3.SWEET POTATO LOVE (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016, 163 pages, ISBN 978-1-5107-0966-9, $24.99 USD hardbound) is by Jackie Garvin, who blogs about Southern food (Syrup and Biscuits). She earlier wrote a book titled "Biscuits"; this one continues the Southern march with sweet potatoes. There are 60 recipes, arranged by season of Fall through Summer, about 15 per quarter. She shares some memoir-like material about her life with sweet potatoes, emphasizing their versatility. Sweet potatoes are perfect for that "salted sweet" tone so popular these days – their natural sweetness complements any savoury cooking technique. There are the usual cooking instructions with straight forward tips on preheating, yields, and treatments. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner cooks, fans of sweet potatoes.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: mainly southern, with sweet potato cornbread, pulled pork tacos with sweet potato slaw, maple sweet potato granola, sweet potato apple butter, cornish hens with sweet potato cornbread dressing, and sweet potato lentil pepper chili.
The downside to this book: I wanted more recipes (check her blog).
The upside to this book: a nifty collection.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
4.MASHED (Gibbs Smith, 2016, 184 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-4447-7, $24.99 USD hardbound) is by Holly Herrick, a multi-awarded food journalist with eight published cookbooks. Here she tackles the basic technique of simple mashing. While the subtitle says "beyond the potato", there are still 42 pages on the potato itself, followed by 55 pages of chapters on veggie mashes, summer crops, autumn/winter and spring, with material about everything else (eggs, fish, meat, grains, legumes, fruits, nuts and berries) in 55 pages. Her basic mashing tools are the food mill, the food processor, the mixer, and the blender, as well as the rustic hand version. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner cooks, those needing soft foods.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: sweet potato macadamia nut ice cream; roasted tomato pizza panzanella; sweet potato Indian pudding; ricotta, lemon and basil potato cakes; butternut-baby kale shells and cheese bake.
The downside to this book: I think it needed fewer potato recipes and more ground up meat dishes for variety. There are at least four sweet potato recipes but only two are indexed under sweet potato.
The upside to this book: I can see a need for this book as we all get older and want soft food.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
5.PURELY PUMPKIN (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016, 271 pages, ISBN 978-1-5107-0965-2, $24.99 USD $35.99 CAD hardbound) is by Allison Day, Taste Canada Food Award-winning blogger (YummyBeet.com) who crafted a cookbook, "Whole Bowls". She's got more than 100 seasonal pumpkin recipes here, enough to last you all year long. There is more to pumpkin than just flesh: try frozen puree, seeds, and seed oil. She's got them all arranged by course, beginning with beverages, moving on to breakfast/brunch, soups, snacks, salads, sides, mains, and desserts. Remember, pumpkin is (botanically) a fruit. There is a description of some 26 pumpkin varieties, not all photographed. But still the book has overall good photography (she takes own pictures). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: pumpkin lovers,
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: salted caramel pumpkin spice latte; morning glory pumpkin muffins; pumpkin Caesar salad with sage sourdough croutons; firecracker stir-fried pumpkin with bok choy and cashews; gingerbread pumpkin cheesecake with pecan oat crust.
The downside to this book: no descriptive photographs for most of the varieties.
The upside to this book: nice large print
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
6.BEER MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016, 158 pages, ISBN 989-1-5107-0881-5, $19.99 USD hardbound) is by John Lemmon, who gives us 101 recipes for using beer to make your fave happy hour grub. So here's how to recreate the happy hour experience at home, saving yourself tons of money. Of course, you 'll need to self-prep, but maybe if you had a few friends helping out...He's got material on making beer at home, plus making food (mostly sandwiches, chilis, pizzas, wings, burgers, fries). Some of the dishes call for the addition of beer, such as "beer batter". Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who would enjoy a quiet and cheap happy hour.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: pale ale pub fries, boozy Brussels sprouts, shroom burger, beer battered fish, beer baked wings, nacho beer cheese dip.
The downside to this book: a bit short.
The upside to this book: extremely useful for limited people.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.