Cookbook Week – Day 2! Plus a giveaway

by Irvin on August 19, 2014 · 84 comments

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Cookbook Week - Day 2

After taking a trip around the world in yesterday five different cookbooks, today’s post features an eclectic mix of American based cuisine. Ranging from the critically acclaimed chef Marc Forgione to the down home cooking of Lisa Fain and her Homesick Texan’s Family Table cookbook each cookbooks has a mix of various different approaches to cooking and subject matter. At the end of this post there are instructions on how you can win the Marc Forgione cookbook, generously supplied by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.[This giveaway is over!]

Marc Forgione

If you follow celebrity chefs at all, you are probably familiar with Marc Forgione, winner of season 3 of The Next Iron Chef. Those who live in New York may have dined at his eponymous restaurant or at least heard about the infamous story of how he kicked out a New York Times writer from his restaurant. But beyond all the hullaballoo and hype lies a great chef who creates even greater food. With his eponymous named cookbook Marc Forgione, this cookbook seems to be made for the home kitchen, unlike some restaurant and chef cookbooks. The recipes are approachable, the majority of ingredients (mostly) available at a well-stocked grocery store and the instructions written in a way that (gasp) are actually understandable. This is probably no doubt because of the collaboration with Olga Massov, the woman behind the critically acclaimed blog Sassy Radish and co-author of the book. Chock full of great recipes and solid techniques (how to truss a chicken is full explained with process photos for instance) this cookbook is not just any restaurant vanity project cookbook but a go-to reference guide for creating restaurant quality meals.

Lunch! by Gale Gand

I often feel like lunch is the overlooked meal, one that is overshadowed by dinner (the meal you go out on dates with at the fancy restaurant) or breakfast (which, as everyone will tell you, is the most important meal of the day even though most of us just grab a bagel to go). But lunch, the meal that you often eaten at your work desk at work (cheap sandwich) doesn’t get the same sort of love. Enter Gale Gand’s Lunch. Full of great simple meal ideas (most of which would frankly also be suitable for dinner as well), Lunch is the sort of cookbook that you can reach for when you want to make an easy meal with minimal effort and basic ingredients. I’m especially fond of the little side bars that she includes for each dish, that tells you how to expand the one dish meal with various packing suggestions (combine two easy to pack dishes to make a greater complex meal at work) or how to eat it at home or expand it to become a multi-dish meal with dessert. No more deli sandwiches for me!

The Homesick Texan's Family Table

You don’t get more down home and comfort food than Texan cuisine and Lisa Fain of The Homesick Texan blog knows that. A transplanted Texan living in New York, Lisa has been sharing her love of her state’s food with her nationally recognized blog since 2005 (that’s ancient in the blogging world!). From the blog came two cookbooks including her second one, The Homesick Texan Family Table which features some the sort of food that you just can’t wait to dive into. Don’t expect fancy food or complicated recipes with this book, but do expect the sort of comfortable cuisine that you might get at a family dinner made from your best friend who grew up in Texas. Chipotle Blue Cheese Wedge Salad, Pico De Gallo Deviled Eggs, Pollo Asado are all recipes that look easy enough to make but fun enough to serve for a dinner party. There’s nothing in this cookbook that pushes the boundaries of contemporary cuisine, but sometimes the best recipe are those that you grew up with.

Done by James Peterson

I’ve been a long time fan of James Peterson, having referenced his book Baking when I’m looking for a basic understanding of how certain recipes work, as well as his classic book Sauces which covers nearly every sauce out there. So I was thrilled to get his most recent book Done. A Cook’s Guide to Knowing when Food is Perfectly Cooked. With basic commonsense tips like covering the breast of the roast chicken with aluminum foil for a short time to keep it from overcooking (why has that never occurred to me before?) to making sure your aromatic vegetables are cut small when you roast a rack of lamb because it cooks fast, this book is destined to be a great go-to reference guide on how to properly cook everything to perfection. Of course, for experienced cooks in the kitchen, this book may be too basic (your fried chicken is brown on the inside but the inside is still raw? Then your oil is too hot.) but for those who still need a little help in the kitchen, or for that college kid who is just moving into his or her first apartment, this could be an invaluable resource to have on the shelf.

The Bar Book

Of course, once you mastered making food in the kitchen, you need to learn how to make a decent cocktail at your bar right? Enter The Bar Book by Jeffery Morgenthaler with Martha Holmberg. More than just a collection of recipes for cocktails, this book is technique-driven, showing how to properly juice your citrus, what an infusion is and what the purpose of that egg white foam is on top of the cocktail. For anyone that aspires to make something more than a rum and coke this book is the one you want to impress your guests and win the admiration of your significant other. No other cocktail book that I’ve run across has this much in-depth description of the science and technique of making alcoholic mixed drinks. Now everyone can start calling themselves a mixologist (actually don’t. I hate that term).

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (home of my future cookbook in Fall 2016) has generously offered to give away a copy of the Marc Forgione cookbook to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below and tell me what your favorite American dish is! Personally I’m a fan of biscuits and gravy but I’ll also have been known to order chicken fried steak when the opportunity presents itself. Just don’t make me choose between the two.[This giveaway is closed and over! Thank you!]

The fine print – PLEASE READ
By leaving a comment below to enter, you are agreeing to the Official Rules.
▪ NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
▪ VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
▪ You must be over the age of 18.
▪ This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens. Sorry non-US people!
▪ The contest starts as of today, and will run until Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9am PST.
▪ The retail value of Marc Forgione is $40.
▪ The winner will be chosen by a randomly selected comment. All comments will be numbered and I will use Random.org to pick a random number.
▪ The number of eligible comments below determines the odds of winning.
▪ If there’s a problem with contacting the winner, I reserve the right to award everything to someone else randomly chosen. So in other words, make sure you type in your correct email address if you want the membership and respond within a week to me when I contact you or I’ll give everything to someone else.
▪ The prize is being delivered directly from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. If they have not delivered the prize to you within three weeks of me notifying you of winning, please reach out to me again and I will do follow up to make sure everything is OK. Please keep in mind we are all human and things happen. I will do everything within my power to make sure the prize is delivered in a timely manner.

Special thanks to Chronicle Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Ten Speed Press for review copies of the books in this post. Though they provided the books complimentary, I was not monetarily compensated for this post and all opinions above are my own.

This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through the links above (with no added cost to you). If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the book yourself and purchase it that way.

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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine August 19, 2014 at 6:23 am

Apple Pie!

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Tiffany August 19, 2014 at 6:33 am

can’t go wrong with mac & cheese!

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YN August 19, 2014 at 6:46 am

My favorite American dish I guess would be a fresh salad, especially a fruit medley salad. I guess that or maybe baked sweet potato with no toppings.

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The Suzzzz August 19, 2014 at 7:29 am

Wow, how do you choose just one? I think I’ll go with funeral potatoes (some people call it yummy potato casserole), it isn’t the most refined dish but there is something ridiculously American about put butter coated corn flakes on top of any that has cream of chicken soup in it.

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Stephanie August 19, 2014 at 9:00 am

Definitely a reuben sandwich.

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Ishita August 19, 2014 at 10:26 am

Steak and mashed potatoes!

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Manette Gutterman August 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

My favorite American dish is chicken and dumplings.

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Keri August 19, 2014 at 10:40 am

Cheeseburger, please. A good one.

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Katherine August 19, 2014 at 10:45 am

BBQ ribs!

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Kerrey De Paoli August 19, 2014 at 10:51 am

This is a tough one! I love them all and it varies by day. Today I’m craving either chicken and dumplings or a big juicy cheeseburger. Mmmmm…..

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Jennifer August 19, 2014 at 10:51 am

It’s hard to say what my favorite American dish is because we’re such a hodge podge these days! I guess I would say apple pie.

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Traci August 19, 2014 at 10:53 am

Baked beans, grilled corn, and mac and cheese! classically delicious.

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Gina Brown August 19, 2014 at 10:58 am

y’all ever have chicken and waffles? Yum! Or a sugar pie? My favorites!

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Mike Tremoulet August 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

Hamburger. My answer might change hourly, but honestly I’m going with the hamburger. It’s a canvas – possibilities range from simple to complex, need some basic techniques down to make one really well, can convey a lot of different feelings and tastes, and if you aren’t careful to edit, can become overly flowery or complex.

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lori reilly August 19, 2014 at 11:14 am

That would have to be chicken and dumplings, but fried chicken would run a close second.

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Jenny Hartin August 19, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Mac and cheese!

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Sarah August 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Macaroni and cheese

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Linda S. August 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Lobster! and Indian pudding

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Camilla @ Culinary Adventures August 19, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Have to say: I love a good burger!

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Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking August 19, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Now I need to add 5 more cookbooks to my ever-growing collection! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! And my favorite American dish – pumpkin pie!

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Mrs. L August 19, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Mac and Cheese (preferably with some bacon thrown in).

And thanks, more cookbooks to add to my wish list LOL

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Chelsea August 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Cioppino with San Francisco sourdough bread is right up there for me.

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Jane, The Heritage Cook August 19, 2014 at 3:56 pm

For me it is Chicken and Dumplings, or should I say Slicks. My grandmother (who taught me to cook) made these for us when I was little . Her dumplings were not the puffy kind that sit on top of the chicken liquid, hers were rolled out and cut into squares before being dropped into the pot to cook. She made the most tender and delicious I’ve ever had. Mimi passed away when I was only ten – I wish I had had many more years to learn from her!

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Aaron Rishell August 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Fried chicken and mashed potatoes!

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Jen August 19, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I love burgers!

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Laura Tabacca August 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Pot roast–and my grandma’s beef and noodles fixed from said pot roast.

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Katrina August 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Are chocolate chip cookies “a dish”? I love a good chili.

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Judy August 19, 2014 at 9:38 pm

A New England Lobster Roll

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Nowal August 19, 2014 at 10:11 pm

So many dishes to choose from!

O.K, Crab Cakes :-)

Thanks!

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Millie | Add A Little August 19, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Looks amazing!

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Karen Whittaker August 20, 2014 at 12:38 am

I love ovenfried chicken with potato salad and my sister-in-law makes great ribs with a smoky barbecue sauce.

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Arne August 20, 2014 at 1:45 am

Pot roast.

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Marisa Franca @ All Our Way August 20, 2014 at 4:30 am

Fried Green Tomatoes!!!!!! My Honey does such a good job of preparing and frying. The first thing you get is a loud crunch as you bite into one and then the salty, kinda sour taste of the green tomato. Yum!! It is what I would say a fried pickle would taste. Have you ever tasted it on a caprese sandwich. WOW it is out of this world. I’m sorry — I guess I got a little carried away.

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Debbie D. August 20, 2014 at 4:36 am

Chocolate chip cookies!

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barbara n August 20, 2014 at 4:52 am

My favorite American dish is meatloaf and mashed potatoes!

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Amy August 20, 2014 at 5:02 am

Chicken Pot Pie!

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Theresa August 20, 2014 at 5:19 am

Mac and cheese and cheeseburgers are my two American faves.

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Mabel August 20, 2014 at 5:46 am

I absolutely love a good thin crust NY slice!

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Lois August 20, 2014 at 5:50 am

Southern fried chicken…nothing better!

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Marcia August 20, 2014 at 6:06 am

Have to go with a big, juicy cheeseburger!

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Amy Bui August 20, 2014 at 6:17 am

Mac and cheese !

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Wendy Y. August 20, 2014 at 7:14 am

Maine Lobster roll is my fave!

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Michael Flanagin August 20, 2014 at 7:34 am

My favorite american dish is macaroni and cheese, and don’t forget the bacon!

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edward ang August 20, 2014 at 7:37 am

As American as chicken pot pie…

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Amy August 20, 2014 at 8:22 am

My very favorite American meal is grilled cheese and tomato soup.

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Holly August 20, 2014 at 8:57 am

My favorite American dish would be Southern barbeque.

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Van Tran August 20, 2014 at 9:18 am

Mine is marinated steak :)

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Jean August 20, 2014 at 9:26 am

How about chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, & cream gravy! I guess you could add a vegetable…how about fried okra?

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Mac C August 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm

James Peterson’s ‘Done’ intrigues me. I was raised by a mother who cooked all meat to the degree of a chunk of Mt. St. Helen’s lava, and, you know what they say about the teachings of childhood.

Oops! Forgot to add my favorite. Has to be that fried chicken that Mother would put on to cook as we were leaving for church. I was always amazed that it was perfectly done when we got home.

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Mac C August 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Oops! Forgot to add my favorite. Has to be that fried chicken that Mother would put on to cook as we were leaving for church. I was always amazed that it was perfectly done when we got home.

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Mary August 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Hamburger

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Allison August 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Grilled cheese. Or chicken noodle soup. But I’m not sure if the latter is really “American.” Grilled cheese AND chicken noodle soup is one of the most perfect meals.

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dana August 20, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Apple Pie – it’s good for ALL meals!!!

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Pang @circahappy August 20, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Marc Forgione cookbook has long been on my list, and was going to be a christmas gift to myself this year. Thank you so much for the review :)
I also love the bar book. Your review makes me want to click “buy now” on amazon. hahaha

Anyway, if I have to pick only one American dish, it would have to be New England clam chowder :)

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Essie August 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Absolutely pot roast & mashed potatoes with gravy.

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Maria August 20, 2014 at 9:00 pm

My favorite is fried chicken!

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Elin August 20, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Baked macaroni and cheese! Or a simple hot dog with mustard and kraut.

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Donna Currie August 21, 2014 at 12:07 am

American as … apple pie!

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Joanne August 21, 2014 at 5:55 am

Nothing is more delicious than shepherd’s pie…

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Janice Coffey August 21, 2014 at 6:13 am

Hard to choose one fried chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, meatloaf, a good steak, grilled corn…

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Candice August 21, 2014 at 10:34 am

Can’t go wrong w/ chicken pot pie!

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Rose August 21, 2014 at 10:36 am

I would have to go with a grilled cheese sandwich. The only meal my dad could make for me when I was little was Grilled cheese and cambells tomato soup. Now that I am older, I love incorporating all kinds of unique cheese in my sandwich.

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Chelsea August 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

Have to say, burgers from the BBQ are hard to beat! Throw in a side of fries or potato salad and I’m one fat and happy lady.

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Beth Wang August 22, 2014 at 4:13 am

Fried chicken!

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Linda K. August 22, 2014 at 5:54 am

Oh man! I LOVE biscuits and gravy. I also love tuna casserole, but that’s hard to admit in a public forum.

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Caroline August 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Congratulations on your cookbook! Looking forward to seeing it! I’d have to agree…chicken fried steak is pretty awesome with lots of gravy and mashed potatoes.

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Laura August 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Martha Stewart’s mac and cheese.

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Erika Hanna August 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Strawberry shortcake! Or Mac n cheese :)

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Tanya August 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Double crust apple pie!

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Lori Flesher August 22, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Peach cobbler…

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Kelly Gramlow August 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm

A really good texqs brisket!

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Michelle August 22, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Can’t get more American than mac and cheese!

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Karen August 22, 2014 at 9:23 pm

All great cookbooks!

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MelissaW August 22, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Mac & Cheese!

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Linda August 23, 2014 at 12:17 am

Barbeque beef in Texas.

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Christine August 23, 2014 at 6:39 am

I love american burgers!

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Aly August 23, 2014 at 9:00 am

I love homemade strawberry ice cream!

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jessicaisbaking August 23, 2014 at 11:26 am

So many things. But ultimately a burger. Ahh I want one now.

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Kristina M August 23, 2014 at 12:31 pm

So many things to choose from! I’ll go with a pot roast and mashed potatoes. MMm!

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Kartik @ Bakeology 101 August 23, 2014 at 5:13 pm

You can never go wrong with a good juicy veggie burger. I know beef is the rave, but there is something to be said about black beans, onions, feta, tomatoes all worked together into a burger patty that is healthy too.

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bren August 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Chicago deep dish pizza!

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Dana August 23, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Mmmm, ballpark hot dogs!

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Jennifer August 24, 2014 at 11:23 am

Mac n’ cheese please!

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scott August 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm

chicken fried steak with sausage gravy!

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