Saturday, August 5, 2017

Review: Dishing Up New Jersey by John Holl

Title: Dishing Up® New Jersey: 150 Recipes from the Garden State
Author: John Holl
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: May 17th 2016
Source: Netgalley/Storey Publishing, LLC

Book Description:

New Jersey native John Holl searched from Sussex County to Cape May to find the best recipes New Jersey has to offer, and the result is this rich and unique cookbook celebrating the foods, flavors, cultures, and traditions of the Garden State. These 150 recipes include dishes featuring New Jersey’s own produce — tomatoes, corn, cranberries, blueberries, apples — along with deep-fried boardwalk treats, late-night diner bites, and recipes contributed by casinos, bison and dairy farms, food trucks, old-school delis, famous bakeries, and more. You’ll find Pork Roll Surprise, Cucumber Gazpacho, Ukrainian Holubtsi, Funnel Cake at Home, Tomato and Onion Salad, Jersey Green Clam Chowder, Sunday Gravy, Saltwater Taffy, Traditional Amish Chili, Classic Lawrenceville Mac & Cheese, Jersey Disco Fries, Fresh Jersey Corn Cakes, Honey Thyme Caramel, Black and Blue Cobbler — and a classic Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich. Beautifully photographed, this collection is the ultimate tribute to New Jersey’s best.



Three and a half stars.

So, fun fact. I don't know anything about New Jersey, or the food that's eaten there. I'm a midwestern girl, so this was quite the informative book. I will say that at the very least, I know more now than I did before!

The book is divided by a combination of course and ingredients. Sections include "Rise and Shine", "Sweet Treats", and "Down the Shore". This is the way I like my cookbooks to be organized, so this is a big plus from me.

Each recipe has numbered steps, which I think makes this book an accessible one to those who aren't used to being in the kitchen. There's also a ton of fun facts sprinkled in this book, and the commentary that Holl provides is pretty funny- you'll actually want to read the text of the cookbook and not just the recipes.

What I thought was cool about this book is that it includes recipes from some in-state venues, as well as a festival and restaurant/resource guide. It shows a certain state pride, like "hey, don't just make this at home, come here and try it yourself!" It's inviting. There are also recipes from a BUNCH of different cultures, which I appreciated because it shows how diverse the phrase "New Jersey Cooking" can be depending on who you ask. Recipes from the Ukraine, India, Ireland, and more all are included.

Another big plus for this book is the difference in the type of recipes listed. There are some healthy dishes, some that are paleo, and some that are veggie friendly. It's a nice mix.

I do have some hang ups, though. There were nowhere near enough photos for my preference, which was a bit of a let down. Especially because so many things sounded SO GOOD. There are also quite a few really basic recipes in here, like deviled eggs and iced tea, that are just classic renditions. I'm sure they'll be useful to some people, but they were skip-able to me.

Some of the dishes that I would love to make from this book include Thanksgiving Inspired Chicken and Waffles, Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese Soup, and Limoncello Cheesecake.

This is another cookbook that I think is good for both beginners and the more seasoned chef, no pun intended. If you depend on photo finishes, be wary. It's a funny book with delicious sounding recipes and a good dose of Americana.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I'd love to try the chicken and waffles, I love Thanksgiving inspired meals!