...is one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic best sellers, since the book can be flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans of the chef and/or the restaurant and/or the media personality. Many of the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But because most of these books are American, they use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to point this out. The usual shtick is "favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem to work at home, but how could that be? The books all claim to be kitchen tested for the home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef bounding about. The celebrity books, with well-known chefs or entertainers, seem to have too much self-involvement and ego. And, of course, there are a lot of food photo shots, verging on gastroporn. There are endorsements from other celebrities in magnificent cases of logrolling. If resources are cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –
3.FROM JUNK FOOD TO JOY FOOD (Hay House, 2016, 262 pages, ISBN 978-1-4019-5037-8, $24.99 USD hardbound) is by Joy Bauer, nutrition and health expert for the TODAY show (NBC, USA), and host of the "Joy Fit Club" which celebrates people for have lost 100 pounds or more. This current book, which deals with all manner of popular food re-invented for a healthier lifestyle, is drawn from her TV show of the same name. Her book covers all the courses and mealtimes, from breakfasts through appetizers, soups, salads, suppers, pastas, pizza, desserts, and beverages. For each food (e.g., eggs Benedict) she describes the original (here, 1000 calories) and her healthy knock-off (here, 377 calories, along with nutritional data). She replaces pancakes that one would find in a diner with "protein pancakes" at a third of the calories. And the same with silver dollar pancakes. "Spaghetti and meatballs" becomes zucchini linguine with meatballs. Good stuff all round, usually resulting in calorie reductions of half to 2/3. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of conversion equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
4.DIVA Q'S BARBEQUE (Appetite by Random House, 2016, 278 pages, ISBN 978-0-14-752982-4, $24.95 CAD softbound) is by Danielle Bennett, host of BBQ Crawl (as Diva Q), and highly ranked as a competitive BBQ expert. There are some impressive log rollers, but what can really sell the book is the fact that there are not all that many female BBQ pit masters. It has always seemed to be a guy's game. Here she's got 195 recipes for BBQ for family and entertaining, covering a full range from basics through rubs, sauces, spices, apps, pork-beef-poultry-fish, salads and breads. There is even a section on sweets, such as "s'more better dip" for toasting. It is a very entertaining package with her saucy style. Her best chapter is the "six recipes you need to know" (basic brine, smoked garlic, flavoured butters, etc.). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric conversion equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
5.PROJECT SMOKE (Workman, 2016, 293 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-8186-6, $22.95 USD softbound) is by Steven Raichlen, a long time host of popular PBS grill and BBQ shows. His BBQ books have won multiple awards. He's been hosting/writing BBQ for a couple of decades now (29 books!). This is a step-by-step guide to mastering the craft of smoking. He's got 100 recipes, covering not only brisket-ribs-belly-salmon-turkey but also smoking sides. There's the important equipment chapter, choosing hardwoods, and making sure that you get the most out of things. His seven step approach begins with choosing a smoker, through to knowing when the food is done. His pragmatic approach includes boosting smoke flavours without using a smoker: just add bacon, or chipotle, ham, smoked paprika, smoked cheese, or lapsang souchon. He advocates smoking such items as butter, ricotta, salt, sugar, mayo, olive oil, capers, lemons, bologna – even ice!. It is a versatile book...full of tips and advice on every page. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents, unfortunately. Quality/price rating: 89.
6.AROUND THE FIRE (Ted Speed Press, 2016, 262 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-752-9, $35 USD hardbound) is by Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quinonez Denton, both of Ox restaurant in Portland. The focusing food writer is Stacy Adimando. The book is a collection of diverse grilling preps from the restaurant, as modified for home use and feasting. Seasonal produce is the core, as well as Argentine fire cooking. There is an emphasis on the unusual, such as grilled skirt steaks or lamb shoulder chops. The sections of the book are arranged by apps, mains, salads, sides, and sweets with drinks. There are some hot cocktails: calimocho, la yapa, ox blood, and the whey of the gun among others. Grilled veggies include such as sweet onion with buttered beets, butternut squash with za'atar and charred green onion yogurt, blistered snap peas, and baby bok choy with Ecuadorian peanut sauce. Excellent photography and good stories about their restaurant Ox. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
7.CHURRASCO (Gibbs Smith, 2016, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-4068-4, $30 USD hardbound) is by Evandro Caregnato, culinary director of Texas de Brazil, which began in Addison Texas in 1998. It's all about grilling the Brazilian way, with modifications for the home. There's a wonderful description here of the grilling tradition in Brazil and the concept of a churrascaria. Most of the meats are on skewers, which makes it hard to do at home without the proper equipment and space. So it is pretty well boneless for maximum impact. Charcoal is always used, unlike the Argentine and Uruguayan wood. There is a lot of material on the various meat cuts and preparing the skewer, collated by animal. Marinades are prominent too. There are also preps dealing with sides such as fried polenta stuffed with cheese, seasoned cassava flour, arroz carreteiro, and even lobster bisque or cream of jalapeno soup. The delightful Brazilian cheese bread (pao de queijo) is covered, as well as the Brazilian caipirinha national drink. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements for the most part, but there are also tables of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
8.WEBER'S NEW AMERICAN BARBECUE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 304 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-71527-1, $24.99 USD softbound) is by Jamie Purviance, Weber's master griller. He has written several grilling books for the Weber banner. This one is a modern spin on the classics, with international dishes Americanized. He's got tomato-bacon jam, grilled salmon BLTs, lemon-brined bacon, a whole slew of beef dishes and bean plates, plus a multitude of marinades and sauces. Some of the recipes come from fellow competitors. And as always with his books, the recipe instructions are quite detailed. There's a whole section on rubs (all 17 of them) plus guides to grilling pork, lamb, beef, poultry, seafood. While the book is useful, it would help if the reader had a Weber BBQ of some sorts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
9.SMOKING MEAT (DK Books, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-4934-4, $19.95 USD softbound) is by Will Fleischman, a brand ambassador for Black Iron BBQ Pits. He's hosted many TV shows. His book is a basic, well-illustrated tome in the DK tradition guide to tools, techniques, cuts, with of course recipes. This is what you'll need to know for smoking (not necessarily BBQ: some people confuse the two). Personally, I love smoked meat but I am not so fond of BBQ. Wood is of the essence here, and the chapters cover beef, lamb, pork, poultry, game, and seafood, with extras comprising smoked mushroom caps, smoked asparagus, even smoked salsa verde and habanero hot sauce. Extremely goof detail with charts on cooking and smoking times and temperatures. Consider jerk-rubbed chicken wings, chicken thighs with white sauce, salmon with sweet glaze, smoked lobster tail, shrimp skewers, and more. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 89.
10.LEGENDS OF TEXAS BARBECUE COOKBOOK (Chronicle Books, 2002, 2016, 205 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-3998-2, $22.95 USD softbound) is by Robb Walsh, a three-time winner of the Beard Journalism Award and co-owner of El Real Tex-Mex Cafe in Houston. This book was originally published in 2002 but has now been revised and updated – a lot has changed since that time. There are 32 new recipes here. Topics include evolution of Texas pits, trophy winners, old German-style meat markets, the importance of East Texas, the rise of BBQ as a "business", rib joints, and regional specialties. The emphasis of course is on smoking and BBQing beef. There are lots and lots of personality profiles here, with pix and some archival photos. These are recipes and recollections from the pit masters of the past and present. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
11.CHEF RONALDO'S SABORES DE CUBA (American Diabetes Association, 2016, 260 pages, ISBN 978-1-58040-613-0, $18.95 USD softbound) is by Ronaldo Linares, executive chef of Martino's Cuban restaurant in New Jersey. He's a specialist in diabetic cooking, and has here adapted many Cuban preps for diabetes-friendly traditional and nuevo cubano cuisine. The book is bilingual, Spanish and English, with the recipes facing each other on the printed pages. There are about 100 of them, from the basic Cubano sandwich to mojo marinated pork tenderloin, roasted sweet plantains, and seared scallops. And of course indexed in both languages. All courses and types of dishes are covered, savoury and sweet. A good looking book. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
12.SPRING; the cookbook (Quadrille, 2015, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-84949-754-1, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Skye Gyngell, owner of Spring Restaurant in London UK. It has preps and original recipes from her place, as well as series of profiles on its creation. She had previously won a Guild of Food Writers Cookery Book of the Year in 2007 for her "A Year in My Kitchen". Her dining establishment celebrates the Spring season, for the most part as many of the dishes can be used year round. Of course there is asparagus (with crème fraiche), eggs and anchovies with radishes, carpaccio of wild salmon, crab with crème fraiche and roe, nettle risotto, and many other dishes using spring veggies and spring lamb. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
13.CREOLE KITCHEN (Weldon Owen, 2015, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-68188-052-5, $35 USD hardbound) is by Vanessa Bolosier, founder of Carib Gourmet which specializes in Caribbean food and sweets in the UK. She comes from French-speaking islands of the Caribbean. Her creole kitchen is a food melange from Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Domenica, French Guiana and Saint Lucia. In this book you will find the melting pot of cultures, beginning with homemade food, street food, local restaurant food, and upscale food for entertaining. She has quite extensive notes on Creole food in particular, with its emphasis on veggies, fruits, and seafood of the region, along with pork. The key elements of creole food include accras (small fritters), boiled racines (roots), bokits (deep fried bread), dombres (dumplings), and rums. Expect avocado feroce, lobster fricassee, breadfruit and pork parmentier, green papaya gratin, and sauce chien. There are about 100 recipes in all. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
14.KEVIN BELTON'S BIG FLAVORS OF NEW ORLEANS (Gibbs Smith, 2016, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-4157-5, $24.99 USD hardcovers) is by Kevin Belton, who also hosts a PBS cooking series on New Orleans food. He has been assisted by Rhonda K. Findley, co-author of several News Orleans food books. It nicely rounds out Creole cooking above the Caribbean (see previous review) with its gumbos, crab and corn bisque, shrimp etouffee, Louisiana pecan praline, crab cakes, "jazz brunches", roux and gumbo. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
15.RUSH HOUR MEALS (Whitecap, 2016, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-303-8, $24.95 CAD softbound) is by Rose Reisman, who has written 19 health-focused cookbooks while also appearing in both print and broadcast, and running a "healthy" catering company. Here she presents recipes for busy families: nutritional ones that are easy and fast to make. Like many similar books, it can all be done in 30 minutes or less. She's got mac and cheese won ton cups, black bean burgers, turkey chili with butternut squash, and miniature quiches. There are 115 preps here, arranged by course from apps to desserts, with some all-day breakfasts for the really harried. Typical are quinoa bites, chicken with roasted cherry tomatoes and asiago, Mexican chicken lasagna, and baked pottao parmesan chips. Each prep comes with some logos such as "gluten-free" or "vegetarian", nutrition tips, advice for kids, and nutritional data. Prep times and cook times are clearly indicated. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. But points off for the incredibly teeny tiny index type font (one point in size?), virtually unreadable by anybody over the age of 35. Quality/price rating: 87.
16.HOT THAI KIYCHEN (Appetite by Random House, 2016, 246 pages, ISBN 978-0-449-01705-0, $24.95 CAD softbound) is by Pailin Chongchitnant, who started her YouTube channel while a chef in the Bay Area and is now a co-host on Gusto TV. Her book is full and comprhensive, fleshing out many moments from the YouTube show of the same name. It's a basic Thai book but it is also well-priced. There's a lot of cultural and travel data and photos here, but there is also the cooking basics of Thai curries, soups, salads, stir-fries, sauces and dips, plus vegetarian and vegan versions of dishes. She's got a small chapter on desserts as well. A good entry-level book for the curious, and lots of close-ups of the plated food. Part one on the techniques covers a hundred pages before the recipes even begin. Not only does she have side-notes explaining the breakdown and the rationale behind the food's "coming together", but she has provided QR codes for her YouTube videos so you can see an actual demo of what she is doing. Unfortunately, preparations have their ingredients listed only in avoirdupois measurements, and there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
17.AMERICA'S BEST BREAKFASTS (Clarkson Potter, 2016, 240 pages, ISBN 978-0-553-44721-7, $23 USD softbound) is by Lee Brian Schrager and Adeena Sussman. He's the founder of the Food Network South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals, and cookbook author. She's a cookbook writer who also collaborated with Schrager on the "Fried and True" cookbook. These are fave local recipes from US coast to coast, essentially from diners and places open really early in the day. It's arranged by region, from the West Coast to the Midwest, to the South, and then to the Northeast. There is even a short chapter on Bloody Marys. So we get "shrimp and grits" from Charleston's Hominy Grill, croque monsieurs from Tartine in San Francisco, kimchi pancakes from the Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Filipino steak from Uncle Mike's in Chicago, and cannoli French toast from the Cafe Lift in Philadelphia – about 100 dishes from 25 cities, all sourced with some pix and profiles of the restos. Yummy. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
18.MEXICAN TODAY (Houghton Mifflin, 2016, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-55724-6, $30 USD hardbound) is Pati Jinich, resident chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC. She's written other cookbooks on Mexican food. The subtitle says "new and rediscovered recipes for contemporary kitchens", but of course, there are plenty of basics and classics too. The arrangement is standard, from soups, through salads, tortas, guacamoles, salsas, adobos, tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, guisados, one dish meals, sides, and desserts followed by beverages. So there are homey dishes such as bacon and lentil soup with plantains or green pozole with zucchini, tortas with chicken and refried beans and plantains, potato and chorizo tortas, open-faced Mexican gravlax sandwiches, crabmeat enchiladas with peas and a buttermilk sauce, and chicken or poultry pibil. It is a no-nonsense book with a good index (large type). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
19.DRINK LIKE A MAN (Chronicle Books, 2016, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-3270-9, $22.95 USD hardbound) is from Esquire magazine. It is touted as "the only cocktail guide anyone really needs", but then they all say that – or some version of that subtitle. There's a whole bunch of people involved, mostly from the magazine, but also a few who were former employees. It is a guy book in that only the essentials are covered: the basic implements, garnishes, bar setups, and the seven cocktail formulas, and even (to cover themselves) "a few seemingly fussy things that are actually worth it". The macho book goes on to present the 14 Classics of Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Martini, Negroni, etc., followed by The Second Round of Slightly Less Essential Cocktails (Bloody Mary, Brandy Alexander, Zombie, et al), and The Third Round of The Odd Inventive (Stinger, Americano, Sloe Gin) and then Punches and some quick guy foods such as potato chips with caviar, alomds and rosemary, deviled eggs, jalapenos wrapped in bacon, etc. My thoughts: real guys only need the first fifty pages here. Preparations have their ingredients listed in some metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. One nice thing: the distinctive typeface of Esquire has been retained. Quality/price rating: 87.
20.COUNTRY COOKING FROM A REDNECK KITCHEN (Clarkson Potter, 2016, 240 pages, ISBN 978-0-553-44845-0 $22 USD softbound) is by Francine Bryson, who has won over 200 local and national baking competitions and has appeared on The American Baking Competition (CBS). I'm not quite sure if the term "redneck" will help sell the book, but she has used it before for her baking book. Here are 125 examples of cooking from the Southern states, although the redneck empire is larger than that. As she says, there are preps for chicken dinners, savoury pies, Sunday suppers, make-and-take casseroles, dips, BBQ, baked goods and holiday sweets. There's a fair number of canned goods and prepared foods to speed up the process (tinned soups, canned small white potatoes, evaporated milk, pimentos, lemon cake mix, and the like). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 82.
21.SHORT ORDER DAD (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016, 252 pages, ISBN 978-1-63450-980-0, $17.99 USD softbound) is by Robert Rosenthal, professional chef, food writer and humourist, and owner of Short Order Dad videos. He's an inspiration to all dad everywhere in his no-nonsense approach to 100 or so crowd-pleasing recipes in this book. It is also a handbook of basic techniques to employ with simple recipes that have the most taste with the fewest ingredients and the least effort. Everything here, of course, has been family-tested and could also be used for entertaining. Apps to desserts are covered, and there is a heavy splash of the American southwest in spicing and cuisine: chorizo beef burger, pork ribs mole style, seared duck breasts over greens, spicy green beans. Multiple log rollers include Floyd Cardoz and Colman Andrews. And there is not one single pix of the author, unlike many similar books by women cooks. Large type font, all caps for list of ingredients, and a decent sized index complete the picture. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.
22.SIROCCO (Appetite by Random House, 2016, 240 pages, ISBN 978-0-14-753033-2, $39.95 CAD hardbound) is by Sabrina Ghayour, host of Sabrina's Kitchen supper club in London UK and free lance writer. The cook is co-published with Mitchell Beazley in the UK. She had earlier written Persiana; here, she returns to the well with more Middle East cookery themes. As before, she emphasizes the pantry as the key to cooking from scratch: these are year round staples, waiting for stews, seasonal veggie delights, salads, and so forth. She's got about a dozen major spices/herbs/oils or combos. Her philosophy is that you can take these condiments and make Middle East versions of many other foods. Her range continues to be all-inclusive, with breakfasts, apps through desserts, and beverages/drinks. Try za'atar and goat cheese puffs, spicy turkey lettuce wraps, or spice-roasted duck. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
23.FIVE (Ebury Press, 2015, 224 pages, ISBN 978-00-9195966-1 $31.99 CAD softbound) is by Rachel de Thample, who has cooked in the kitchens of Marco Pierre White, Blumenthal, and Gordon. She's currently a food editor, and she has authored "Less Meat, More Veg" for the UK market. Here she's got 150 preps for over 100 fruits and veggies. She's listed them all, with their suggested daily portion, such as 1 pear, 5 florets of cauliflower, 7 cherry tomatoes, etc. – just eat any five portions every day and use her recipes and listed meal plans. Some of the dishes are even useful for detox (no wheat, sugar, dairy), while others could also be vegan. There is some meat, for de Thample believes in balance. Try roast beet with cardamom yogurt, olive raisin tapenade with fennel and orange, roast lemon asparagus with pesto yogurt, or saucy miso spinach with toasted sesame. Preparations have their ingredients listed in metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
24.HOME COOKED (Ten Speed Press, 2016, 296 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-840-3, $35 USD hardbound) is by Anya Fernald (co-founder and CEO of California's Belcampo Meat Co.; she's also launched Slow Food Nation in the USA and has been an Iron Chef judge since 2009. Food writer Jessica Battilana is the focusing writer. There's heavy duty log rolling from Mario Batali and Harold McGee. It is a basic home cooking book, with sauces, meaty dishes, charred veggies – all in the name of flavours to get you up and going. Its roots can be found in the "cucina povera" of Italian frugal peasants: making
use of every part of food (preservation of the bounty, salt curing, broths, braises. The range is from apps to mains of pasta/risotto, veggies, fish and meat, and then desserts. It is also part memoir. There's an emphasis on the off-cuts of meat (she is, after all, head of a meat company), so there is also sections on rendered pork and beef fats, and cultured butter and buttermilk. In addition to plated foods, there are many pictures of of her life. This is really an Italian cookbook. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
25.MY SIMPLE ITALIAN (Ebury Press, 2015, 224 pages, ISBN 978-00-9192901-5 $49.95 CAD hardbound) is by Theo Randall of the InterContinental; it has consistently been voted one of the best Italian restaurants in Britain. Here, with an endorsement from Jamie Oliver, Randall proposes about 100 preps for the home, in the usual range from small plates through soups, salads, pastas, risottos, large plates, mains, feats, sides and desserts. There is an index at the front based on timings (under 20 minutes, 20-25 minutes, 30-35, 40-45, 50-55, over an hour), but it all really depends on how swift you are, if you have anybody helping as a sous-chef and if your mise en place is indeed "in place". There's a huge pantry list, which is a help. Worth a look. Preparations have some of their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.
26.FLAVORS OF SICILY (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-734-8, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Ursula Ferrigno, consultant chef to Caffe Nero chain, has been on BBC, and runs classes for Sur La Table stores. She's written more than 18 cookbooks, mainly on Italian and Mediterranean themes. Here she does Sicilian cuisine, which is a great crossroads melting pot mixture of Greeks/Romans/Arabs/Normans/Spaniards. Typical food include tomatoes, olive oil, sheep's milk, pistachios, olives, fennel, citrus fruits. Classics include blood orange and red onion salads, olive relish, fava bean soup, spring lamb, fried chickpeas with herbs, panelle [socca], braised lemon chicken. Preparations have their ingredients listed in some metric with more avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
27.THE ELEMENTS OF PIZZA (Ten Speed Press, 2016, 250 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-838-0, $30 USD hardbound) is by Ken Forkish, owner of three bakery/restaurant/taverns in Portland OR and winner of a Beard and IACP award for his previous book, "Flour Water Salt Yeast". Now, the first rule of pizza is NEVER to eat it with a fork. But does this rule apply to someone named Forkish? Probably not: he's in your corner with this charming book, based on what his customers want. He's got some heavy-duty log rolling via Molly Wizenberg, Nathan Myhrvold, and some restaurant owners. There are more than a dozen pizza dough recipes for a variety of occasions (mostly related to the time element of bigas and quick doughs). He's got one gluten-free, which uses whatever the best commercial flour is available on the market. But he does warn here that the dough would be a bit cakey. The first 150 pages are devoted to techniques and a mini-history (illustrated) of pizza. It is all quite thorough and meant for the dedicated pizza-lover (or even a pizza shop owner looking for new experiences). The last 100 are for sauces and variations. As a baker, he advocates scaling which would make the dough more exact. Preparations have their ingredients listed in metric with some avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
28.KOREAN FOOD MADE SIMPLE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 288 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-66330-5, $30 USD hardbound) is by Judy Joo, who has a Cooking Channel show of the same name. She opened Jinjuu in London UK in 2014.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating:
29.KOREATOWN; a cookbook (Clarkson Potter, 2016, 272 pages, ISBN 978-0-8041-8613-1, $30 USD hardbound) is by Deuki Hong, chef of Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong in Manhattan. Hius co-author is Matt Rodbard, magazine food writer who also crafted "Korean Restaurant Guide: New York City". Log rollers include Anthony Bourdain and Edward Lee. There are 90 preps here, collected from other chefs – along with their stories and experiences, lots of photography, and tips on how to handle "Korean" food. It's a restaurant book with details on how to cook it at home (minus the exact home photo presentation). There are collections of Korean produce, small plates and side dishes, and a glossary at the back inside cover. Good layout and indexing, with dishes sourced and titling in Korean and English. Typical are crunchy sesame bean sprouts, mixed rice bowl, marinated short ribs, Koreatown fried chicken, anchovy and peanut bar snack. A good mix of street-food-truck dishes and home preps. Sean Brock contributes a cornmeal and shrimp pajeon, Edward Lee does a red cabbage bacon kimchi, and Hugh Acheson does a pork belly. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
30.KOREAN FOOD MADE SIMPLE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 288 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-66330-5, $30 USD hardbound) is by Judy Joo, host of a show with the same title as her book on the Cooking Channel. It comes with log rolling by Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone among others. 130 preps are here are more in number than the Hong book above, and more geared to home use (and maybe even home easy). It is arranged by category: small bites and kimchi, salads, veggies, rice and noodles, soups and stews, seafood, chicken, meats, sauces, breads, desserts, and drinks. Try potato pancakes with Asian pear compote (gamjajeon), steak tartare (yukhwe), noodles with rice cakes and fish cakes (ra-bokki), or oxtail soup (gori gomtang). Not as adventuresome as Hong's book, but better for the home cook. Actually, the two books complement each other with minimal duplication. Buy them both! Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
31.RUHLMAN'S HOW TO SAUTE: foolproof techniques and recipes for the home cook (Little, Brown, 2016, 178 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-25415-1, $20 USD hardbound) is by the bestselling and James Bear Award-winning chef-author of many culinary books. This is the latest in his series of cooking techniques (the other two were Roast and Braise). There are dozens of insightful tips, step-by-step photos of techniques, and basic recipes, with some more complicated ones too. It is a good reference book to put alongside the other two. Just about everything can be sauteed, just as it can be roasted and/or braised. Here it is a matter of heat, oil used, and timing: vegetable oil for high heat, olive oil for medium-high heat, and clarified butter for lower temperatures. Plus regular butter to finish off a dish. You can read all about it here. He covers the basics in 10 pages, followed by 150 pages of recipes (start with chicken fried steak) and then some more on saute larders, equipment and tools. The best wine to go with sauteed food is actually Meursault (look it up). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
32.COOKING SOLO (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 226 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-17648-5, $19.99 USD softbound) is by Klancy Miller, a pastry chef who has done some appearances on the Cooking Channel and the Food Network. This is, as the subtitle says, "the joy of cooking for yourself". It is tough because it requires dedication since it is so easy to just take a series of snacks or cold foods. There are 100 dishes here, mostly easy and under 30 minutes prep time. The hardest part is letting go of leftovers or what could be potential leftovers. She says: "Preparing a meal for yourself is a special exercise, an unpressured act of creativity, self-care, and validation." Small plates anyone? That's what is in abundance on just about every menu in town. So these can also be apps for two or more people to share at home. Good stuff, lovingly photographed. Try quinoa quick bread with carrots, or gluten-free chocolate chip cake, perhaps hot pink hummus (roasted beet spread). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
33.GRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN (Chronicle Books, 2016, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-4459-7, $19.95 hardbound) is by Heidi Gibson with Nate Pollak. They are husband and wife and own the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen restaurants in San Francisco. She has won seven times in the Grilled Cheese Invitational, more than anyone else. The book's subtitle says it all: "bread and cheese and everything in between". And it is perfect for singles, along with any other kind of sandwich, Her book is arranged by course, beginning with breakfast, and then moving through lunch/dinner. Along the way she's got the answers to soup, mac 'n' cheese (but the mac 'n' cheese grilled cheese sandwich is in a different chapter), pickles-spreads-sides. There's a glossary and sources list. What makes great grilled cheese sammies? Use one of the 15 major types of breads, one or more of the great 30 melting cheeses, and a variety of add nos of your choosing for meats and greens. My faves: mushroom-Gruyere grilled cheese, breakfast piglet grilled cheese, and Indian leftovers grilled cheese. Almost 40 sandwiches plus variations and extras. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.