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Book review: Finding a new hobby with 'Black Pot for Beginners'

By Connie Lewis

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012 4:40 p.m. MDT

"BLACK POT FOR BEGINNERS," by Mark Hansen, Hobble Creek Press, $12.99, 136 pages (nf)

Hidden away in many basements or garages are old Dutch ovens gathering dust and rust. The key to bringing them out of storage and using them is knowledge. In “Black Pot for Beginners,” author Mark Hansen gives that knowledge in a fun, easy-to-follow book.

A resident of Eagle Mountain, Hansen started his journey of discovery and experimentation in 2006 when he got his first Dutch oven for Father’s Day. He learned how to use it and in the process learned several cooking techniques that he shares with readers.

He enjoys cooking Sunday dinners for his family on his back porch. Everything, including main courses, biscuits and desserts, are all prepared over coals in Dutch ovens of various sizes. The best part of the information is that he says anyone can learn to cook the black pot way and his book shows the basics of getting started and includes both easy-to-follow recipes and more advanced techniques.

“Black Pot for Beginners” is like getting advice from an old friend. Hansen’s style is conversational and breezy and really shows his passion and love for this historical form of cooking. In the introduction he writes, “Part of me, while I’m cooking on my back porch, thinks of my ancestors who crossed the dreary plains in covered wagons and handcarts, cooking their evening meals by the trailside in their own Dutch ovens.”

For anyone who has ever thought of trying his hand with a Dutch oven, Hansen’s book is invaluable. He offers advice on what equipment to buy, basic cooking techniques, the value of spices and of course delicious recipes. It is easy to get hungry just flipping through the pages.

Fall may be the perfect time to dust off those old Dutch ovens and use them for the savory dishes they were meant to prepare.

After attending BYU and the University of Utah for five years and not being able to settle on just one major, Connie Lewis decided to be a writer so she could keep studying all things wonderful and new.

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