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208 pages
Mar 2006
WaterBrook Press

Food That Says Welcome: Simple Recipes to Spark the Spirit of Hospitality

by Barbara Smith

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


Here’s a cookbook sure to please everyone. Written by popular Christian singing star Michael W. Smith’s Mama, Barbara Smith, Food That Says Welcome is a treasury of simple, imaginative, delicious recipes for preparing ahead of time so you can sit down and actually enjoy your family and guests during the meal. In the New Testament, both Paul and Peter encourage being “given to hospitality,” and this cookbook is certainly an aid to this Christian grace. It is also a nice resource for those who just find joy in cooking, eating, and enjoying other people

Food That Says Welcome includes recipes for beverages, appetizers, breads, brunch, salads, soups, entrees, side dishes, and sweets, plus lists of substitutions, equivalent measures, Barbara Smith's favorite hints, and a word from her about being a Christian hostess. Each chapter begins with a Scripture, some brief anecdotal information, and a photo from the Smith family. Each easy-to-understand recipe ends with a list of items to buy and a pantry checklist. I found these pantry checklists are useful for making a list of items that should be found on your shelf. The ingredients used cover a wide range of foods, but are available in most super markets. Sprinkled throughout are “Hospitality Notes,” such as which cakes freeze well and how to brown coconut in a microwave. When I tried these recipes I found them accurate, tasty, and amiable to my own particular additions and rearrangements.

Our family loves bread, and Food That Says Welcome includes several nice yeast and quick bread recipes. Strawberry Bread, baking soda risen and redolent with cinnamon and sliced strawberries, is appetizing for breakfast especially when accompanied with Barbara’s Sausage Breakfast Casserole, a mixture of sausage, cheese, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, eggs and more, quickly baked in your oven while baking the Strawberry Bread. Another nice breakfast or brunch recipe is the offspring of a pizza and a BLT: the succulent, cheesy Bacon Tomato Strata. This takes a little longer to prepare, but is one of Barbara’s ‘prepare-the-night-before-and-bake-just before-serving’ recipes.

Still on the strawberry theme, a pleasing luncheon combination is Strawberry and Mixed Green Salad with its unique dressing flavored with strawberry jam and pepper, and Kentucky Hot Brown, which starts with slices of French bread upon which are piled turkey and other ingredients, then topped with a creamy cheese sauce. Want dessert with that? Try the easily-made, yummy Oreo Cake. And for dinner we can have French Onion Soup, Ravioli Lasagna accompanied by Roasted Asparagus, followed by any one of Barbara’s assortment of mouth-watering crème pies (perhaps Italian Chocolate). If you are hungry in between times, you might try one of the several salsas, apples with a special cream cheese dip, or Chicken Fingers dipped in honey and horseradish. And, to go back to the strawberries, don’t forget the Favorite Strawberry Punch, which combines lemonade, frozen strawberries, and ginger ale into a thirst-quenching, senses-delighting drink.

Several old favorites are found in the collection, such as Lemon/Lime Creamy Salad, Southern Potato Salad, Cream Chicken and Biscuits, Herbed New Potatoes, and Pecan Pie. That old friend Meat Loaf is in this book, but with Barbara’s own special twist; and you will also find the Amish favorite, Ham Loaf. Particularly pleasing to me is a recipe for Salt Cracker Candy. I once tasted this scrumptious confection (albeit, made with pretzels) at a Church dinner. The lady who made it assured me it could be made also with crackers and Chinese crispy noodles. She gave me the recipe, which, since it was not nailed down, I promptly lost. Now, I have this luscious recipe again.

Well worth its price, this friendly, useful cookbook, Food That Says Welcome, will make a good addition to your kitchen bookshelf. It is fun to cook with, as well as sit down and read for inspiration in further cooking. I recommend it for both novice and accomplished cooks, as well as rushed-off-their-feet and all-the-time-in-the-world cooks. – Donna Eggett, Christian Book

Book Jacket:

Make Your Friends and Family Feel Welcome, One Meal at a Time.

"Welcome to my home as we share life and laughter around the table. It means sharing my life in such a way that there is always room for one more."–Barbara Smith

Some people naturally have the gift of hospitality, instinctively creating inviting, mouth-watering meals and a warm environment that assures guests, “We’re glad you’re here.” Fortunately, says food expert Barbara Smith, the rest of us have the same potential to make guests feel nurtured, and here she offers an unforgettable, not-to-be-missed treasury of recipes, tips, and how-to’s for everyone with the spiritual gift of hospitality–and for all the rest of us who want to look like we do.

In Food That Says Welcome you’ll learn to:

• Make “welcome” food that is healthy and easy to prepare.

• Create an atmosphere that says to your guests, “You are special.”

• Make hospitality your ministry and service.

The mother of Grammy Award winner Michael W. Smith, Barbara has cooked for and entertained numerous celebrities–extending to them the same warmth and exuberance as to her large family. Learn what makes Barbara Smith’s meals and outreach so rave-worthy and discover how you can invoke the same spirit of hospitality in your own home and kitchen in Food That Says Welcome.