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Sunday, July 26, 2009

BOOK REVIEWS: THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...

THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...
 

...all reflect a boom in the cookbook publishing business. A paperback
reprint will lower the cost to the purchaser, and also give a publisher
a chance to correct egregious errors or add a postscript. Some will
reissue a book in paper covers with a new layout or photos. Others will
rearrange existing material to present it as more informative text
while keeping the focus tight. Here are some recent "re-editions"...
 

11. GUIDE TO HEALTHY RESTAURANT EATING. 4th edition (American Diabetes
Association, 2009; distr. McGraw Hill, 830 pages, ISBN 978-1-58-040315-
3, $17.95US paper covers) has been put together by Hope S. Warshaw, RD,
MMSc, CDE – a nationally recognized expert on healthy eating and
diabetes. This is a hard to beat book if you eat out a lot and are
diabetic or just want to cut back on superfluous calories, sugars and
fats. The coverage is for American chain restaurants, and (for the most
part) these same chains also exist in Canada. Six meals a week are
eaten out in restaurants, mostly at chains where you just walk in and
go up to the front. 61 chains are covered (although Tim Horton's is
listed as only available online at the website below), and almost 7,000
items are analyzed. The arrangement is by loose type of diner:
breakfasts, snacks, chicken, seafood, burgers, family fare, soups and
sandwiches, pizza, tacos, Asiatic, and frozen desserts. Nutritional
analyses for each item include calories, fat content, saturated fats,
cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fibre and protein. Choices and
Exchanges are also listed. So you can go through all the burger and
pizza joints to find the "best" possible foods. She has sample meals
that show readers how to make healthy meals from the menu of each
resto, and related to this she also indicates "Healthiest Bet" choices
from every establishment. I wish she had also done highly refined corn
fructose (HRCF) as well. This is a survival kit; it has been published
since 1999. More can be found at www.diabetes.org/healthyrestaurant,
especially searching for key terms. Quality/price rating: 95.
 
 
 
 
 
12. CRUSH ON NIAGARA; the definitive wine tour guide for Niagara, Lake
Erie North Shore, Pelee Island and Prince Edward County (Whitecap,
2009,
240 pages, ISBN 978-1-55285-980-3, $19.95 paper covers) is by Andrew
Brooks, a sommelier who not only owns a Niagara vineyard but also a
wine tour company (Crush on Niagara Wine Tours. It was originally
written in 2004 and published as 160 pages. It is now five years later,
and there are 50% more pages. The industry has grown dramatically. The
original coverage was just Niagara (56 wineries). But now he has 98.
in the Niagara Peninsula, from the smallest (Domaine Vagners, 1000
cases) to the largest. And, of course, the industry continues to shake
out, with a handful of wineries disappearing or merging. The directory
data includes winery hours, contact information, annual production,
acreage (not hectares), and where to purchase the wine. Other basic
contents include wine serving and wine pairing suggestions, glassware
tips, accommodation, shopping, and eating places. The book is very
useful for information about the smaller and newer wineries, such as
Caroline Cellars, Palatine Hills, and the organic Frogpond Farm. Each
Niagara profile gets two pages, accompanied by photos. There are no
pictures for the other regions' wineries. Chase gives an assessment of
the better wines and his recommendations ("Sommelier's picks"). But the
photos are often small and dark, and there are no real Tasting Notes.
The front and back French covers have page references to wineries,
listed in alphabetical order. There is a good chapter on tips on buying
Ontario wines. But there are no fruit wineries except for Sunnybrook
Farms. Quality/Price Ratio: 90.
 
 
 

13. FLAVORS OF PROVENCE (Ryland Peters & Small, 2007, 2009; distr.
T.Allen,
160 pages, ISBN 978-1-84597-854-9, $21.95US paper covers) is by Clare
Ferguson, a British food and travel writer who also lives in Greece,
North America, and other parts of the world. It's a very appealing
book, good for armchair travelers, and one of a regional series, which
began with Tuscany. Here, there are 90 recipes. There is a discussion
on ingredients but these are scattered through the book (olives,
walnuts and their oils; herbs and garlic; fish and poultry; sweets;
sheep and goat cheese; wines). The recipes are arranged by course from
apps to desserts to beverages. Websites are noted. Recipes are the
classics of salade nicoise; pan bagna; ratatouille; pistou;
tians; tapenade; and fougasse. The pissaladiere uses 80 – 100 black
olives for 8 people. And there are some obscure regional dishes as
well. But there are too many locational pictures at the expense of demo
pix. Avoirdupois measurements are used, but there are metric conversion
charts. Quality/price rating: 85.
 

14. SEASONAL FOOD; a guide to what's in season, when and why (Eden
Project Books, 2009; distr. Random House, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-905-
81136-6, $21.95 Canadian paper covers) is by Paul Waddington. It was
originally published in 2004; this is the paperback reissue. Waddington
is an environmental writer. This is a guidebook to seasonal food "in
Britain, so that locals can eat produce at its best, contribute to a
renaissance in local production, and simple revel in the variety of the
seasons." There are charts and chapters starting with January through
December, listing what's available and when. There are also some common
but useful recipes (morels on fried bread, ratatouille, et al), all
indexed. Both avoirdupois and metric forms of weights and measures are
listed with the ingredients. BUT – the scope is British, and the book
appears not to have been updated since 2004 (certainly, the former
bibliography is listed as it was). Quality/Price rating: 82.
 

15. EASY MEDITERRANEAN; simple recipes from sunny shores (Ryland Peters
& Small, 2007, 2009; dist. Thomas Allen, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-84597-
814-3, $16.95 US soft covers) is a collection of about 100 recipes from
11 authors who have written books for this publisher. Most of the preps
are from Maxine Clark and Clare Ferguson. So it is an omnium gatherum
in the truest anthological sense. Ryland has a whole series of "Easy"
books, all at the same price, and all in this same format. All courses
are covered here, from apps to sweets, mainly from Southern France,
Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Morocco. The major classics are here,
with well-framed photos: fish baked with lemon, oregano, and potatoes;
Sicilian green vegetables; soupe au pistou; Spanish fish cakes; okra
with dried limes; and Turkish pizza turnover. Avoirdupois measurements
are used, but there are metric conversion charts. Quality/Price Rating:
83.
 
 
 
16. THE ACCIDENTAL VEGAN (Celestial Arts, 2009, 228 pages, ISBN 978-1-
58761-338-8, $16.95 US paper covers) is by Devra Gartenstein, chef-
owner of the Patty Pan Grill in Seattle; it is a vegetarian-vegan
resto. More than 25 percent of North Americans have some form of
lactose-intolerance, making dairy-free cooking increasingly popular.
Vegan cookbooks are selling briskly. Gartenstein has revised her 2000
book, and added 20 new recipes. Instructions have been simplified, and
the emphasis is now on local and fresh foods. The full range of
appetizers to desserts has been maintained, and there is a strong
Asiatic influence plus popular Italian and Mexican dishes. Good leading
in the recipes. Avoirdupois measurements are used, but there is no
metric table of equivalents. Try tamari-roasted sunflower seeds, Thai
noodle salad, Lebanese white been salad, Spanish veggie stew, or barley
with almonds. Quality/Price rating: 87.
 

17. TABLE INSPIRATIONS; original ideas for stylish entertaining (Ryland
Peters & Small, 2001, 2005, 2009; distr. by T. Allen, 143 pages, ISBN
1-84172-823-5, $19.95 paper covers) is by Emily Chalmers, a freelance
stylist and writer. She firmly believes that a decorative table (at
home or in a restaurant) gives a sense of occasion and heightens
anticipation. Even simple meals can be made memorable this way. She
gives 20 themed occasions or festive meals: a brunch, alfresco, Asian-
style elegance, Christening tea and other events, children's party,
surprise birthday buffet. At the end, for reference, there is a visual
directory of seven international place settings, both formal and
informal. The source lists cover both UK and US stores. Settings are
easy to create for busy people. Food does taste better when it is
beautifully presented. Everything here is both interesting and doable.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 

18. D.K.'s SUSHI CHRONICLES FROM HAWAII; recipes from Sansei Seafood
Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Ten Speed Press, 2009,244 pages, ISBN 978-1-
58008-963-0, $24.95 US paper covers) is by Dave Kodama, now an
executive chef/owner of four Sansei restos and other dining
establishments in Hawaii. He is assisted by Bonnie Friedman who does
the PR for Kodama's companies. The book was originally published in
2003; this is the paperback reissue of favourite dishes from his
restaurants. For the most part, it is Pan Asiatic fusion cuisine, with
bits of Hawaiian, American and European ingredients and techniques.
Arrangement is for sushi and sashimi, shikomi and sauces, "small
plates" and "big plates" and "sweet plates". Avoirdupois measurements
are used, but there is no metric table of equivalents. Try foie gras
nigiri, unagi and avocado nigiri with raspberry coulis, sweet miso
scallops, Pacific Rim salmon, or seared buffalo strip loin sashimi.
Quality/Price rating: 88.
 

19. BAKING & PASTRY; mastering the art and craft. Second edition (John
Wiley & Sons, 2009, 932 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-05591-5, $70 US hard
covers) is from the Culinary Institute of America. It was originally
published in 2004. It's one of those books which can serve as a text at
a hospitality school and/or as a useful reference book for home cooks.
There are 625 recipes, covering the entire range, from primer
(ingredients, baking formulas, percentages, techniques) to yeast-raised
breads, pastry dough, batters, cakes, custards, creams, icings, frozen
desserts, pies, etc. etc. 244 of the 461 photos and illustrations are
new to this edition. Newer material covers vegan items, kosher, frozen
desserts, breakfast pastries, savoury braking, healthy nutrition,
design and display, plus wedding cake décor. Recipes are scaled to home
cooking, and measurements are in both metric and avoirdupois, and
sometimes with percentages. The book weighs six and a quarter pounds.
Quality/Price rating: 87.
 
 
 
20. PURE SIMPLE COOKING; effortless meals every day (Ten Speed Press,
2009, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-58008-948-7, $21.95 US paper covers) is by
Diana Henry, a prominent British cookbook author, award winner, TV
host, and food columnist for the Sunday Telegraph. It was originally
published in Britain as "Cook Simple" in 2007. The publisher says that
it is an everyday cookbook with 150 recipes that feature simple food
enhanced with fresh ingredients. Still, log rolling must have been
needed since both Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall ("The River Cottage Meat
Book") and Deborah Madison (multiple cookbooks) lend their
endorsements. Classic recipes dominate, but each has been gussied up
with additional taste points and variations. For example, for desserts,
try peaches with gorgonzola and mascarpone, peaches in moscato,
Prosecco with sorbet and summer berries, figs and raspberries with
mascarpone, drained yoghurt with honey and pistachios and berries,
strawberries in Beaujolais, cherries on ice, boozy raisins and about a
dozen more. Arrangement is by major ingredient – chicken, chops,
sausages, leg of lamb, fish, pasta, veggies, fruits, and desserts.
Avoirdupois measurements are used, but there is no metric table of
equivalents. The picture of a lamb stuffed with goat cheese, tomatoes
and basil is dynamite. Mediterranean recipes predominate, mainly
Provence, Italy, North Africa and Greece. Quality/Price rating: 90.
 

21. MAXINE CLARK'S ITALIAN KITCHEN; simple steps to great tasting
Italian food (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2009; distr. T. Allen, 192
pages, ISBN 978-1-84597-829-7, $29.95 US hard covers) is by Maxine
Clark. Some of this book comes from her previous Italian cookbooks (Al
Forno, Bruschetta, Flavors of Tuscany, Italian Salads, Italian
Vegetables, Pizza, Risotto, and Trattoria). These 75 recipes make a
good all-round collection, with great photography. These are all the
fave dishes of everyday food of pasta, gnocchi, risotto, and polenta.
Lots of detail on prep work. Chapters are arranged by course beginning
with antipasti and moving to dessert. The weights and measures are in
avoirdupois, but there are tables of metric conversions. Most of the
book is primer-type and the recipes are basic classics, but that's
needed for beginners. Try zucchini and mint fritters, spinach and
ricotta timbales, fennel and leeks braised in cream and lemon, warm
lentil salad, creamy tomato and bread soup, pizza Bianca. Quality/price
rating: 84.
 

22. THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN KITCHEN; traditional recipes contemporary
flavours (Tuttle Publishing, 2006, 176 pages, ISBN 978-0-8048-3836-8,
$24.95 US hard covers) is by Jennifer M. Aranas, formerly chef-owner of
Rambutan Restaurant in Chicago. Now she teaches and writes about
Filipino foods. This is both a basic book and a fusion book, with over
100 recipes. There's not a lot about Filipino cuisine and culture, but
enough to get you started. The Philippines were a crossroads culture,
with influences from China, Spain, US and Mexico. I read somewhere that
Mexico was most highly influential. The book is arranged by course,
from apps to desserts. But there are only three adobo recipes in all,
which is a bit strange since adobo is the national dish. You'll have to
read the recipe for duck adobo in order to find out what adobo is (and,
or course, it can be used with any meat or vegetable). Both avoirdupois
and metric measurements are used. Unfortunately, while all the preps
are listed with page references in the table of contents, there is no
index. Quality/Price rating: 82.
 
 
 
23. THE CALIFORNIA DIRECTORY OF FINE WINERIES; fourth edition (Wine
House
Press, 2006, 160 pages, $19.95 US hardbound) is a book package, with
Marty Olmstead a travel writer, and Robert Holmes a photographer (there
are over 200 photos here), plus a slew of designers and copyeditors.
Sixty-nine wineries are covered, in Napa (31), Sonoma (32) and
Mendocino (6). Each is profiled and is physically described (layout of
winery operations, buildings, gardens), along with reproductions of
labels. Various sidebars list directions, vineyard tours, wine
tastings, culinary events, and nearby attractions. Maps show these
wineries plus about 100 others within the counties. For example, in
Napa, there are Beringer, Clos du Val, and Silver Oak. In Sonoma, there
are Arrowood, Benziger, and Chateau St.Jean. There are also no tasting
notes, nor any recipes, but the book is very useful for trips and
tastings. Quality/price rating: 84.
 
 
 
24. A RETURN TO COOKING (Artisan, 2009; distr. by T. Allen, 330 pages,
ISBN 978-1-57965-393-4, $25.95 US soft covers) is by Eric Ripert, chef
and part owner of Le Bernardin. He also is associated with restos in
Grand Cayman, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. Sharing the writing
credits is Michael Ruhlman, cookbook author and memoirist. Here are 150
recipes dedicated to the carefully slow approach to cooking. It was
originally published in 2002; this is the paperback reissue. Advanced
log rolling comes from Martha Stewart, Anthony Bourdain, and Suzanne
Goin. The book is also part memoir and part picture-book. His
influences in life came from Sag Harbor, Puerto Rico, Napa Valley, and
Vermont. Thus, he divides the book up that way, with recipes and
thoughts from each place. Try venison loin with parsnip-celeriac puree
and cranberries, shellfish ragout, halibut with grapes and wine sauce,
rice pudding with sautéed bananas and chocolate sauce, Portobello and
eggplant tart, and roasted whole turbot with spring veggies.
Avoirdupois measurements are used, but there is no metric table of
equivalents. Quality/Price rating: 88.
 

25. REMARKABLE SERVICE; a guide to winning and keeping customers for
servers, managers, and restaurant owners. Second edition (John Wiley &
Sons, 2009, 294 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-19740-0, $29.95 US paper covers)
is from the Culinary Institute of America. The premise here is that
competitive restaurants must have consistent, high-quality service –
and this is hard to do with minimum wages and lowered tips (due to the
economy). While chapters cover every angle such as table service, prep
work, money handling, reservations, seating, wine service, special
functions, safety, customer relations and the like, it falls short on
"motivation" (there is no entry in the index). There is nothing extra
given for great service since all tips are now normally shared, and in
some restos, management/owners also take a portion of the tips. The
best waiter subsidizes the worst waiter. Nevertheless, there is expert
advice here on how to do it all properly and with élan. The first
edition was back in 2001. Newer material concentrates non safety and
customer relations, plus special function events. Quality/price rating:
87.
 
 
 
26. THE END OF FOOD (Mariner Books, 2009, 400 pages, ISBN 978-0-547-
08597-5, $14.95 US soft covers) is by Paul Roberts, an author who
writes on resource economics and politics for magazines and newspapers.
He wrote the doomsday "The End of Oil" in 2004, and now the failure of
the modern food economy is his new theme. His book (this is a reprint
of his 2008 work) is endorsed by Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food).
This is not a hard book to get in to, although it is depressing. It
certainly is a timely book because of the excessive rise in food prices
since January 2008. Indeed, he has an eight page afterword to bring the
book up to date. His scope is broad, ranging from making food to
marketing food and to moving what we eat. Of course, it is all entwined
with OIL, his previous book. So he has done his basic research. And
there are extremes here: the "haves" are now obese while the "have-
nots" are starving. What's new and different over the past few years
have been the incredible amount of international investments and
speculative food futures markets (commodity exchanges). With the
entrance of China as a global player, the whole situation has been
compounded. Commodity producers have taken over: they spend money on
political campaign contributions, lobbying, food security, and
transportation (read: oil) costs. They believe in ethanol which is
raising grain prices. They set prices yet get government subsidies.
Their profit margins grow, they don't cover deficiencies. They
influence trade policies. Worst still, they have managed to convince
pension funds to buy into the investments. There are long-term costs
associated with commodity producers, and we need to be aware of them.
There are extensive endnotes and a bibliography (strangely enough,
though, he does not cite Marion Nestle's 2006 book "What to Eat"
although her two other books are there). Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
 
 
27. RISOTTO WITH VEGETABLES, SEAFOOD, MEAT AND MORE (Ryland Peters &
Small, 2009; distr. T.Allen, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84597-809-9, $19.95
soft covers) is by Maxine Clark, a cooking teacher and writer who
specializes in Italian food. She has also written other such books for
Ryland in the past. This book was originally published in 2005.
Beginning with the basics (white risotto step-by-step, broths), she
continues with sections on Best Broths, Useful Ingredients, Websites,
and U.S. mail order sources. There is a vegetarian section, but of
course, risottos deal mostly with cheese, egg, poultry, meats, and
seafood. There are 46 recipes here plus six others (e.g., "barlotto"
barley risotto, arancine di riso, and desserts). The book has metric
conversion charts for the U.S. volume measurements. Try gelato di riso,
fennel and black olive risotto, pesto risotto, chicken confit risotto,
or beet risotto. Each recipe is illustrated with a lush presentation
photo. Quality/Price Ratio: 85.
 
 
 

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