The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook

Last week we used the New Mayo cookbook – so I thought it would be fun to check out the old Mayo cookbook! The original. Going old school. When I pulled this one off the shelf I was a little disgusted by the amount of guck on the cover book jacket. I suppose that’s evidence that this book had a lot of use when I first picked it up – probably in 2001 or 2002. This is another early member of my cookbook collection and I definitely remember reading through the introduction to learn more about healthy cooking techniques as well as good baking substitutions. To this day, I always keep applesauce in the house. (And you should too! Especially if you have a dad who loves to stock your freezer with applesauce every fall.)

This was the first week of the summer that I’ve been legitimately home all day with H and C. My first week off the kids had drama camp and last week we were in Kansas, so I’ve had more time – and more meals – to prepare. To engage the kids a bit more in the process, I let them pick out the recipes.

I gave them sticky notes and they marked recipes they wanted in the same way I do each week. It was pretty entertaining to watch them work – and after cooking some of their choices, I have a much greater understanding of how they make selections. It has nothing to do with the actual ingredients – but everything to do with color. Is the food their favorite color? If so – then let’s make it. As we all discovered this week, there were some hits and some definite misses.

The Recipes
Roasted Red Potatoes with Chive Sauce
Herbed Carrot and Beet Salad
Curried Potato, Leek, and Apple Soup
Corn and Lima Bean Medley
Roasted Vegetable Fajitas
Fettuccine and Summer Tomatoes
Wild Rice and Chicken Salad
Spiced Muffins with Golden Applesauce
Quick Brown Bread
Papaya Agua Fresca
Banana-Chocolate Shake 

The Good
The Spiced Muffins BY FAR were the winners of the week. I actually made the recipe twice – H and C were obsessed with them. I also really liked the Wild Rice Chicken Salad. The kids were not interested, but Jeff came home for lunch that day and was impressed that I was using the Canadian wild rice he recently brought back from a fishing trip. The dressing had pineapple juice along with dijon mustard that gave a great kick and balance with the nuttiness of the wild rice. The papaya aqua fresca was quite refreshing, but the kids were more interested in sneaking a juicebox and abandoned their glasses basically untouched. Oh well – more for me!

The Bad
I wasn’t a fan of the carrot and beet salad. The beets were grated and raw, which is ok, but I prefer my beets roasted. Why mess with a good thing? The roasted vegetables were good, but “fajitas?” That was a joke. They were roasted with balsamic vinegar and served with a whole wheat tortilla and a little salsa. More like a veggie wrap – which is fine, but don’t talk with me about fajitas unless there is a little sizzle, a lot of lime, and plenty of cumin and mild chile. Of course, since we have 200+ pounds of beef in our freezer, I grilled some steak up to perk up our fajita dinner. H is currently a carnivore, I need to have some around. From a simple design aspect, I was pretty disappointed with the photography in the book. Perhaps we’re spoiled now with an abundance of “food porn” and beautifully photographed food on social media, but the book feels outdated. It’s definitely the OLD Mayo cookbook.

The Ugly.
I missed salt. Oh, did I miss salt. I followed directions for the recipes and didn’t make adjustments with salt or additional olive oil. After all, it is a cookbook with Mayo Clinic on the cover. Low salt, low fat. The curried soup was not good at all. Bland, if you can believe it. It actually led H to tell a white lie – she picked it (because it was yellow, of course) and then was afraid to admit that it wasn’t good. At that point, she concluded “yeah, it’s not poisonous, so I guess we have to eat it.” Edible, but not poisonous? Now that gets me excited about dinner. And the number of used muffin papers I found in the living room and under the dining room table on Tuesday was a bit nasty. Those two kids guzzled 9 muffins between them. Under the table, you wonder? That’s where C hides when he sneaks food.

The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook
Overall Rating – 2 out of 5 stars
I was originally inspired to focus on the healthy cooking/diet cookbooks by a friend who wondered if I’d actually take them on for the blog. Will the healthy books actually taste good? In this case – not so much. Bland city and average, at best. I can definitely see why a new Mayo cookbook was published in 2004 – it’s a lot better. The book and recipes really felt – and tasted – a bit out of date. It’s like pulling out your favorite jeans from 15 years ago and suddenly remembering why you put them away in the first place. The exception is applesauce muffins. Those were great and I’ll definitely make those again – probably even next week. With whole wheat, applesauce, and hardly any oil, I can’t complain too much that the kids are devouring them.

Next up – I’m going to start a “Cook the Cover” challenge to see how my covers compare with Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and Cooking Light. Not sure what my cookbook will be next week, but it will stay with the healthy/diet realm. I’ll need to burn off the hotdogs – and beers – that I’ll inevitably consume during our 4th of July bbq!

Don’t forget to follow our daily progress on Instagram or Tumblr under 99cookbooks!

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