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Cookbook Review: “All-Time Best Brunch” by America’s Test Kitchen

Many people don’t eat breakfast, but they will do brunch. Brunch is that wonderful meal that takes place instead of breakfast and lunch, taking place at an intermediate time, somewhere between 10 am and 3 pm. Therefore, you can have — on the same plate — eggs, bacon and a hamburger!

America’s Test Kitchen, publishers of Cook’s Illustrated (one of my favorite food magazines) came out with All-Time Best Brunch a couple of years ago, and it features a variety of dishes, beverages, and accents you can use to build a wonderful brunch for your family and friends.

Cookbook Review: "All-Time Best Brunch" by America's Test Kitchen

Summary of All-Time Best Brunch

If you ever thought of hosting a brunch, whether for a special occasion such as Easter or someone’s birthday or just wanted to make it a more regular occurrence for your family at home, All-Time Best Brunch provides you with tips, advice, and recipes to make it simple and special at the same time.

The book starts off with some tips and advice for hosting a beautiful late morning meal then gets right down to the recipes, which are organized using the following categories:

  • Eggs
  • Pancakes, French toast and waffles
  • Savory main dishes
  • Quiches, tarts and casseroles
  • Muffins, breads, etc.
  • Side dishes

It also provides charts of conversions and equivalents, in case you need to scale a recipe up or down, or need to make ingredient substitutions.

What Worked for Me

When you read the Introduction and first chapter, you get the impression this book is only for those who are hosting brunch as a party. However, when I looked at individual recipes, I found many served only four, which is much more reasonable if you want to serve brunch outside of a special occasion with company over. And even some of the dishes that serve 6 to 8 would make great leftovers, so you can find value in this cookbook even if you’re cooking for one or two.

The recipes are easy to read and to follow. And there is an index, making specific recipes easier to find.

I also really liked their approach to the concept of brunch. Their step-by-step guidelines for creating your perfect late-morning meal allows for plenty of creativity.

Because I received an advance copy in black and white and paperback, I can’t provide a complete commentary as I do with other titles where I receive the same book you would buy, however by perusing the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon, it looks like the full-color version is well designed with plenty of good photographs.

What Didn’t Work for Me

I wasn’t fond of the emphasis on hosting a brunch. I’ve sure there are many people would love to incorporate more brunch meals into their weeks who either live alone or with a significant other. It would be nice to acknowledge this application of the meal and to provide either recipes for two or at least tip on how to convert the recipe to a smaller number of servings.

What I’d Love to See in the Second Edition

The chapter titled “Come Over for Brunch” covers both advice for hosting a noteworthy affair, but also several recipes for beverages. If I were to work on the second edition of this book, I would break that into two chapters. The first expanding on the advice, including providing options and ideas for intimate brunches for two. And the second devoted to beverages.

Recommendation

I’m a big fan of Cook’s Illustrated and so had high expectations for this cookbook. I wasn’t disappointed. As is the brand’s style, the information is sound, allows for creativity, and easy to understand and follow. If you see more than one brunch in your future, this book could be a Godsend.

Rating for All-Time Best Brunch

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Specs

Full Title: All-Time Best Brunch
Author: America’s Test Kitchen
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: America’s Test Kitchen
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1945256605
ISBN-13: 978-1945256608

All-time best brunch cover

Pick up your copy on Amazon.com here.

NOTE: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you’ve read past book reviews, you’ll know that I don’t pull my punches when I believe they are warranted. I also try to provide balanced information so you can make your own decision to read or not read the book, even if you disagree with my opinion.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.