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Tuesday, August 6, 2013


...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. Some magazines will reissue popular or
classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-

22. FEAR OF FOOD; a history of why we worry about what we eat
(University of Chicago Press, 2012, 2013, 218 pages, ISBN 978-0-226-
05490-2, $15 US soft covers) is by Harvey Levenstein, a professor
emeritus of history at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He has
published a number of books about American social food history, such as
"Revolution at the Table" and "Paradox of Plenty". This time out he
describes the US as a "nation gripped by gustatory paranoia": problems
with eggs (raw? cholesterol? allergies?), wine (good? bad?), death by
pesticides and/or additives and/or processed foods? Read all about it
here, with a spillover to fears in Canada. A lot of the book deals with
single products, such as eggs and milk, red meat, bacteria, and more.
Early scientists warned about deadly microbes, followed by later
researchers who say that processing food to get rid of microbes robs
the food of vitamins and minerals. It is a see-saw battle, antagonized
by Big Foody who prey on people's fears by marketing their "food" to
play into the fear of the day. There are also details on eating
disorders, , diet, food preferences, and food phobias. It is a great
history (loaded with end note references), well worth a read!
Quality/price rating: 91.

23. THE APPETIZER COLLECTION (Transcontinental Books, 2013; distr.
Random House Canada, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-9877474-4-0, $26.95 CAN soft
covers) is by the Canadian Living Test Kitchen. The kitchen has been
working its way through the family meal course by course over the
years, and this time "appetizers" come up. Actually, the book is being
pitched as party food preps, presumably because many family dinners are
really just a main course with sides and desserts. But apps make the
perfect upscale family dinner, entertainment for guests at a formal
dinner, and are magnificent when folded over into lunches (either
cooked as original or used as leftovers). The seven chapters here deal
with appetizer party planning, dips and spreads, hot apps, cold apps,
savoury pastries, tiny sandwiches, and snacks that go with drinks. As
the book says, there is something for everyone here: the mix-and-match
aspect gives you plenty of cooking/entertaining options. But watch out
for the lamb lollipop prep: the meat will cost you an arm and a leg.
About 200 recipes with variations. Preparations have their ingredients
listed in avoirdupois measurements (with some metric weights), but
there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.

24. EASY ITALIAN; 30 classic recipes (Weldon Owen, 2013; distr. Simon &
Schuster, 116 pages, ISBN 978-1-61628-496-1, $16.95 US soft covers)
25. EASY MEXICAN; 37 classic recipes (Weldon Owen, 2013; distr. Simon &
Schuster, 116 pages, ISBN 978-1-61628-497-8, $16.95 US soft covers)
are both from Saveur magazine. They are classy presentations, with many
photos, and suitable as affordable hostess gifts. Each has the basic
food (pesto focaccia, minestrone, linguine with clams, eggplant
parmesan, shrimp ceviche, tomatillo salsa, Mexican scrambled eggs,
chicken and chile enchiladas, Mexican rice) with photos. There are also
guide to Mexican dried chiles in the one book, Italian/Mexican
pantries, Italian wines, and Mexican wines (and mezcal but no beers).
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is a table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.

26. VEGETABLES; a biography (University of Chicago Press, 2012, 112
pages, ISBN 978-0-226-05995-2, $15 US soft covers) is by Evelyne Bloch-
Dano, who has written many diverse books. It was originally published
in France in 2008. The book is slim, and marred even further by the
lack of an index (although it does have a bibliography and enough blank
pages [for an index] at the end). It's sort of a condensed version of
the Reaktion series of food books, covering 11 veggies (including
parsnips, beans, cabbage, peas, pumpkins, and even tomatoes which are
botanically "fruits") with a handful of short preps such as a Sicilian
tomato sauce (strattu), a vegetable tagine, a puree of root vegetables,
and Alexandre Dumas' asperges en petit pois. An engaging little book,
but at this price, maybe one to borrow from the public library.
Quality/price rating: 85.
27. EASY INDIAN COOKING. 2d ed. (Robert Rose, 2004, 2013, 240 pages,
ISBN 978-0-7788-0450-5, $19.95 CAN and US soft covers) is by Suneeta
Vaswani. She has taught Indian cooking in the US and other places for
over 30 years, but has just moved back to Mumbai where she was born.
This second edition has a new Chaat and Street Foods section. Flavours
abound but does ease, which makes the book n=beneficial to the home
cook willing to try out Indian cuisine. Many cookbook s don't make it
to another edition, so it says something that this one is not only back
in print but there are newer recipes. The total here is 140, and is
mostly comprised of the classics from north and south India. There are
notes on a pantry and on condiments (sauces and chutneys), as well as
sweets and beverages. Many street food items can serve as apps. There's
yellow lentil soup with veggies (toor dal), scrambled eggs (akoori),
caramelized carrot pudding (gajar ka halwa), and Indian style
ratatouille with five spices (panch phoran tarkari). Preparations have
their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.

28. GUY GOURMET; great chefs' amazing meals for a lean & healthy body
(Rodale, 2013, 320 pages, ISBN 978-1-60961-979-4, $24.99 US hard
covers) has been edited by Adina Steiman and Paul Kita, with the
editors of Men's Health magazine. There are about 150 recipes here,
from Rick Bayless, Thomas Keller, Anita Lo, Masaharu Morimoto, Marcus
Samuelsson, and others. It's based on the coverage in the magazine, and
is directed to males. So there are brunches and breakfasts here, as
well as fast weeknight dinners, snacks and big-batch food for crowds.
There are also chapters on BBQ and grill, camp cookery, intimate
dinners for "date night", and man-sized celebrations such as trash can
turkey, Guinness-braised short ribs, and cheese platters. Drinks are
also included, but they are all cocktails and beers. Wine is basically,
how to pour champagne. There are "masterclasses" for the standard prep,
such as meatballs, kebabs, chili, dips, ice cream sauces, and chicken
soup. It is all healthy enough food, but it is still a little light on
veggies. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois
measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 88.
29. WEIGHTWATCHERS 50th ANNIVERSARY COOKBOOK (St. Martins Griffin, 2013,
335 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-03640-7, $29.99 US hard covers) is from WWI
and is mainly derived from the magazine, although many of the preps in
this book come from "Greatest Hits", which has been around since 2002
and last appeared as the 40th anniversary cookbook (with 250 recipes).
Here, there has been the usual updating with new nutrition values plus
another 30 recipes, to be at 280 preps in all. If you have the 40th
book, then you may safely pass up this one – unless you want the latest
tips and the newest PointsPlus values. All courses are covered, from
breakfasts through lunches, entrees, meatless, Italian faves, side
dishes, and desserts. Very useful if you don't have the earlier
edition. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois
measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents. Quality/price
rating: 87.


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