Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Review by Donna Bramblett, TX

I recently ordered your cookbook “Stir, Laugh, Repeat” and it came in the mail yesterday. I sat down last night to glance at it and couldn’t put it down….I read it from cover to cover!

I loved the format and all of the stories you added on each page just put a special touch to the book. After reading it, I feel like I really know you and your family. I know your sons-in-law are Yankees, you are a lover of cheese, but you dislike chocolate…well not all have a weakness for white chocolate and I would venture to guess that you never take yourself too seriously. I also loved the fact that you use every day ingredients and don’t mind admitting that you and cakes do not have a love affair. It was such an easy and enjoyable read. I will be waiting for the second book which I understand is now in the works.

I have some pages marked for things that will be first on my list to try. One of them is the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Mini Pies on Page 144. This will be a great addition to a brunch and it is so simple. It made me wonder…”now why hadn’t I thought about that?” Another recipe I definitely have to try is the Cracker Bars on Page73 and I may do a “Martha trick” and use regular chocolate instead of white chocolate. I could mention several others, but I think you have the idea that I really am enjoying Stir, Laugh, Repeat.
Donna, TX

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Note From a Special Young Lady and Her Mother

A Note From a Special Young Lady and Her Mother
Hey Martha,

Praying that all is well with you since we met you in Books-A-million this past saturday in Charlotte. You signed the book for us and we even got another parting piece of the cracker you were giving out as a sample.

How did our baking go? We are glad you asked!! :)
Well, my daughter was sure that we followed your directions from the book step by step...and we did. The carmel was burnt and the crackers were burnt. Then I told my daughter, everyones oven sometime cooks a little different. So, this time I will change the times. So, we gathered all the ingredients again and did it like grandma does it without a timer and it tasted almost as good as yours!!! :)

Well, Ashley was very excited and is now looking through the book to see what receipe we will try next. She wanted to send you pictures of the first time crackers and the after, but I did not have all of high tech equipment to do so. Now that I think about it we could have use the cell phone to take the pictures.

Anyway, we look forward to trying out your next receipe.

Wishing you all of God's best in your next book.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Review by Carol Denise Mitchell

Stir, Laugh, Repeat and "KEEP"
Reader Rating See Detailed Ratings

Posted March 7, 2009, 11:05 PM EST: Martha A. Cheves has written a definitive cookbook for the ages. I started reading her book today - and could not put it down, except for running to the store for some much needed ingredients. The steak and potatoes recipe literally had my mouth watering. Recipes I had not tasted in years are reborn in Stir, Laugh, Repeat. I smiled when I saw the Banana Puddin' recipe. To have such a wonderful cook guide in these financially stressed times is a much needed; stress relief resource for all families. From Martha's Meaty Mashed Potatoes - to her Breakfast Pinwheels, this is by far one of the most exceptional cook guides that I have ever read. Young cooks just starting out can be guided to great meals by Martha's easy to read directions. SLR is similar to the red and white tablecloth cookbooks Betty Crocker use to sell; that we all spotted on our grandmother's kitchen table. Martha's book has old flavor and contemporary style suitable for meat lovers and vegetarians. I commend this book to all. Thanks Martha! - (Carol Denise Mitchell, Author of Rovella Starr)

To read more reviews and purchase your own copy of Stir, Laugh, Repeat go to or

Review by Eileen Thornton - UK

I found this to be a most enjoyable cookery book. Not only are the recipes delicious, but also they are so very easy to follow and I love the stories that appear at the end of each recipe.

One of the things that appealed to me was that Martha uses basic ingredients, the kind you would find in your store cupboard at home. There is no need for a trip to the high-class food stores to find some exotic ingredient for a special recipe that you know you will never use again. Yet the end result is just as delicious as anything you might have spent hours working over a hot stove for.

Also Martha rounds off each recipe with a Tip. Sometimes the tips are about the preceding recipe, while others are there simply for good measure. Either way, they are both useful and sensible and made me wonder ‘why on earth didn’t I think of that?’

This is a cookery book I will refer to over and over again.

Review by LimeyDawg

A Cover-to-Cover Read., December 27, 2008
By LimeyDawg (Punta Gorda, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
Making a cookbook stand out from the crowd is no easy feat, but in "Stir, Laugh, Repeat," author Martha Cheves has the perfect formula. Readers will enjoy "Stir, Laugh, Repeat," as much for the stories accompanying each recipe as they do for the recipes themselves.

Throughout the book, Cheves shares a little of the back story leading to the creation of each recipe. Like the food, Cheves is unpretentious and honest. "I'm a terrible cookie-maker," she admits, but shows how a little perseverance and ingenuity overcame this shortcoming with her outstanding Sugar Bar Cookies (p.43). She also shares a life's worth of knowledge gained by struggling to feed a growing family using only what was on hand, or that which a meager budget would allow. Cheves is unabashed in her admission of trying to imitate some of her favorites from restaurants she has visited, and readily explains that this was the genesis of the wonderful recipes she came up with in the process of experimentation. In this, "Stir, Laugh, Repeat," is approachable by a wide audience indeed.

"Stir, Laugh, Repeat" is not a book one will take out for a single recipe, but rather one which the reader will enjoy cover-to-cover for the gems of wisdom and pointed honesty of the author. If, however, you buy the book for the recipes alone, you will not be disappointed. This is a cookbook for everyone, regardless of skill in the kitchen. The simple recipes produce good food, which is as much as anyone could ask of such a slender book. Just as she did when developing her recipes, Cheves encourages readers to experiment and make the recipes their own. In this way, the reader becomes one of Cheves' lucky testers by extension. [...]

"Stir, Laugh, Repeat" is a wonderful little cookbook. The stories make it a fine addition to the bookshelf as much as the kitchen library. It may well be the one cookbook in any cook's collection that gets read cover-to-cover.

Review by Yvonne Mason

This Cook Book is Great!!!, January 28, 2009
By Yvonne Mason "Author" (Port St Lucie, Fl.) - See all my reviews
In this day and age when cooking is becoming a lost art and young people would rather get take out than cook, Martha Cheves has created the answer to take out.
Most young people can't boil water much less put a meal together. So Laugh, Stir, Repeat teaches them how. The receipes are simple and can be changed to suit any taste. The stories behind them keeps one laughing until the end.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a gift to give or a new cookbook to try.

Review by Susan Whitfield

Carolina Cookin', February 20, 2009
By Susan Whitfield "author of Genesis Beach, Jus... (NC, USA) - See all my reviews
I enjoyed the recipes in Stir, Laugh, Repeat. Many brought back memories from my youth in Carolina, foods I haven't tried in years. Cheves threw in a few stories and tips for extra measure. My personal copy of the book now has many pages turned down for future reference. Chef's hat off to Martha Cheves for an informative and creative book.

Review by Sheila Deeth

Stir Laugh Repeat, February 24, 2009
By S. Deeth "Sheila Deeth" (OR, USA) - See all my reviews
I never thought I'd write a review of a cookery book. Ask any of my family--I'm not exactly an expert in the kitchen. Though, of course, they should take at least some of the blame. It's hard to produce expert meals when you have so many conflicting requirements. Over Christmas there was me (no gluten), spouse (likes the texture of "real"--i.e. wheat-based--cooking), mother (no fresh fruit, under-cooked veg or spice), son #1 (nothing boring), son #2 (vegetarian, no nuts), son #3 (meat and two veg), and dog (anything and everything). At least the dog was easy to please.

But Martha Cheves' cookbook, despite so many of the recipes including packets and mixes (mostly with gluten), or meat (not vegetarian), is the perfect book for me. In this modern world where so many of us are allergic to one thing or another, cooking is all too often a question of sticking to the hypo-allergenic diet cook-book, or changing better-known recipes to suit. Martha is a cook who espouses substitution, and her book is the perfect stepping stone between the exotic ingredients of specialist recipes and the world of do-it-yourself.

It's also the perfect book just to sit down and read for ideas and entertainment. I don't usually laugh while reading a cook book, but some of Martha's culinary tales will have me smiling every time I go shopping. (I shall never look at a turkey the same way again!)

And it's the perfect book for someone who's not quite sure how a cook book works. For me, being English, there are many unseen pitfalls in American cooking, from how you measure a cupful of sugar (we use weights), to what you use instead of greaseproof paper. Martha answers these questions and more in tips scattered throughout the book, again, rewarding reading from cover to cover.

After finishing this book, you won't just know where to look for a good recipe, but you'll have the confidence to change the recipe according to what's in your cupboard. Cooking becomes an exercise in creativity, instead of a lesson in how well-prepared you are. And I look forward to stirring Martha's ideas, laughing as I change them, and repeating with many variations for years to come.

Review by Ann B. Keller

A Great Delight, April 2, 2009
By Ann B. Keller (Cleveland, OH USA) - See all my reviews
What a delightful cookbook this is! Martha A Cheves provides the reader with so many wonderful recipes without swamping the average cook with a host of whisks, double boilers, strainers, mixing bowls, thermometers, pastry brushes and icing bags. These are simple, tasty recipes for family, friends and for parties.

However, I truly fell in love with all of the little tips and stories added to these marvelous dishes. Who wouldn't appreciate all of this great advice? Personable, funny, and heart warming, these small slices of life added greatly to the appeal of this book and made me feel much closer to the author herself. Stir, Laugh, Repeat is getting a prime spot on my shelf of cookbooks. I'm certain it's going to get a lot of use.

Review by Irma Fritz

By Irma Fritz "Author of Irretrievably Broken" (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
I grew up with "from scratch" cooking. Both my grandmother and my mother spent hours in the kitchen to produce their meals the only way they knew how--from scratch. This, of course, is how they've taught us children to cook. But don't we all have better things to do than spend hours in the kitchen kneading, waiting for the dough to rise, cutting the shortening into the flour until it looks like little peas? I know I do. I've published one novel and am currently working on a book of short stories as well as novel #2. I'm involved with family and community. With spring in the air, I don't even want to be indoors, but want to go biking, hiking, and spending time outdoors with friends.

This is why cooking "the other" Martha's way, the Martha A. Cheves's way, has been joyfully liberating. In her cookbook, "STIR, LAUGH, REPEAT," she lists 100 recipes for cooks of all ages and varying experience. Many of her recipes are quick; all are easy and delectable! And she won't make you stand in the corner for using canned peas & carrots, and pre-made pie shells, as in her chicken pot pie. Her biscuits made with self-rising flour are light and fluffy, the secret ingredient being--surprise--MAYONNAISE! Anyone who can cook noodles can make her Tuna Melt Casserole. Sunday, I whipped up my favorite of her desserts, her wonderful Key Lime Pie for a family dinner. It took me all of five minutes to get the pie into the oven. STIR, LAUGH, REPEAT INDEED! And thank you, Martha, for unchaining me from the stove and for making cooking easy as well as just plain fun! (How do you like that, Martha Stewart?)

Along with her recipes, Martha gives you her life stories of how she discovered a recipe or when she first made a particular dish. These stories, along with her helpful hints, are sprinkled throughout her book. In this way, I've gotten to know Martha's mom, her sister, her friends, and many of the people in her life. Thank you Martha for sharing your recipes, your wisdom, and your joy in life!

Review by Mari Sloan

Southern Cooking with a Story, May 4, 2009
By Mari Sloan "Mari Sloan" (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews
Southern Cooking with a Story, Please
Martha A. Cheves "Stir, Laugh, Repeat"

I've never met Martha Cheves in person, but I feel like I know her. In fact, if there is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as one of her "testers." When she mentions her neighbor, who sometimes waits supper to see if Martha is cooking and might pop by with a sample, and states that the neighbor won't share, I understand perfectly. I wouldn't either. In fact, I may make sure that my husband and I pick her neighborhood for our retirement destination.

Martha backs each recipe with a story and a tip, and the tips are as wildly creative as leaving the rack to your barbecue out overnight on the lawn so that the dew softens the crusted crud, to the more standard ingredient substitutions for recipes. Her recipes are simple and practical and easily adapted to different ingredients for the infrequent shopper, who might just have to use what is already in the refrigerator to make supper. Her stories are priceless and full of fun, making mystery T. V. dinners out of leftovers for "Mystery Night," and keeping a gallon reclosable container in the freezer for leftovers for a future soup.

If you are going to keep one cookbook handy, this is the one that you want. It's real cooking, the way your Mom cooks, and fancy dishes are approached with the same attitude as down-home cooking, in other words, what works the best in the least time for YOU. And none of these recipes are still in the experimental stage--they've been eaten by as many people who could get Martha to cook them for them, with seconds requested. It's time for us to have seconds, too. I hope a second cookbook is on the way!

Mari Sloan

Review by L. Brandau

Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Finding Joy While Playing in the Kitchen by Martha A. Cheves

What a delightful cookbook! Many of us have collected many cookbooks over the years, but only a handful of those do we pull out regularly for those "Uh, Oh, what am I going to fix for dinner tonight" days. This will be one of those books that I can depend on for real food ideas. The cookbook is obviously a work of love from the author as she not only shares family recipes, but also stories of her life and those she loves.

What I liked most about the recipes is that I could go to my cupboards right now and already have ingredients to start cooking. The recipes are easy to follow and probably do not take much more time to prepare than some of the frozen stuff that goes on our tables.

Good home cooking and a slice of life on the side - you can't get any better than that. This cookbook would be perfect for a young cook because of the basic ingredients and easy instructions. There are also many tips and hints following the recipes. But don't think it is just for the beginners. I have been cooking for 40 years and look forward to trying these recipes. Of course, the Banana Puddin' will have to be first. There are a lot of the authors memories wrapped around this special recipe.

I highly recommend this cookbook as a purchase to keep or as a gift for family and friends.

Review by Debra Purdy Kong

Easy Recipes and a Personal Touch, May 27, 2009
By Debra Purdy Kong "mystery writer" (Port Moody, BC) - See all my reviews

When it comes to creating recipes, I have little imagination so I turn to cookbooks for ideas. My problem with many of them, though, is that the recipes are either too complicated or the ingredients too hard to find. So it was with great pleasure that I discovered Stir, Laugh, Repeat by Martha A. Cheves. Her straightforward recipes reflect her southern U.S. background and use simple, affordable ingredients. Cheves provides a number of money-saving tips which is greatly appreciated.

If you love cheese and white chocolate (not together) you'll love this book because the author's a fan of both and features these items in several recipes. As a bonus, Cheves also offers personal stories and a practical tip with each recipe, which gives the book a personal touch.

My only quibble is that it'll be hard to keep the book open when I try some of the recipes, which is why I usually prefer coil bound cookbooks. Also, there are a couple of ingredients such as Parker House rolls that aren't available here in Canada so I'll have to find a substitute. Meanwhile, I really need to start on that banana pudding recipe!

Review by Fran Lewis

Serving up some down home and down south great cooking , February 27, 2009
By Fran Lewis "Fran and Bertha" - See all my reviews
Serving Up Some Great Southern Cooking and Hospitality:

Stir, Laugh, Repeat
By Martha A. Cheves

Reviewed by: Fran Lewis

Move over Paula Dean, Emeril, and Rachel Ray: Make way for the new Queen of Southern hospitality and cooking our very own Martha Cheves. From her home made pies to her delicious desserts Martha sends the reader into mouth-watering heaven as she describes in detail how each recipe was created and the stories behind them. As a total non-cook and someone who has trouble boiling water without burning it or making an egg hard without it exploding; even I can follow and create one of her clear, concise and easy to understand recipes.

As I read each one, I began thinking how great it would be to her as a friend and neighbor. Having Martha as a neighbor would mean never having to cook or bring in take out ever again. Hopefully including me as one of her food testers I would get to sample and gladly volunteer to try out her new recipes and never have to use a microwave or a stove ever again.

From her creative ways of dealing with leftovers and her fun filled family traditions, this book motivated me to try one of her recipes and share them with my friends and family too and finally break in my new and unused stove.

As a child, I watched my grandmother create homemade chicken soup, chocolate pudding and even grind her own meat. I loved licking the spoon while the chocolate was hot. However, she would never allow anyone, including my mom, to go near her stove or broiler. The kitchen was her domain only.

How great for Martha's children to grow up with a mom who made every meal an adventure and fun. Mystery night sounded great and her banana pudding story was funny.

As a true chicken lover, I decided to put the Basil Grilled Chicken Recipe to the test. If I can make it, anyone can. I agree with Martha that forty dollars for dinner is steep and that making your own meals is not only healthier because you know what ingredients are in it and you can enjoy the benefits of your own home made meal.

To make sure that I did total justice to this recipe I had my husband create it and make it. I read the recipe to him and went with him to get the ingredients. However, in order to make sure it came out the way Martha would make it, I watched as he created the best meal I have had in a long time. Your Basil Grilled Chicken gets five stars from me and so does this cookbook.

Bon Appétit Everyone:

Congrats Martha: Hope to see you on your own cooking show on the food channel.

Review by Darden North, MD

Rising Celebrity Chef Wows Both Beginner and Master of the Flame, March 3, 2009
By Darden North (Jackson, MS) - See all my reviews
Stir, Laugh, Repeat: Finding Joy While Playing in the Kitchen
Author: Martha A Cheves Publisher: Tate Publishing
Submitted by Darden North, MD

My wife has often suggested I take up cooking. In fact, one of my physician friends was recently featured in our local paper doing just that. It seems that the anesthesiologist expertly prepares gourmet meals on his grill and makes it look easy. Anyway, I have never taken my wife's suggestion about cooking and instead have started writing books. And it seems that a major aspect of being a twenty-first century author is networking with other writers as well as with readers --- lots of readers, one hopes.

This networking has lead me to author Martha A. Cheves and her culinary creations in the beautiful cookbook Stir, Laugh, Repeat: Finding Joy While Playing in the Kitchen. Frankly, this is the first time I have ever paid any attention to a cookbook, other than the time my wife Sally proofed and wrote the index for one and the dishes she has whipped up from the many other cookbooks filling the shelves in our kitchen.

However, were I to take up cooking, the unique quality of Cheves's Stir, Laugh, Repeat would be a premium start. The value of Martha's work rests in its straightforward, easy-to-follow directions that even a doctor can follow. You see, a physician's true surgical talent lies in making the correct diagnosis, counseling the ailing patient, and successfully performing the corrective surgery. While reading and chuckling through Stir, Laugh, Repeat, it quickly hit me like a flying frying pan that Martha A. Cheves is clearly the a surgeon of the kitchen. Furthermore, she emerges as a soft humorist whose talents rival her celebrity contemporaries.

Through Cheves's incorporation into her recipes of items commonly found at the neighborhood grocery, if not already found in one's pantry, she makes easy use of leftovers, turning any kitchen into the envy of a popular restaurant and any cooking-illiterate male physician into a Chef Emeril Lagasse-wannabe. Cheves links clever anecdotes and personal stories to creations. One of my favorites concerns her invitation to a restaurant meal as the guest of her significant other's ex-wife. Throughout her unexpected enjoyment of the company as well as the chicken entrée, Cheves mentally dissects the delectable preparation even as she plans to recreate the ingredients into her own personal dish.

Another plus for beginner cooks, certainly to be appreciated by busy, no non-nonsense masters of the flame as well, is the book's index, which is alphabetized by food categories: breads, desserts, fruits, meats, etc. So if I were going to take up cooking like my doctor friend, I would start with Stir, Laugh, Repeat by Martha A. Cheves. Nevertheless, for now, I'm going to hang with my laplaptop and write mystery novels in my spare time, leaving my wife to try Cheves's pecan or meatloaf muffins, maybe the tasty fried pineapple, the spicy chicken salad spread, or the freezer clean-out beef veggie soup. I'll just continue to fire up my own outdoor grill, and thrill my family and friends with the occasional juicy steak, marinated chicken breast, or thick cheeseburger. I have those recipes in my head.
--- by Darden North, MD
North practices medicine fulltime in Jackson, MS, and is the author of three mystery/suspense novels.

Review by Deborah S. Hockenberry

Move over Rachel. Move over Paula. Make room for Martha Cheves! In her new cookbook, `Stir, Laugh, Repeat: Finding Joy While Playing In The Kitchen' there are easy meals for everybody and every tastebud.

In each recipe you'll find helpful tips plus stories about Martha's family, food testers and about Martha herself. Because of these humorous stories and kitchen tips, not only is `Stir, Laugh, Repeat: Finding Joy While Playing In The Kitchen' is also a great book to read!

All of Martha's recipes can be converted to any kind of diet that you might be on easily. I even found some that look like they would work in my crockpot. This cookbook is a must-have for anyone who either likes to cook or just eat!