This book is just a pleasure in every way. The front cover is beautiful and glossy and makes you want to open it. The recipes are excellent, practical, filled with detail, and usually accompanied by little comments from one of the authors with some extra background, a hint, or other useful information. Each cook has a page dedicated to her, spaced throughout the book, so we know a little about each person who contributed, and every so often there's a 'Bread For the Journey' page, inviting a pause for some reflection. Reading through this book is such a charming, pleasant experience!
The recipes themselves range all over - sections include 'Breakfast and Coffee Break', 'Soups, Salads and Sides', 'Suppers', 'Breads', and 'Desserts and Sweets'. So while it's not a baking book per se, there's a definite slant in that direction. Which suits me just fine! Each recipe has clear ingredient lists and very clear step-by-step instructions; many also have a series of photos showing the steps outlined (which is always a bonus for me; even when I think I know what's being described it's SO good to be able to see what I'm aiming for). Another reviewer complained about the measurements given two ways - yes, each ingredient list shows the amounts in both cups/spoons and grams/millilitres, but I fail to see how this is a drawback in any way! After all, there are only three countries left on the non-metric system; that leaves a lot of others, who might also want access to this lovely book. This feature doesn't detract from the book in the slightest, and in fact makes it easier to give as a gift to someone who might not live in the United States.
As someone else mentioned, this book also has a fabulous index, and things are very easy to find given the clarity of the listings and the cross-referencing.
Finally, I love the fact that there are so many gluten-free inclusions! Some are stand-alone recipes and some are included as variations. I'm not celiac myself, but it's always good to have this option should that be necessary - if I need to cook for someone who can't eat gluten, there are MANY options included here, as well as some general tips and tricks on how to make sure a recipe still comes out as it should, even when the gluten has to be omitted.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes great recipes that have a history behind them, and a truly pleasurable reading and cooking experience! Thanks to the Mennonite Girls for sharing their family heritage in this lovely way.