Photo of a piece of cornbread on a white plate with blue dots
Cookbook Reviews

Home Grown

Cookbook by: Matt Jennings

Photo of the cover of Home Grown

“If you grew up in New England, my hope is that these recipes resonate with you, that they feel familiar. And if you’ve never set foot in this great region, I hope this gives you a glimpse-and a taste-of the place I’m proud to call home,” Matt Jennings.

When I first came across Home Grown: Cooking From My New England Roots I was really excited to get some more recipes that reminded me of all of the food I ate when visiting Maine as a kid. My Mom’s family is all from Maine and even though I didn’t grow up there I was the third generation to be born in Maine. Looking through Home Grown: Cooking From My New England Roots did bring back some of those memories for me. 

Photo of Cheddar Squash Dumplings on a white plate

Cheddar and Squash Dumplings

Over the last few years I have found a love for butternut squash and these dumplings sounded so good, I couldn’t wait to make them. The recipe instructions were clear and it seemed like it would be easy to make, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I used a 2″ round cutter and was only able to put a small pat of filling on each one and still be able to close them. It would have been helpful if the recipe had a measurement for how much filling to put in each dumpling, as one persons “small” is different than someone else’s small. 

When I cooked them the dough seemed like it needed more seasoning. I did love the taste of the filling. I’m not sure I would make these again – if I do make them again I would cut the dumplings larger and add some salt and pepper into the dough mixture. 

Photo of a piece of cornbread on a white plate with blue dots


Cornbread is such a nice complement to any meal and this recipe had very simple steps to follow. I wasn’t able to find yellow cornmeal (seems like I can only find the white cornmeal locally). 

The cornbread smelled so good while it was cooking. I did put mine in a 13×9 glass baking dish as the instructions just said 9×13 pan. My cornbread wasn’t cooked after the 30 minutes and I had to let it cook for an additional 10 minutes until my tester came out clean. I do have to say that the cornbread was delicious. It fell apart when I cut it but doesn’t all cornbread do that?

Cookbook Ratings: Recipe directions easy to follow: yes, Ingredients easy to find: no, Specialty ingredients needed: yes, Specialty equipment needed: no, Accurate time estimates: yes, Best for home chef skill level: experienced, Taste/flavor: delicious, Family friendly: no, specialty diet: none, How many recipes are unique: most, overall cookbook rating: leave it

My biggest frustration with Home Grown: Cooking From My New England Roots was the difficulty I had in locating some of the ingredients. I wanted to try some other recipes but couldn’t find the ingredients. For example I live outside of DC and couldn’t find whole belly clams to make the New England Clam roll. I even went to our local seafood market and they couldn’t even get them from their suppliers. If you live in New England you may have a much better chance in finding the ingredients than if you live elsewhere. 

Overall the recipes had good instructions but Home Grown: Cooking From My New England Roots is definitely geared to a more experienced home chef. I would only recommend you buy this is you aren’t afraid to have to do a lot of searching for ingredients and are comfortable with complicated recipes. 

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