T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks Cookbook Review

 T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks Cookbook Review

Title: T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks: Cooking with Two Texans in Siberia and the Russian Far East (Great American Cooking Series)
Author: Sharon Hudgins
Published: May 15, 2018, University of North Texas Press
No. of Pages: 448
Cover Price: $39.95 Hardcover, $31.96 Kindle

T-Bone Whacks and Caviar Snacks: Cooking with Two Texans in Siberia and the Russian Far East is an excellent installment in the diverse Great American Cooking Series. The author, Sharon Hudgins and her husband Tom, lived in Siberia, teaching English at universities there, and learned that the food of Siberia is varied and delicious. Who would even guess that Siberia has food with an Asian influence.

This delightful book is not only a cookbook, but also a fascinating memoir. If you don’t happen to be in the mood to cook, it’s perfect to curl up with in a comfortable chair and read. Since many of the recipes in the book were developed or collected from Hudgins’ friends in Siberia, which is definitely ultra-foreign to most of us, her vignettes and stories will keep most of us reading for hours (until we get hungry, and make one of the dozens of delicious recipes in the book). There are also recipes with Tex-Mex influences, since the author is a Texan.

The first recipe I tried was Savory Buckwheat Kasha, which I adapted to my rice cooker. I also found that it works in the Instant Pot; it makes a great side dish to serve with grilled meats, poultry, or fish. It can be served as a substitute to rice pilaf. Trans-Siberian Chicken Salad is good and different, and a few other recipes that will appeal to most are Russian Crêpes ( Blinchiki ), Tom’s Texas Chili, and Roasted T-Bone “Whacks.” There is a delicious Garbanzo salad, and an excellent recipe for Braised Red Cabbage. “Salmon in a Coat” is both garlicky and moist, and there are recipes for traditional Russian Small Savory Pies ( Pirozhki ) and time-consuming, but worth it Siberian Beef And Pork Dumplings ( Pel’meni ).

This isn’t a perfect cookbook. While there are black and white pictures of local color, there are no photographs of the dishes. The book is quite pricy, even in the Kindle version, and while there is a lot of information and dozens of mouthwatering recipes, the high price and lack of photos will probably make it prohibitive for many cookbook collectors.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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