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March 27, 2014 / Leslie

Book Review – Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors

Bold: A Cookbook of Big FlavorsBold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors
by Susanna Hoffman, Victoria Wise

Genre: Food / Cooking
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Publish Date: December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback | 416 pages
Rating: 4½ of 5

From the Publisher

From the culinary team of Susanna Hoffman and Victoria Wise, who between them have authored or co-authored more than fifteen cookbooks, Bold brings together the beloved American tradition of delicious, plate-filling meals with the lively global flavors that infuse our culture and cuisine. This is comfort food that’s been given an exuberant 21st-century makeover.

My Thoughts

The authors of Bold want us to know that there is such a thing as American Cuisine – and they don’t mean hotdogs, burgers and fries. Foods from many other countries have influenced American dishes and we have incorporated many of their ingredients and flavors into our food to create something uniquely our own. When I look at my favorite recipes I can see the Italian, Mexican and Chinese influence; three of my favorites ethnic foods but mostly adapted to my American palate.

Poultry_IMG_1170The title of the book was a little misleading in that I was expecting bold flavors to be spicy dishes, but instead I found recipes that used flavors in a bold, imaginative way, well beyond the conventional manner of preparing traditional American dishes. The authors added a freshness to familiar recipes, and there are over 250 of them to choose from in this book. Everything from snack, starters, soups, meats, vegetables and desserts.

Along with the recipes is a wealth of information in the form of introductions to the dishes, some background and history, and the country that influenced the recipe. There are also sidebars, sometimes more than one, accompanying each recipe. The sidebars are diverse and informative and cover a range of topics: The history of the hamburger; why we call a dutch oven a ‘dutch oven’; features on different nuts, herbs, and spices – there is much to learn about each of them; how curly parsley ended up as a garnish and Italian flat parsley gets all the glory; a brief history of Coke and Pepsi and the use of cola as a marinade; plus many, many more facts and tidbits of interesting information.

CrispyOvenChickenThis is a cookbook that is meant to be read. If you are looking for photos and choose your recipes visually, then you will be disappointed in the presentation of the book. Illustrations are two-color, hand drawn and whimsical, but there are no photos of ingredients or finished dishes.

While I am tempted to say this is a book best suited for experienced cooks that do not need a lot of photos and guidance, that’s not really true. Many of the recipes are not difficult, the instructions are detailed, and most of the ingredients are easy to find, especially if you are near a larger city. If you’re not sure this is the right book for you, try Amazon’s Look Inside feature, download a Kindle sample or flip through a copy at a library. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Crispy Oven Chicken

Chicken is always a big hit in my house so the first recipe I tried was Crispy Oven Chicken. It was quick and easy, and tasted delicious. Next up will be Parmesan and Cracker-Crusted Chicken, then a few veggie recipes and definitely this summer I will make Zucchini Fritters.

And now, Crispy Oven Chicken:

Oven Fried Chicken


• 4 pounds of chicken (about 8 pieces)
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
• ½ teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika

Place chicken pieces in a dish in one layer. Pour buttermilk over them, cover, and set aside in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

When ready to cook let chicken come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet with butter.

Place four, salt and paprika on a large plate and mix with a fork. Remove chicken pieces from buttermilk shaking off the excess. Coat each piece with the mixture. Place skin side down without touching each other on the baking sheet.

Place chicken in the oven and cook until lightly golden on bottom, 20 minutes. Turn and continue baking until golden on the bottom, 15 minutes. Turn once more and cook until crisp and sizzling, 5 minutes.

Transfer to a platter and serve.

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Source: Review copy provided by Workman Publishing
© 2014 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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Leave a Comment
  1. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Mar 27 2014 5:22 am

    My mom used buttermilk a lot, and I’ve never purchased it! (You chicken meal looks good and sounds easy) I think this looks like a book worth browsing –love cookbooks.


  2. Mary / Mar 27 2014 6:11 am

    This cookbook sounds great – like one I’d use! Thanks for telling us about it. The chicken looks delish!


  3. Suko / Mar 27 2014 11:27 am

    The chicken looks so delicious! The cookbook sounds wonderful, Leslie.


  4. irene / Mar 27 2014 11:59 am

    I’m always open to new twists, especially chicken


  5. sagustocox / Mar 27 2014 1:25 pm

    I’m always looking for cookbooks…but I would have to check this out in person first before buying it.


  6. BermudaOnion / Mar 27 2014 4:23 pm

    I will admit to choosing recipes from photos but still think I need to check out this cookbook.


  7. Beth F / Mar 29 2014 7:04 am

    As you may remember from my review of this book, I was disappointed in it. We found the dishes to be only just okay. I love Workman’s cookbooks, so maybe my expectations were too high. We didn’t find find the flavors to be bold (and I don’t mean just from hot peppers).


  8. Sarah @ Sarah's Book Shelves / Mar 29 2014 1:56 pm

    Yum – that chicken looks delicious! And I think a perfectly roasted chicken is one of the most underrated dishes out there.


  9. Diane La Rue (@bookchickdi) / Mar 29 2014 2:35 pm

    Great review here! I have this book but haven’t yet looked at it in detail. I’m going to make this chicken dish, it looks fabulous.


  10. topazshell / Mar 30 2014 3:10 am

    I enjoyed reading your post. I have tried oven fried chicken. I thought it tasted far better than on top of the stove fried chicken. I’ve never been good at frying chicken. There is a lot of room for improvement. So, I felt happy to find a oven fried way. Glad you like it too.


  11. Michelle / Mar 30 2014 2:31 pm

    I like the style of this cookbook judging from your photos. I will save this recipe for the next time I have a farm-fresh chicken ready.


  12. Couscous & Consciousness / Mar 31 2014 9:47 pm

    I remember reading about this book when Beth reviewed it a while back. After seeing this amazing looking chicken, that book is more on my radar than ever. We love chicken around here, and paprika is one of our favourite seasonings, so I will definitely be making this in the near future.


  13. Laurie C / Apr 5 2014 10:35 am

    I don’t care about photos in my cookbooks, but I don’t feel compelled to get this one. I do want some of that delicious-looking Crispy Oven Chicken, though!


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