Did every family in Canada grow up with a Best of Bridge cookbook perched in their kitchen? I know mine did. When I moved to Japan, the only cookbook that made it into my suitcase was a Best of Bridge one. Lot of good that did me (good luck finding cream cheese or cream of mushroom soup in mid-90s Japan). Still, I remained loyal. After all these years, I know I’m not the only one who’s thrilled they’ve rebooted. The Family Slow Cooker is out on shelves and surprisingly, I adore it.
Well, it’s not so surprising, as I’m loyal and an Albertan, plus I know I can trust their recipes. Thing is, I’m not the slow cooker type. Kind of like I’m not the SUV type, except I have one. Or that I’m not a pet person. Bottom line: I didn’t want to like the slow cooker, but secretly, I quite fancy it.
Before I knew anything about slow cookery, my knowledge was limited to:
- Take a small ham
- Throw it in the slow cooker
- Add a bottle of beer (the 70s dark stubby type)
- Douse with canned pineapple
- Flick on some brown sugar
- Let it slow cooker for a spell
- In a few hours, dinner is served!
The Family Slow Cooker
Opening up The Family Slow Cooker, the latest Best of Bridge was a joy. For real. I’ve been known to read cookbooks in bed, typically as a sleep aid. I certainly didn’t expect to be up after midnight combing through each and every page.
Here’s what happens when you read The Family Slow Cooker – you become transported. To a simpler time. To your past. To when your parents held dinner parties with suburban neighbours and set out place cards.
The typography is EXACTLY the same. It’s comforting. This cookbook made me feel like I could trust these recipes. In the way I doubted Death to Dieters Chicken Lasagne a decade ago and it worked out beautifully, I know if I make their Ridiculous Easy Chicken Curry they’ve got my back.
Best of Bridge Cookbooks
So, yeah, Best of Bridge has evolved with the times. It was so nice to see some Indian, Israeli, North African and other mildly ethnic dishes in their new cookbook. (Korean-style beef short ribs scream slow cooker, but they’re absent, which was the only major bummer.) The most pleasant aspect of this cookbook is how they’ve updated their recipes. The tinned soup is gone and I didn’t notice any cereal. (There was a fair amount of cereal in the 80s.) You’re eating more real food with these recipes.
Their most popular recipe of all time – Hamburger Soup is also packaged up into a slow cooker friendly version. Same with Schwarties Potatoes! The day after cracking this cookbook open, I resuscitated my slow cooker from the basement. I braised beef. I roasted beets (just like they told me to) and everyone loved it. I can’t wait to brew up some Spiced Pineapple Tea (page 329) or try the Caramelized Onion Pasta Carbonara (page 237).
Win a Best of Bridge cookbook
If you love the Best of Bridge series as much as I do, you’ll love their latest cookbook. Want a copy for yourself? Simply comment below with your favourite Best of Bridge recipe before midnight, Wednesday, September 28, 2017 and I’ll randomly draw a winner from the entries. You can also promo this post on Facebook or Twitter, just tag me, so I can record your entry.
In case you’re wondering, my all time favourite Best of Bridge recipe is crab mousse. Nary a family celebration went by without this savoury dip at our table. Hey, Bridge ladies! I’d love to see you update this recipe without the canned mushroom soup and cream cheese in your next cookbook.