Cookbook review: A winter wonderland of flavor and fun

‘The Snowy Cabin Cookbook: Meals and Drinks for Adventurous Days and Cozy Nights’ by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson (Artisan, $19.95)

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Because I’ve lived in sunny climates most of my life, I didn’t expect to be so charmed by a cookbook built around such things as skiing, lighting a wood stove, or acquiring a full wardrobe of flannel and fleece. Now, Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson have me seeing the bright side of the dull-gray days ahead even without slopes or snowflakes.

The Oregon-based food writers dedicate “The Snowy Cabin Cookbook: Meals and Drinks for Adventurous Days and Cozy Nights” (Artisan, $19.95) to “the snowdrift set,” yet the belly-warming recipes and good-humored vibes within these whimsically illustrated pages are easy even for those of us in the temperate South to warm up to.

Their witty prose keeps me amused and inspired to try the clever cabin fever remedies they inspire: Brrrisket with Parsley and Pomegranate, Soft Pretzel Braids with Gooey Gouda, Chilly-quiles Rojos, Can’t Catch Me Gingerbread Cakes with Candied Kumquats.

The first meal I made from the book — Cauliflower Steaks with Smoky Yogurt and Chimichurri over tricolor quinoa, alongside Radicchio, Persimmon, and Maple Pecan Salad — assured me it wouldn’t be the last.

A chapter full of “fortifications” offers cold-weather sips such as a Calvados Hot Toddy, Cranberry-Cardamom Glogg, and five champagne cocktails to “fizz the season” including a Ginger 75 and a Pom Wow made with pomegranate juice and Cointreau. There are also lessons on choosing porters and stouts, tasting scotches, and making hot chocolate from scratch — complete with homemade mini marshmallows.

Should we wake up to one of those rare Atlanta snow days, we could attempt to build a snowperson before our winter wonderland turns to slush. Or, we can take a cue from these authors and turn a few scoops of that freshly fallen snow into a Piña Snowlada, settle in for a round of Scrabble, and transport ourselves to a mental place where “each winter day seems to amount to however many small joys we can pack into it. That’s our kind of fun.”

Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at

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