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The Dairy Good Cookbook


Book Review by Nancy Brannon, Ph.D.

We spend a great deal of time and money providing quality feed and forages for our horses. This month we turn, again, to what makes quality “feed and forage” for the human caretakers of horses. Especially for the holiday feasting months, November and December, The Dairy Good Cookbook: Everyday Comfort Food from America’s Dairy Farm Families is a great place to find delicious and nutritious meal ideas.

Look at the food on your plate. Do you know where it’s been? The “farm to table” and community supported agriculture movements raise people’s awareness of where their food comes from, how it’s produced, and provides support for farmers, while the “local food” movement emphasizes eating food produced by local growers – because the fresher the better tasting and the better for you. This book helps us learn more about the people – and the cows – who provide food to us every day.

This book offers a glimpse of life on a dairy farm and features particular breeds of dairy cows and some outstanding members of each breed. Most folks know about Holsteins, the gentle black and white cows that dominate the dairy industry. Learn about Jersey cows, the prettiest dairy cows: soft brown cows with big dark eyes and white muzzles.

They were first imported to the U.S. from the British Isle of Jersey in the 1850s. Brown Swiss rank second in milk production, averaging about 2,200 gallons of milk a year per cow. The beautiful mahogany coloring in irregular color patches is the distinguishing physical feature of Ayrshires. They hail from County Ayr in Scotland, coming to the U.S. in the 1820s. Guernseys are known for their yellow-gold color milk, which results from a diet that is high in beta-carotene. They’re known as the “cheese breed.” There are Milking Shorthorns, who are cousins of Beef Shorthorns.

The Dairy Good Cookbook also profiles several dairy farm families around the nation who make milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and other favorite dairy foods. Individual farmers share their stories behind the recipes. These farm families have special relationships with their cows, who are sometimes treated as almost family, plus we get a glimpse into the life of a modern dairy farm. No vacation time here! Most of the families are multi-generation dairy farmers and have this type of farm life “in their blood,” they say.

The chapters and recipes are organized to represent a typical day on a farm – from Sunrise Breakfast recipes to After-Dinner Desserts with After Chores Snacks in between. There are several breakfast smoothies (like frosty pineapple orange) and hearty combos, like pepper and egg brunch bake. For lunch, try Pearline’s Salmon Stew or, after Thanksgiving, Turkey Burritos with Cheddar or Rita’s Easy Quiche. My favorite is Curry Chicken Salad. There are some delicious salads in this section, too. For an After-Chores Snack try the Vanilla Iced Mochaccino, and for the December holidays, there’s Vanilla Eggnog. Use left-over turkey in the artichoke-studded Turkey-Vegetable Casserole. There’s Granny’s Chicken Pie and Apricot-Dijon Pork Chops with Potato Pancakes and Herbed Sour Cream. Have you ever had Roasted Sweet Potato Empanadas, or Beet and Butter Lettuce Salad with Sour Cream-Mustard Dressing? What’s for dessert? Baked Apples with Cinnamon Yogurt Topping, Lemon-Berry Crepes, or Sweet Potato Cheesecake. An alternative to Boston Cream Pie is Pear Vanilla Cream Cake with Chocolate Glaze. There are plenty more chocolate recipes. Hungry yet? There is even a recipe for Tail Waggin’ Dog Biscuits to feed your favorite canine.

Where can you find family farm produced dairy products in your area? JD Country Milk, from Russellville, KY is sold in several grocery stores in West Tennessee [visit]. It comes in re-useable glass bottles; no plastic! I recommend the Amish butter and cheeses at Backerman’s Bakery in Whiteville, TN and the cheeses from Sweetwater Valley Farm in Phildadelphia, TN [visit:]. There are probably more in your neighborhood; you just have to look for them.

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