On the Road with The Cooking Ladies
Let’s Get Grilling
Review by Adrianne Morrison & Linda Kissam
Travel, adventure and cooking — that’s what The Cooking Ladies are all about. Long-time friends and road-trip companions, these gals make their dreams come true every day. Their new book is a collection of on-the-road travel memories and recipes inspired by touring the highways of North America.
Authors, Phyllis Hinz and Lamont Mackay are successful restaurant and catering entrepreneurs. This is their 10th cookbook. Yes, it has many great recipes, but more importantly, there’s an undercurrent soulful purpose moving you through the pages. Knowing you are riding along with two BFF’s who are enjoying new experiences “before it’s too late” makes this book all the sweeter.
They remind us nothing can move a person more profoundly to do what you’ve always wanted, or said you would do, than facing the unexpected loss of a younger friend. So, with an appetite and penchant for storytelling, these ladies sold everything and set out on a journey that lasted 9+ years. Now they share the recipes created to reflect the local cuisines they encountered along the way.
Purchase this book (we gave it five out of five stars) and you’ll get two books shuffled together. One will remind you of a foodie traveler’s blog, or a scrapbook of road-tripping pics and memories. The other, a collection of fine recipes for grilling everything from “Snacks & Starters” through meats, seafood, veggies and desserts. There are recipes here for the novice griller and some a bit more advanced in technique and ingredients. For instance, if you’re a “throw salmon on the grill, flip carefully and serve” you’ll have fun learning you can place it on a bed of wet romaine leaves with fresh lemon and basil, cook with lid closed and become a star at the grill.
There’s bound to be at least one, and I’m betting many places, stories, and recipes in this cookbook that remind you of someplace you’ve been to, or want to go. “Along the North Alabama Barbecue Trail” sparks me to get myself to Alabama and meet-up with my long-lost, now-found cousins. Wonder if they make BBQ sauce with mayonnaise in Red Level? The Cooking Ladies tell us white BBQ sauce was created at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur four generations ago. And, since it’s still famous I’d think that white sauce reached Southern Alabama—don’t you? I’ve got to find out. In the meantime, I’m going to try grilling up some chicken with their Barbecue Sauce, North Alabama White—can’t wait to try it.
What do the stories and recipes have in common? Grilling. And, what else can you do with a grill? Smoke? It’s true, and the instructions for turning your gas grill into a smoker are really quite simple. Another thing about grills, they can easily be used as a gas top range with pans or woks, and simply closing the top creates an oven. Turns out, grills are a very versatile piece of cooking equipment so we can use them in all seasons and cook almost anything.
Ahh… I’m looking forward to the difference between my grilling before, and my potential mastery with the help of On the Road with The Cooking Ladies: Let’s Get Grilling as my guide. I love great books that move me effortlessly out of everyday roads and into the passing lanes of open highways—you will too. Pick up a copy and enjoy the sights, tastes and the ride.
The Cooking Ladies have created a masterpiece. It’s simple, straightforward, engaging and on-point to the question of how and where to get grilling. Let’s get Grilling is a new national treasury of grilling recipes and the places they originated in.
I love their concept of combining food with travel. This book has a sense of taste and place to it that so many cookbooks miss. It is my sense that the ladies left a bit of their own heart in each and every recipe and photo.
Having traveled to many of the places they share, on occasion with them as part of a press trip or conference for the International Food Wine and Travel Association, the book brings back sweet tasty memories for me. It has also introduced some new places I now want to visit.
There is nothing better for a devoted foodie than understanding how a recipe gets developed. Each and every page of this cookbook helps the reader understand the journey to great grilling.
Go on a road trip with the ladies, through the recipe below. Be sure to waive. Adrianne and I are sitting right next to you taking in the pleasures of good taste.
Marinated Sirloin Steak
Two 1-lb (450 g) top sirloin steaks
1/2 cup (125 mL) peeled and chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60 mL) red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot sauce
1/4 tsp (1 mL) sea salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) coarsely ground pepper
Place the steaks flat in a shallow, glass dish.
In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.
Pour the mixture over the steak. Turn the meat to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours. Turn the steaks once or twice while marinating.
Preheat the grill on high (550–600°F/290–315°C) for 10 minutes with the lid closed. Using a pair of long-handled tongs, oil the grate by wiping it with a piece of folded paper towel dipped lightly in canola oil.
Remove steaks from the marinade. Discard marinade.
With the lid closed, grill the steaks for about 5 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature registers 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer.
Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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Note: As is common in the book review industry, Adrianne and Linda were each provided with a copy of the cookbook for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, these two writers are happy to provide full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.