Welcome to my Cast Iron: The Ultimate Cookbook review.
Do you like the idea of having a physical book with recipes specifically designed to make in your cast iron cookware?
Well, that’s what you’ll find in this cookbook.
My daughter bought me one for my birthday last year.
And I’ve been using it ever since.
So, I thought it was time I wrote a review.
You can read it below.
Cast Iron: The Ultimate Cookbook Review
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using the links in this article, I receive a small commission.
Product: Cast Iron Cookbook (hardcover)
Author: Rachael Narins
Publisher: Cider Mills Press
Price: See Amazon
Size: 7.25 x 1.8 x 10.5 inches
Weight: 4.06 lbs.
Other: Photographs, Cast Iron History, Cleaning and Care Guide + more
What Is In This Cookbook?
This cookbook is much more than just recipes. Although, there are plenty of those (over 600 pages). The book starts with an overview of cast iron and its history and images of the cookware today. From there, you’ll find over three-hundred recipes for breakfast, breads, sides, meat and seafood, vegetables, and desserts. Next is an Industry Insiders section, including big brand names such as Lodge, Le Creuset, Stargazer, and FINEX. The cookbook ends with a section on cleaning and care and includes a page for collectors on how to spot fake cast iron. Plus, there are a few pages on outdoor cooking. And, of course, the index.
A Little About the Author, Rachel Narins
In addition to being an author, Rachael Narins is an accomplished chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants and cooked privately for many top athletes in Los Angeles.
She has worked on film sets both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
Additionally, she’s worked with many national clients to develop recipes and consumer products.
Rachael is the founder of Chicks With Knives. This business focuses on food writing and photography for social media as well as recipe development and consulting.
She’s been writing professionally for more than ten years for the LA Times and LA Weekly publications. And has contributed to Simply Recipes, Serious Eats, Allrecipes.com, Food and Wine Magazine, and more. You can read some of Rachael’s LA Weekly articles.
Her education includes California Culinary Academy and the University of the California Master Food Preserver Program.
Rachael teaches a weekly cooking class to 4th and 5th graders in Manhattan Beach, CA, on Reinforcing Cultural Identity through food.
She is also a UCCE master gardener and uses her skills to teach students in disadvantaged communities how to grow their own food.
When asked what her favorite spice was, she didn’t hesitate. She said her absolute favorite spice is cardamon with dill and allspice tied for second.
Answering Your Questions
Do the pictures match the recipes?
Not always. Each recipe has a corresponding photo. Although the photographs are beautiful, they don’t necessarily look like they belong to the recipe as written. For example, when I made the Vegetable Frittata, I could see the vegetables poking through the top. But in the picture, you can’t see any vegetables. Other people have pointed this out as well. However, I can’t speak to most of the photographs as I have not made most of the recipes or studied the pictures in detail.
Is the cookbook enjoyable to look at and read?
Yes, and I think most people would agree. It’s a beautiful cookbook with many features. One person said he tends to read cookbooks like novels, and Cast Iron: The Ultimate Cookbook is his favorite “novel” so far. Some people will enjoy the history while others will like looking at the pictures. And many will find the cleaning and care section helpful. If you like cast iron, this is a fantastic cookbook to look at and read.
Are the recipes gourmet or more simple?
There are a fair number of gourmet-type recipes, in my opinion, but also many simple ones. Most of the ingredients are familiar to people who do a lot of cooking, but some recipes call for many items. A better description might be unusual or diverse. On the other hand, there are some simple recipes too. Crispy and Tender Asparagus only has five or six ingredients and two steps.
Are the recipes easy to follow?
It depends on what you are used to when following directions for a recipe. I’m used to very broken-up steps, and Rachael’s are often clumped together. So, for me, they can be somewhat confusing, but others think they are easy to follow. I would say they are easy to understand, but not everyone will find them easy to follow.
Is the cleaning and care section thorough?
Yes. It goes into detail about seasoning, stripping, and maintaining. There is also a section on pre-seasoned and enameled cast iron. There are directions on restoring cast iron and a section on outdoor cooking. Plus, some standard accessories and tools one might find helpful. And history and culture are sprinkled throughout the cookbook.
What kinds of recipes are in this cookbook
There are all kinds of recipes in this cookbook. You will find many cultural dishes including, Indian, African, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. But you will also see some of the usual cast iron foods, such as cornbread, fried chicken, and steak. Sometimes you’ll make a sauce that will add uniqueness to an otherwise ordinary dish. At the top of the page, there is a short description or interesting fact about the recipe. Most of the recipes call for a 10 or 12-inch skillet.
If you would like to read about the first time I made a frittata, click the link below. It was a recipe from Cast Iron: The Ultimate Cookbook.
RELATED > > > > > Why Do Frittatas Stick to My Cast Iron Skillet? – 3 Possible Reasons
What Others Are Saying
Overall, others are praising this cookbook. They say things such as:
- The pictures are beautiful and cause me to want to make the recipe
- I love the variety of recipes
- I enjoyed reading all the history
- The industry insiders section was interesting
- This cookbook has to be a labor of love
- The instructions are easy to follow
- I just like reading this cookbook and looking at the pictures
- This cookbook is impressive
- I appreciate the cleaning and care section
- We use recipes from this cookbook 2-3 times a week, and they are all delicious
- This is my new favorite cookbook
- The recipes are great, but the photos are outstanding
- I like that it’s hardcover
- The three ribbons mean I can mark several recipes I want to try
- Most recipes call for ingredients you already have in your kitchen
Really, the only negative is that some of the pictures don’t match the recipe. And one person was disappointed that there wasn’t a recipe for the photo on the book’s cover.
What Do I Think?
I like this cookbook but not everything about it. I’ve made a few recipes that turned out well and a few that didn’t. One that turned out pretty well was the roasted cauliflower.
I don’t put myself in the category of someone who enjoys cooking new dishes all the time. Therefore, it may take me a while to find the recipes I like.
It’s a bit overwhelming to have so many recipes to choose from. I know that’s what many people like about it, though.
On the other hand, I like the photos with each recipe. Even if a few don’t entirely match, they are close enough.
The things I like most are: it was a gift from my daughter, it has three ribbons for marking, the photographs with each recipe as well as having simple recipes to choose from, and all the other stuff that comes with the cookbook.
However, I don’t particularly like the way Rachael writes out the instructions, the size of the cookbook, and any complicated recipes.
But, overall, I do recommend it because I think it appeals to anyone who likes recipes and cooking with cast iron. It may even appeal to those who just enjoy looking at and reading about food made in cast iron.
- This cookbook gets high reviews
- Rachael Narins is qualified to write this, and it shows throughout
- The massive variety of recipes
- All the features that make it more than just a cookbook
- The beautiful photography throughout
- Three ribbons for marking
- Most recipes call for ingredients you already have
- The pictures don’t always match the recipe
- Some may find it overwhelming or too big
- Racheal may not have made each recipe
I hope you have enjoyed reading my Cast Iron: The Ultimate Cookbook review.
And learning about Rachael Narins and the cookbook she wrote.
It’s impressive that there are so many recipes, beautiful photos, and other features.
If you like cooking in cast iron and trying new recipes, you can’t go wrong.
But if you would rather keep it simple or small, this cookbook might not be for you.
However, I do agree with the person who said Rachael’s cookbook is a labor of love.
And I do recommend it.
If you are interested in getting this cookbook, or even just looking at a few pictures inside of it before deciding…