Cookbook Review: The Heirloomed Kitchen (With Recipes)

by | May 2, 2024


Picture this, a well-manicured lawn, huge shade trees, a warm gentle summer breeze, spectacular gardens, beautifully dressed people milling about, and a large tent covering all types of delicious food. Does it sound like a garden party from days gone by?  I hope it does.

Photo: Donna Sanders

Photo: Donna Sanders

But, what type of food is under that tent? In this case, traditional Southern food prepared from recipes handed down generation to generation. It’s Southern hospitality at its finest. I recently had the opportunity to review Gibbs Smith Books‘ new cookbook The Heirloomed Kitchen by Ashley Schoenith and discovered what Southern cooking is all about. Let our journey begin.

Our first stop begins with the cover. If you shut your eyes and run your fingers over it you will feel the raised letters of the title. This detail creates a touch of intrigue and whimsy. The classic white plate garnished with figs evokes a sense of peace and tranquility creating the perfect mood.

Image of women on a plate with a folded napkin and spoon and knife.

Photo: Heidi Harris

Our journey continues with an introduction written by Schoenith. I totally love it. She writes about how food and love are synonymous. Ashley’s fondest memories came from cooking with her family while growing up and continuing this tradition with her own family. 

Double image. Once side cooking equipment and second side filled mason jars.

Photo: Heidi Harris

Let’s move to what is probably the most important room in the house – the kitchen. Every cookbook I have reviewed or have used always begins with kitchen tips and basic dos and don’ts. The Heirloomed Cookbook gives you all of this but takes it one step further. Ashely tells you what cooking equipment and utensils are kitchen musts and which basic ingredients to always have on hand. There are some things you may not have thought of and a trip to the grocery store, like the one I now need to take, will be on your to-do-list.

Inside of antique china cabinet with women's picture and china.

Photo: Heidi Harris

Time to leave the kitchen and head to the dining room. This part of the journey made me a bit sad. Overall, I think the idea of a formal dining room with lovely china and linen are from days gone by. Today’s hectic lifestyle just does not warrant it. Ashely made me realize just how important continuing this elegant tradition is. Honestly, it makes me want to recreate what use to be my formal dining room.

Four images of various recipe cards. Background 1 - recipe card and tea cups, background 2 - fork holding recipe card with pinwheel cookies, background 3 - lady holding recipe card, and background 4 - recipe card with flour mixture.

Photo: Heidi Harris

We are talking about a cookbook so let’s talk recipes. Ashley’s recipes come from her grandmother and great grandmother and are written on note cards or scraps of paper. I have some recipes written like that and they are priceless. The down side is these wonderful cooks sometimes did not put to paper exactly all the information or proportions needed so reading between the lines may be necessary. This does not deter Ashely. I get the feeling that one of her mottos is or is close to: Cooking is an adventure and all you have to do is try and not be afraid to fail.

Classic liquor bottles with a brown background.

Photo: Heidi Harris

Four images. Image 1 - person holding recipe card. Image 2 - two ice buckets with mint. Image 3 - bottle of Jim Bean with glasses and bowl of ice. Image 4 - mason jar with mint leaves and liquid.

Photo: Heidi Harris

The Heirloomed Cookbook is broken down into nine categories. Obviously, it has all your standards but one category did jump out at me – Classic Cocktails & Drinks. I found it utterly delightful that a cookbook tells you how to make a classic Gin & Tonic, Bloody Mary and an Old-Fashioned. I can just picture the guests at my garden party walking around carrying a Mint Julep.

As you peruse the recipes you will notice that they are not very complicated and really do lend themselves well to day-to-day cooking. But what really stands out is just how easy the directions are to follow. They are broken down into the perfect number of steps needed to make them flow without making your eye go back and read the steps over and over. Thank you, Ashley.

I always like to include a few recipes in my cookbook reviews, but this became a real challenge. I kind of took the easy way out and gave the publisher a list of 10 I wanted to share and asked for their help whittling it down. Drum roll please! And the winners are: Nostalgic Whoopie Pies for a sweet taste that may transport you back to the good ole south, or how about Homemade Chicken Pot Pie with its creamy, hearty filling and buttery crust that is sure to be a crowd pleaser and last but not least Brie Sausage and Sage Casserole, the perfect make-ahead breakfast casserole for a special holiday morning or brunch.

The beautiful cover, high quality paper, amazing illustrations, simple recipes and easy to follow instructions makes The Heirloomed Kitchen a must for the home cook. And now that this review is done it’s time to move this cookbook straight into my kitchen and hit the grocery store.