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The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 Recipes + Lessons for a Hand-Crafted Life

by Tom Hudgens

$35.00 - hardcover - 6 7/​8" x 9 1/​2" - 608 pages

From the Introduction:

"Welcome to The Commonsense Kitchen!

In these pages, you'll find recipes for many American "comfort food" favorites: big breakfasts with eggs, bacon, pancakes, and grits; Southern and Southwestern dishes, including authentic New Mexico red and green chile sauces; a whole chapter on pies, including a thorough run-down on piecrust and the recipe for my Great-Aunt Lela's famous buttermilk pie. There are recipes for pinto beans, skillet cornbread, steak fried in beef tallow, pork chops marinated with fresh apple, and ten different versions of beef stew. I have included many of my mother's and grandmother's recipes: baked custard, cornmeal-fried summer squash, chicken enchiladas, Kentucky bourbon balls.

Alongside such old-fashioned dishes, there are many modern, lighter recipes: oatmeal, granola, and other healthy morning grains; lean meats and fish; and vegetables, soups, and salads galore. In fact, two of the largest chapters in the book are devoted entirely to vegetables: Hot Vegetables and Vegetable Soups, and Salads and Dressings. Both are arranged alphabetically by vegetable.

In keeping with the Deep Springs spirit of self-sufficiency, you'll learn how to churn fresh butter, bake homemade crackers, prepare a simple cheese from whole milk and vinegar...there's even a recipe for homemade soap.

Most of these recipes were developed in the busy Deep Springs kitchen, where there is little time for fussy preparations, little money for expensive or exotic ingredients, and little regard for food trends or food snobbery, but where a great appreciation for any good, soul-satisfying food abides. Deep Springs is the only place I know where a tobacco-chewing old mechanic from rural Oklahoma might be served black truffle risotto on the same day that a distinguished governmental scholar from France is served cherry Jell-O with canned fruit cocktail."

(outdoor tables, Deep Springs Boardinghouse, Summer 2007)
(the Deep Springs Garden, Summer 2006)

"...the more I learned the more I realized how very much one has to know before one is in-the-know at all."
--Julia Child, My Life in France

"Sometimes, for a moment, I taste the relief of letting this self fold gently into the next self, moment by moment, like eggs into batter."
--Susan Moon, from the essay "Where Did I Put My Begging Bowl?" published in Inquiring Mind, Spring 2009