Pros: Time-saving mix recipes; some delicious recipes
Cons: At least one glaring mistake; I was hoping for more versatile mixes
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review also published on Epinions.com.
Make-a-Mix is a great concept cookbook. It provides do-it-yourself recipes for mixes that you can then later turn into cooked dishes at a moment’s notice. Ranging from slice-and-bake sugar cookies, to gravy mix, to a sweet quick-bread mix, you’ll find everything from breakfast to dessert to main-dish meat mixes. The cover advertises 306 recipes made from 67 mixes.
The layout of the recipes is fairly clear, although there’s something about the font and placement of the “makes…” portion (the part of the mix recipe that points you to the other pages in the cookbook where you’ll find recipes that use it) that makes it easy to overlook. There are no photos; most of these recipes are relatively simple, so that isn’t a huge deal in my opinion, but I know for some folks that’s a deal-stopper.
Somehow I got the impression some of these recipes would be more versatile than they were. For instance, the cornbread mix makes a plain cornbread and corn dogs; there are no recipe variants. For a book founded on the principle of making things from mixes I guess I just expected them to want to showcase the versatility of those mixes as much as possible; after all, I don’t see the point in keeping a single-purpose mix around for most things—I doubt many people constantly make a single type of brownies or cornbread over and over. On the other hand, some of these are fairly versatile, such as the sweet quickbread mix, which can be used to make anything from banana-nut bread to zucchini bread.
The one glaring omission we came across was in the “Our Best Brownies” recipe. For a recipe with a name like that you’d think the recipe would be carefully kitchen-tested and double-checked for accuracy, but alas, we quickly found that there was just no way you could make a brownie batter out of the mix with the amount of liquid provided in the recipe—it was far too little, and it seemed clear an ingredient had been omitted. We were able to add enough liquid to make it come out decently, but the brownies weren’t particularly amazing. Luckily the cornbread recipe makes up for it in terms of quality, particularly if you add some fresh corn kernels, a little shredded cheese, and some cayenne.
This is an excellent concept that has been decently executed, but I wouldn’t run out and recommend it to all of my friends.