"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
January 27, 2015
Finding Winter Comfort in Tasty Cookbooks
by Laurie Williams Sowby

Somehow, the comfort of home cooking and aromas from the kitchen bring warmth in the coldest season. Here are a couple of cookbook choices to whet the appetite.

Artist Debbie G. Harman’s Quick and Easy Cookbook follows the success of her Cooking for Two and other volumes in the Mormon Pantry series put out by Covenant since 2007. A cook after my own heart, Harman understands the concept of time as well as convenience and, like me, evidently prefers to make time for other family pursuits outside of the kitchen.

Subtitled “Delicious Meals in Minutes,” her latest offers time-saving tips and make-ahead helps as well as recipes categorized by microwave meals, soups, salads, casseroles, sandwiches, and easy desserts, many of which will appeal to young cooks just learning their way around the kitchen as well as those looking for more family time.

Pages are sprinkled with short quotes about home and family, and an index helps users to find a recipe fast.

Simple, large-print instructions on bordered backgrounds, thick, slick pages, and a spiral binding mean this one can be used and used again (Covenant 2013, 156 pages in hardcover, $19.99).

Shauna Evans’ 30-Minute Meals for Families comes from Cedar Fort’s Front Table Books imprint. Time is a factor, she concedes, but it’s not just about speed for this health-conscious registered nurse. It’s about “helping families eat less fast food by making food fast.”

Quick recipes for breakfast (smoothies and healthy combos), lunch (sandwiches, salads, and soups) and dinner (including a healthy portion of recipes for casseroles, pastas, and other main dishes) appear on its colorful pages with clear instructions, tantalizing photos, and a good index (150 pages in soft cover, $18.99).

Classic cooks with a traditional bent will appreciate Dining with the Prophets: Historic Recipes from the Lion House. The hardcover book from Deseret Book (2014) features three sections: favorite recipes of LDS prophets, pioneer recipes, and signature dishes from the Lion House restaurant, each section with its own table of contents.

(Who knew President Monson’s favorite is Swedish meatballs, or that President Hinckley liked tapioca pudding?)

More than a collection of popular dishes and recipes from the Lion House, it’s a culinary journey through the past. Pioneer staples like rice pudding, potato cakes, and fried scones appear alongside historic photographs of the Lion House and its furnishings for dining room and tabletop.

Comfort foods like chicken dumpling soup, cornbread, meatloaf, and carrot cake — delectably illustrated in color photos — are among the modern-day Lion House treasures.

Portraits of Latter-day prophets are included with a short anecdote and their favorite. That artistic content and the lack of a spiral binding make Dining with the Prophets an item for the library as much as the kitchen (118 pages, $19.99).

Really serious cooks/chefs who adore the whole process and don’t necessarily eschew coffee and alcohol will find serious recipes along with gorgeous photographs of the finished product in Allison Waggoner’s no-nonsense In the Kitchen (Front Table 2014).

The classically trained chef, who lives in the cold-winter land of Minnesota and has shared her work in magazines and on TV, now shares her nostalgic collection of recipes such as grilled lamb chops with herb pesto, croissant pudding, and peach bellinis in her first book (150 pages in hard cover, $29.99).

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About Laurie Williams Sowby

Laurie Williams Sowby has been writing since second grade and getting paid for it since high school. Her byline ("all three names, please") has appeared on more than 6,000 freelance articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online.

A graduate of BYU and a writing instructor at Utah Valley University for many years, she proudly claims all five children and their spouses as college grads.

She and husband, Steve, have served three full-time missions together, beginning in 2005 in Chile, followed by Washington D.C. South, then Washington D.C. North, both times as young adult Institute teachers. They are currently serving in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs

During her years of missionary service, Laurie has continued to write about significant Church events, including the rededication of the Santiago Temple by President Hinckley and the groundbreaking for the Philadelphia Temple by President Eyring. She also was a Church Service Missionary, working as a news editor at Church Magazines, between full-time missions.

Laurie has traveled to all 50 states and at least 45 countries (so far). While home is American Fork, Utah, Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have provided a comfortable second home.

Laurie is currently serving a fourth full-time mission with her husband in the New York Office of Public and International Affairs. The two previously served with a branch presidency at the Provo Missionary Training Center. The oldest of 18 grandchildren have been called to serve missions in New Hampshire and Brisbane, Australia.

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