Imagine the recipes you’ve gathered from magazines, newspapers, box labels, and friends assembled into an easy-to-read, well-organized compendium. Such is Nancy Rezendes’ cookbook, which takes family favorites out of the messy recipe box and packages them into a large print version for the visually impaired.
Assuring readers that “life is not compromised” for the legally blind cook, Rezendes offers solutions and skills for individuals with functional vision in the kitchen. Safety tips include proper lighting, washing and labeling knives, and the use of brightly colored tape or “bumpdots” on measuring cups and stove dials. She directs cooks to consult the National Library Service, large print computer printing companies, and catalogs where many items and support may be found.
While recipes are not innovative, they are dyed-in-the-wool, food industry classics covering the gamut of home cooking a la Betty Crocker. No fancy techniques involved, and no food trends here. She aims for basic ease of preparation, with a preference for recipes that depend on canned soups, bottled dressing, and sauces. Bisquick or box-based cakes, puddings, and casseroles along with prepared eggs, frozen fruits, dairy whip, and other convenience foods play prominently. Chili Chip Casserole, E-Z Dump Cake, Tater Tot Hot Dish, and Magic Chicken Pot Pie are just some of the classic, off-the-label recipes included.
The cookbook contains no index. Chapters are organized alphabetically by course, key ingredient, or cooking technique (“Appetizers,” “Bread,” “Confections,” “Crock Pot” and so on) , and recipes are listed alphabetically within chapters. No notes or folksy narrative accompany recipes, but encouraging quotations, from Plato to Helen Keller, act as fillers between them.
Rezendes creates an empowering gift for the visually impaired who love to cook; she also serves up heaps of gratitude to the generations of cooks who shared their recipes. While this cookbook targets the legally blind, it will be equally appreciated and utilized by any home cook who seeks a variety of nostalgic, less-than-health-conscious dishes.