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The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries Kindle Edition
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The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries is one of those books that has sat on my Wish List for months. Then one day recently Amazon had the Kindle version of the book on offer for an extremely reasonable price at the same time that I had a bit of spare change in the "buying books on Amazon" fund. I find myself deeply disappointed.
Author Janie Hibler seems to have picked, put up and cooked with every kind of berry in existence in the Northern Hemisphere. She devotes a large section of the book to a listing of each of them in a chapter called "The A-TO-Z Berry Encyclopedia." For each of the berries she gives common names, information about the scientific classification, its habitat and distribution, a bit of history, details about where the berry is commercially grown, how to pick them, where to buy them, how to store them and even provides cook's notes. What she did NOT do is provide an illustration for each of these berries, something that would render the book far more useful to the cook and forager.
There are, according to the book description on the product page, 175 recipes included in The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries, but no pictures of any of those recipes are included either - something that makes recipes that are often quite similar both hard to envision and hard to distinguish from one another.
The book is broken down into 14 major section, plus a listing of websites and a bibliography and they are listed in an interactive Table of Contents of sorts. However Hibler comes within a hair's breadth of Grandma's Cardinal Sin of Kindle Cookbook Writing with this Table of Contents. Each of those chapter listings is interactive in that it goes to the beginning of the specified section, the utility ends there. Where a more user friendly Kindle cookbook would then provide a separate interactive listing for the individual recipes, the formatting that Hibler employs forces the user to then page repeatedly through sometimes lengthy chapters hunting high and low for a particular recipe. I had to page 32 times to get through the "Pies, Tarts, Cobblers ad Such" chapter alone. (My iPad displays more "page" than a Kindle does. You will have to page even more if you're using a Kindle.) Normally with a book of this length one can turn to the index to at least find a list of all of the recipes that use "blackberry" or "boysenberry" or "salmon berry" but sadly, you'll find no index here. Let me repeat GRANDMA'S NUMBER ONE RULE - if you cannot find the recipe that you want quickly and easily without paging your way through the book, then the book simply is not useful for its intended purpose - cooking.
I would love to tell you that the recipes all look scrumptious. However, while many of them have been gathered from a variety of sources, the typeface used for the title (bold italic, but the same size as regular type) makes it hard to pick out where one recipe ends and another begins (they are all strung together with no page breaks between recipes) and after a bit Peak-of-the-Season Blueberry Pie becomes indistinguishable in the mind's eye from the Juneberry-Raspberry Pie that follows or the Mount Adams Huckleberry Pie that comes after that. (This is why pictures would not be amiss.)
Grandma's $0.02 - the lack of pictures makes The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries of little value as a field manual and the poor formatting makes the book less than useful as a cookbook. Grandma recommends that you leave this one on the shelf.
Not a "Bible" by a long shot!
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