"The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Cookbook," from Oxmoore House

Pros: Yummy, easy recipes; clear format
Cons: Lack of shrimpy information; silly theme
Rating: 4 out of 5

First published 5/31/2003

My husband likes shrimp a lot more than I do, and for years he’s been trying to find or recreate a particular sauce that he once had with coconut shrimp. The first recipe we made out of Oxmoor House’s “The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Cookbook” was their coconut fried shrimp, and we decided to make the sauce found on the following page, an apricot sauce, that was meant to go with a different fried shrimp recipe.

Lo and behold, it was the sauce! Okay, it was dressed up a little differently. But it was the right basic flavors. I think that was when we decided that this cookbook was going to be staying in our permanent collection.

I have a confession to make, though: I don’t like shrimp. At least, I don’t think I’ve really liked more than one or two of the shrimp recipes I’ve ever had. I know shrimp are healthy and all, but the texture just bugs me and the taste isn’t much better.

Yet somehow, I’ve really enjoyed every recipe we’ve made out of this cookbook. The Coconut Fried Shrimp was fabulous (and surprisingly easy!). The Creole Shrimp Jambalaya was absolutely delicious (although it’s better reheated than fresh), and the Tangy Honeyed Shrimp was so wonderfully flavorful that I couldn’t get enough of it.

Any cookbook that can take an ingredient I usually don’t like and turn it into something I look forward to has my attention!

These are recipes collected by Oxmoor House from Southern Living’s test kitchens, but they’ve put a bit of a spin on them. The subtitle of the book is “Recipes & Reflections from Forrest Gump,” and there are various quotes from the movie in here as well as a forward “signed” by Forrest Gump. To be honest, I don’t really care for the theme. But it’s easy to ignore it in favor of the recipes themselves, which are presented in a more normal fashion.

The format is clean and clear and the recipes are all simple and easy. There are a few representative color photos, but most of the recipes don’t come with photographs. The index is clear and easy to use. The book is small (in both size and thickness), and the recipes themselves are divided into six sections:

You can bake it: Millionaire Stuffed Shrimp, Alabama-Style Shrimp Bake, Bubba’s Beer-Broiled Shrimp, Shrimp Pizza Wedges, etc.

You can barbecue it: Lime-Barbecued Shrimp, Grilled Orange Shrimp Salad, and a couple of others.

You can boil it: Spicy Shrimp Dip, Real Smooth Shrimp Butter, Mighty Nice Shrimp Cheese Ball, Lt. Dan’s Lemon Shrimp, Smiley Face Shrimp, Oriental Shrimp Salad, Shrimp and Cheese Omelet, and plenty more.

You can fry it: Crispy Sweet-and-Sour Shrimp, Coconut Fried Shrimp, Walnut Fried Shrimp, Mama Blue’s Shrimp Patties, and a few others.

You can saute it: Shrimp Hot Brown, New Year’s Steak ‘n’ Shrimp, Shrimp Flambe (with White Wine Sauce and Hollandaise Sauce!), Shrimp and Refried Rice, Sizzlin’ Szechuan Shrimp, etc.

Goes real good with: Old-Fashioned Sweet Coleslaw, Bubba’s Cocktail Sauce, Delta Dunkin’ Sauce, Cracklin’ Cornbread, Southern Hush Puppies, and one or two other things.

The one thing that disappointed me was the lack of any information about shrimp. These days, whenever you find a cookbook that concentrates on a single ingredient you’re likely to find it full of information about that ingredient. How do you use it? How do you store it? How do you choose good ones at the grocery store? What special tips will help you cook with it? And so on. This cookbook had none of that–it’s just introduction, recipes, index, and done. I would have loved to see even a little of that information in here.

So if you’re looking for a simple little cookbook of shrimp recipes this is a great choice, particularly if you can find it on sale (the cover price of $14.95 is a bit steep for 108 small pages). If you want an unusual gift for a fan of the movie “Forrest Gump,” then this could be a fun option. But if you want a detailed book on cooking with shrimp, then I’m afraid you’ll have to keep looking.

Cafepress.com: World without shrimp?

Posted in Cooking, Reviews

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