Easy Veal Zingara, also sometimes called Gypsy’s Stew, and slow cooker Russian Goulash but there are many others to whet your appetite – Orange-and-Mustard-Glazed-Pot Roast of Veal, for instance, or Tuscan Veal Pot Roast In Lemon Sauce.
There is much to choose from in the chapter for lamb – and in its introduction, Jean reminds us to recycle leftovers, that no meat makes better curry than lamb and this includes leftovers that you can simply dice and add to a curry sauce. Jean likes to grind lamb leftovers and use them when she makes Greek classics like moussaka and pastitsio. Look for recipes such as barley, lamb, and lima soup (yum! Barley and lima beans are two of my favorite ingredients!) or Scotch Broth, mulligatawny (peppery lamb and coconut soup) or odds and ends lamb soup. There is also a recipe for Turkish Wedding Soup or Spicy Lamb Hot Pot with Juniper, an old fashioned Irish stew or a slow cooker lamb with raisins and toasted almonds.
There are so many recipes that call for pork – and I enjoy almost all of them – so I will just touch on some of my greatest favs – glazed sweet-sour spareribs, for instance, far east spareribs on sesame sauerkraut, ribs lanai-style with pineapple, slow cooker Brunswick stew with pork, pork bowl of red and gypsy goulash, pork paprika—and one you seldom see in a cookbook—pickled pig’s feet!
Much of Jean Anderson’s personality shines through on each page, and will entice you to try every single Falling off the Bone dish—as if you will need any encouragement once you take a look at all of Jason Wyche’s photographs.
This one’s a winner – but then, I believe all of Jean Anderson’s cookbooks are winners.
“FALLING OFF THE BONE” is available from Amazon com for $19.77 – or you can buy a pre-owned copy starting at $11.01.
GRASS ROOTS COOKBOOK, DOUBLEDAY DELL PUBLISHING, 1974, 75, 76, 77, 92 (*The Grass Roots Cookbook is a outgrowth of magazine pieces originally features in Family Circle magazine)
The Doubleday Cookbook VOL 2 (with Elaine Hanna). Doubleday: 1975. R.T. French Tastemaker Cookbook-of- the-Year as well as Best Basic Cookbook
RECIPES FROM AMERICA’S RESTORED VILLAGES, Doubleday, 1975
THE GREEN THUMB PRESERVING GUIDE, WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, 1976
JEAN ANDERSON’S PROCESSOR COOKING, WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, 1979
Half a Can of Tomato Paste & Other Culinary Dilemmas (with Ruth Buchan). Harper & Row, 1980. Seagram/International Association of Culinary Professionals Award, Best Specialty Cookbook of the Year.
JEAN ANDERSON COOKS, WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, 1982
JEAN ANDERSON’S NEW PROCESSOR COOKING, WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, 1983
The New Doubleday Cookbook (with Elaine Hanna). Doubleday: 1985.
The Food of Portugal. William Morrow: 1986. Seagram/International Association of Culinary Professionals Award, Best Foreign Cookbook of the Year
The New German Cookbook (with Hedy Würz). HarperCollins: 1993
The American Century Cookbook. Clarkson Potter: 1997
The Good Morning America Cut the Calories Cookbook (co-edited with Sara Moulton). Hyperion: 2000
Dinners in a Dish or a Dash. William Morrow: 2000
Process This! New Recipes for the New Generation of Food Processors. William Morrow: 2002. James Beard Best Cookbook, Tools & Techniques Category
Quick Loaves. William Morrow: 2005
A Love Affair with Southern Cooking: Recipes and Recollections. Foreword by Sara Moulton. William Morrow: 2007
Also by Jean Anderson:
THE ART OF AMERICAN INDIAN COOKING (with Yeffe Kimball)
FOOD IS MORE THAN COOKING
HENRY, THE NAVIGATOLR, PRINCE OF PORTUGAL
THE HAUNTING OF AMERICA
THE FAMILY CIRCLE COOKBOOK (with the Food Editors of Family Circle Magazine)
This list is as comprehensive as I could make it, based largely on the dozen or so Jean Anderson cookbooks in my personal collection. I also checked with Google.com and Amazon.com for titles.
Happy Cooking! And when you aren’t cooking, read a good cookbook!
–Review by Sandra Lee Smith