Readers' Best Recipes and the Stories Behind Them | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Readers' Best Recipes: Free Samples!

Primary Image

The brand new cookbook from The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Readers’ Best Recipes and the Stories Behind Them, is shipping now!

No content available.

Readers' Best Recipes and the Stories Behind Them

Print Friendly and PDF

We love this cookbook! Sample three reader recipes—and hear the stories behind the recipes!

All three recipes come courtesy of our brand-new cookbook, The Old Farmer’s Almanac Readers’ Best Recipes and the Stories Behind Them—which we created this year in honor of the special 225th anniversary of The Old Farmer’s Almanac!

We invited Almanac readers to share their best recipes—the favorites served at family gatherings, potlucks, parties, and supper tables, the ones that keep folks coming back for more. You’ll love the heartwarming, humorous, and true stories that these cooks tell, too!

To give you a taste, here are three of our favorite recipes from the cookbook—and the readers’ stories.

1. Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

The Story:

I developed this recipe by tinkering with four French onion soup recipes that I found in my cookbook collection, using as a base the ingredients and directions that occurred most often in the various recipes. I made it first for a church soup luncheon, then again for my elderly parents in Vermont, after my mother said that it was a favorite soup of hers and she hadn’t had it in a long time. The joy of watching her eat that bowl of soup is with me to this day. It’s not your usual French onion soup—there’s no gooey cheese broiled over top—but it’s a flavorful, easy recipe, made conveniently in a slow cooker. It’s a keeper!
–Daphne Turner, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania


1/2 cp (1 stick) butter or margarine
3 large onions, thinly sliced
4 cups hot water
2 tablespoons instant beef bouillon or 6 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 slices toasted French bread
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Melt butter in a skillet over low heat. Add onions and cook slowly, up to 45 minutes to release maximum flavor, or until nicely browned, stirring frequently. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add water, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

To serve, top each bowl with 1 slice of bread. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Recipe may be doubled and kept hot in slow cooker.

Makes 4 servings.


Photo Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner.

2. Grandma’s Meatballs

The Story:

All my life, I thought that these were my mother’s meatballs. One afternoon, when I was actually making the recipe in front of her, she said, “Where did you learn how to make meatballs?” I said, “You taught me.” She replied no, that it was not her recipe. “I don’t put vegetables in, nor do I fry,” she said. “I bake my meatballs.” When I gave her a meatball out of the frying pan, she tasted it and said, “These are Grandma’s meatballs!”—and we laughed. Enjoy!
–Jo Ann Gallo, Bloomsbury, New Jersey


1/2 pound 85% lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
3 large eggs
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 baguette (or loaf of French or Italian bread, no seeds)
Olive oil, for frying


In a bowl, combine all ingredients except bread and oil. Mix thoroughly.

Wet half of bread with water, then squeeze out excess water. Tear into small pieces and add to meat mixture. Mix with your hands. It should be sticky but hold together. If too wet (not holding together), wet remaining bread, squeeze out excess water, and add in pieces as necessary to make mixture sticky and hold together.

In a sauté pan or skillet ovr medium heat, warm 1 inch of olive oil until hot. Using 1/4 cup of meat mixture at a time, form meatballs by hand or with an ice cream scoop. Add to oil (meatball should sizzle). Turn to brown on all sides. Drain your meatballs on paper towels and serve with your favorite sauce.

Makes 25 to 35 meatballs.


Photo Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner.

3. Heavenly Plum Kuchen

Watch the video below to see how to make this Heavenly Plum Kuchen dessert by Linda Ruth from Peterborough, NH. Here’s the printable recipe, too.

What Else is Inside the Readers’ Best Recipes Cookbook?

Oh, my! How about Momma’s Salted Caramel Shortbread Bars, Aunt Barb’s Special Meatball Sauce, Gra’s Barbecue Chicken, Phil’s Chocolate Sauce, and so many more!

  • We cover mouth-watering recipes for breakfast, appetizers, sides, salads, soups, main dishes, breads, and desserts.
  • Our Almanac editors tell how to prepare, store, and substitute key ingredients.
  • We include handy charts ensure proper cooking times, pan sizes, and measurements.
  • And we offer helpful tips and testers’ comments, too!

Don’t these recipes look delicious? Purchase Readers’ Best Recipes and the Stories Behind Them online at the Almanac Store. With a purchase of this wonderful cookbook, you will also receive the fabulous Eats magazine-style cookbook—for free! See recipes from Eats here.

2023 Almanac Club