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Friday, November 16, 2007


...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"...

THE COOK'S BOOK; concise edition. (DK, 2007, 496 pages, ISBN
978-0-7566-3231-1 $36 hard covers) has been compiled by Jill Norman,
renowned award-winning UK cookery author and editor (she did Elizabeth
classic cookbooks, and is now responsible for her Estate's writings). It was
originally published in 2005 at $65 for 648 pages. The concise edition is a
bit smaller in physical size (only 7 5/8 inches by 9 ¼ inches) and the
number of pages. It originally had 18 contributors, but now it is just 13.
And there are no explanations either. Rick Bayless (Mexican food) is gone,
as is Ferran Adria of El Bulli; he has taken his 12 pages of foams with him.
This cooking resource details about 350 techniques through individual
chapters crafted by cookbook authors Ken Hom (Chinese), Charlie Trotter
(fish, vegetables), and 11 others in 19 chapters arranged by course and
product and region. There is only one woman, Christine Mansfield, from
Australia. 1600 colour photos accompany the text and the almost 600 recipes,
and they take you step-by-step through the processes. Most of the food is
Oriental, French, Italian, and Indian. Both US volume and metric
measurements are employed in each recipe, a decided plus and a definite
improvement on the original book. You can try pan-grilled mackerel with
orange romanesco; chilled Moscato-pineapple zabaglione; hare in red wine;
eggplant and zucchini and Parmigiano tortino. Quality/Price Rating: 89.

WINDOWS ON THE WORLD COMPLETE WINE COURSE, 2008 revision (Sterling, 2007;
distr. Canadian Manda Group, 340 pages, ISBN 978-1-4027-5141-7, $29.95) is
by Kevin Zraly, an award winning wine expert and long-time sommelier of that
late, lamented restaurant atop the World Trade Center. This has been newly
revised and expanded, with 16 pages of new material on how to taste wine.
Indeed, it has even come down three dollars in price! It has frequently been
revised since its first edition in 1985. Now it has been redesigned in
layout, and with more recommendations in his tour of the latest vintages.
Over 20,000 students have taken Zraly's courses and workshops. This is the
text that comes with the courses, and as such, it serves as a suitable book
for almost any introductory wine course. It certainly does address the needs
of students and beginners: the style-format is "question and answer", on
what wine is, tasting wine (how to taste wine over sixty seconds), wine
service at home and in restaurants, storage and cellaring. He avoids the
markup controversies in restaurants; however, one can compare a number of
different sections and conclude that he

favours 3 to 4 times the wholesale price. The bulk of the arrangement is by
"classes", with ones for white wine, red wines, champagne, fortified, and
wines from outside France and the United States -- still in the Q & A
format, augmented by a continuous stream of sidebars and tidbits which
extend the answers. Throughout, too, there are full-colour reproductions of
wine labels. The book concludes with a glossary and a pronunciation key, as
well as bibliographic notes for further reference reading. Quality/Price
Rating: 90,

THE DEVIL IN THE KITCHEN; the autobiography (Orion Books, 2006, 2007; distr.
McArthur, 309 pages, ISBN 978-0-7528-8161-4, $18.95 paper covers) is the
life story of Marco Pierre White, the first of the bad boy chefs, and a
virtual unknown in North America. There are claims that he made cooking
sexy, he had a legendary temper in the kitchen, and some of his customers
were thrown out of his restaurant. In general, he was described as "rude".
That's putting it mildly. He was the first British chef to win three
Michelin stars. A compelling point in his life was the death of his mother,
when he was just six. There's enough stress and toil in this book to avoid
reading it while eating or trying to fall asleep. Certainly not while on the
potty. You need to read what he has to say about restaurant reviewers and
critics. There is, amazingly enough for this type of book, an index, a few
black and white photos, but no recipes - just the kitchen stories. This is a
good read. Quality/Price Rating: 89.

WORLD ATLAS OF WINE. Completely revised and updated, sixth edition (Mitchell
Beazley, 2007; distr. Canadian Manda Group, 400 pages, ISBN
978-1-84533-301-0, $75 hard covers) is now by the team of Hugh Johnson and
Jancis Robinson. It first came out in 1971, and the latest edition in 2001
brought Robinson on board. Sales have exceeded four million copies, and it
is available in 13 languages. It has been the most successful of all wine
books of all time. The six years between editions have seen immense changes.
There are now 48 extra pages, 17 new colour illustrations, 20 new maps,
and - for the first time - double page spreads and full-page photos in the
atlas section for "maximum visual impact". New World coverage has been
extended for both Australia and South America. BUT -- B.C. continues to get
a couple of hundred words and a sketch map, and Ontario still gets its own
page. Ontario was called "Canada" in the last edition, but the entry really
only covered Ontario. B.C. was sited with the Pacific Northwest, where it
still remains. So what are we, chopped liver? Icewine? What's that?? Still,
the book is a must buy. Quality/Price Rating: 92.

EASY BREAKFAST & BRUNCH; simple recipes for morning treats (Ryland, Peters &
Small, 2007; distr. T. Allen, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-84597-485-5, $24.95 hard
covers) is a collection of 124 recipes culled from various food writers in
this publisher's stable: Louise Pickford, Fran Warde, Linda Collister, Elsa
Petersen-Schepelern, and 13 others. There are a slew of 23 photographers
too. It is all matter-of-fact, emphasizing the easy, being one of a series.
The emphasis is on "lazy weekends", so you might not want to get up early
during the weekdays to try many of these dishes. Chapters are labeled fruit
and oats, sweet treats, easy eggs, fresh from the oven, perfect preserves,
delicious drinks. Not much text: just the recipes, with a table of metric
equivalents. Quality/Price Rating: 85.

THE MARTHA STEWART LIVING COOKBOOK; the new classics (Clarkson Potter, 2007,
704 pages, ISBN 978-0-307-39383-8, $44 hard covers) is from the magazine of
the same name as the title. It is a companion volume to the first book, "The
Martha Stewart Living Cookbook; the original classics". As a bonus, the
current book includes an index to BOTH volumes. It presents more than 1,200
of the "best" recipes that have appeared in the magazine since 2000. So
"new" in this sense means new to publication, not "new dishes" or new
cutting edge recipes. As an all-purpose book, the range is broad, from
casual to formal, from two to 10 diners. There are plenty of variations and
substitutions here. The editors have 22 categories of recipes, from starters
to cookies and candy. As well, there are drinks, sauces and dips, and basic
material on techniques, health choices, pantry and equipment. There are
photos of techniques, glossaries, food and equipment sources, a directory of
stores, and the combined index (two colours for the font, one for "original"
and one for "new". Quality/Price Rating: 89.

OLIVE OIL; from tree to table (Chronicle Books, 1997, 2007; distr.
Raincoast, 167 pages, ISBN 978-0-8118-6176-2, $24.95 paper covers) is by
Peggy Knickerbocker, a longtime San Francisco and Paris-based food writer,
and author of cookbooks. It was originally published in 1997, and is now
available as a paperback. It covers Greece, Italy, North Africa, and
California, with little on Spain or Portugal - two countries what have grown
immensely in the past ten years. Still, the book is a trasure trove of ideas
with 112 recipes utilizing olive oil. US weights and measures are employed,
but there are metric conversion tables. She has all the basics (buying,
storing, tasting olive oil, cultural history, and so forth). Some preps
include pinzimonio (fresh veggies dipped in olive oil), Provencal garlic
soup, North Beach baccala with potatoes and red onions, fettuccine with
asparagus and fava beans, and dried fig breakfast bread. There's a
bibliography (not updated) and a sources of supply list (which may or may
not be updated; I don't know because it is all American). Quality/Price
Rating: 86.

THE EVERYTHING BARTENDER'S BOOK, 2nd ed. (Adams Media, 2007; distr. Canadian
Manda Group, 307 pages, ISBN 978-1-59869-590-8, $11.95 paper covers) is by
Cheryl Charming, a bartender with a prolific writing pattern about
cocktails. This book is described as "700 recipes for classic and mixed
drinks, trendy shots, and non-alcoholic alternatives". It was first
published in 1995. So it has now been revised, updated and expanded. There
are 150 new recipes and a drink index. The price has not gone up in 12
years. The basics here include the history of the cocktail, Bartending 101,
equipment (glasses, tools) and mixers, and a FAQ for the designated driver.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.

MADE IN ITALY (Ecco, 2007, distr. HarperCollins, 623 pages, $59.95 hard
covers) is a fat book by Giorgio Locatelli (with Sheila Keating) of UK's
Locanda restaurant. It was originally published in the UK by Fourth Estate
in 2006; this is its North American debut. This is part of the Slow Food
movement, with traditional recipes (about 200 of them) using DOP and IGP
food where possible. The introductory text has material about the state of
Italian food today, and there are full-size portrait pictures of farmers,
chefs and cooks. Two ribbon bookmarks complete the package. Quality/Price
Rating: 85.

AMBITIOUS BREW; the story of American beer (Harcourt, 2006, 2007, 432 pages,
ISBN 978-0-15-603359-6, $16.95 paper covers) is by Maureen Ogle. It was
first published in 1006; this is the paperback reprint. Ogle is an historian
who has written other books. The history ranges from the autocratic Germans
Pabst, Schlitz, and Busch to the microbreweries of yesterday. Along the way
there is material on the temperance movement and Prohibition, as well as
historical archival pictures and advertisements. This is a straight ahead
account, along with sourced end notes and extensive bibliography.
Quality/Price rating: 90.

HOLIDAY CELEBRATION COOKBOOK; complete menus and easy recipes for a full
year of festivities (Shady Oak Press, 2002, 2007; distr. Canadian Manda
Group, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-58159-346-4, $17.95 paper covers) is a
collection of 20 complete menus, with 100 recipes. There are also
instructions on how to make decorations. The major holidays include Hanukkah
and Valentine's Day, as well as Russian Easter, Halloween, a kids' Christmas
party, and a make-ahead holiday buffet - good for any time of the year.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.

VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR EVERYONE (Broadway Books, 1997, 742 pages, ISBN
978-0-7679-2747-5, $50 hard covers) is by Deborah Madison. It was originally
published in 1997, and it had won both a Beard and a Child book award. This
is being promoted as its "tenth anniversary edition". Nothing has changed,
although the food world has changed in the past 10 years. Madison
acknowledges this in a brisk introduction. If you have the original book,
then there is no need to buy this one, except as a gift or replacement copy.
The price has gone up $2 in ten years, but it may drop since the US dollar
is now at parity and the price was announced back in April. And you can
always buy it online at a cheaper price, cheaper than ten years ago.
Quality/Price rating: unrated, but 94 for first time purchase.

THE COMPLETE BORDEAUX: the wines, the chateaux, the people (Mitchell
Beazley, 2007; distr. Canadian Manda Group, 720 pages, ISBN
978-1-84000-980-4, $69 hard covers) is by Stephen Brook. Most of the text
was released last year in the "Classic Wine Library" series, at $46, and
with no pictures, in 528 pages. This library format is quite well-known by
now: a basic layout of serviceable sketch-maps, no pictures, and lots of
capsule histories and tasting notes for each property described. But the
publisher has seen fit to reissue that text on Medoc and Graves, added
material on the Right Bank (Pomerol and St.Emilion, more material on
Sauternes, and even more material on the satellite areas around (the various
Cotes, Entre deux Mers, etc.). Plus, of course, some plates of coloured
photographs. Here is insider information on Bordeaux, The introductory
material includes chapters on the land (terroir), grapes, and wine styles.
The main arrangement is by region. The directory data includes names and
numbers, websites, owners, size, production and grape varieties. Then, the
narrative style embraces a mini-history with tasting notes. There is an
appendix with comments on the various vintages, 1961-2006, a glossary, and a
bibliography. Quality/Price Rating: 90.

SIX THOUSAND YEARS OF BREAD; its holy and unholy history (Skyhorse
Publishing, 2007, 399 pages, ISBN 978-1-60239-124-6, $17.95 paper covers) is
by H. E. Jacob, and it was written in 1944. This is a chronology of bread
and its role through time in politics, religion, technology, etc.
Award-winning baker and author Peter Reinhart contributes an essay which
places it all into context. There is a bibliography, but it only goes up to
1943, of course. Reinhart describes the work as anecdotal; I could also call
it engaging, and well-worth the reading. Questions: did bread cause the
defeat of Napoleon? What was the importance of the Greek bread goddess,
Demeter? How did bread contribute to the outbreak of WWI? Quality/Price
Rating: 86.

REAL BARBECUE; the classic barbecue guide to the best joints across the
USA - with recipes, porklore, and more! (Globe Pequot Press, 2007; distr.
Canadian Manda Group, 331 pages, ISBN 978-0-7627-4442-8, $21 paper covers)
has been collated by Vince Staten and Greg Johnson. This is a part travel
guide and part recipe book, with details about 100 or more BBQ joints across
the USA. The first edition of this book was in 1988. Each place gets a
description, black and white photos, a rating, location and website. It is
arranged by region, beginning, of course, with the US South, and then moving
to the North, the Midwest, and the West. There is a section on BBQ
festivals, types of grills, backyard BBQ, 11 secret sauces (but no dry
rubs), and side dishes. Unfortunately, none of the recipes or ingredients is
indexed, but they can be easily perused. Scattered throughout are tidbits
about pork (called "porklore").The book concludes with a list of mail order
sources. The authors claim to have visited over 700 BBQ spots in the US -
that's a lot of eating. Quality/Price Rating: 88.

BRINGING ITALY HOME (Mitchell Beazley, 2001, 2005; distr. Canadian Manda
Group, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-84000-921-7, $23.95 paper covers) is the paper
back reprint, now available in Canada. Ursula Ferrigno, the author, has
produced a meatless Italian cookbook, following on her successful "Truly
Italian". Traditional seafood and vegetarian recipes are sourced around the
seasons. For each major ingredient, she tells how the Italians like to
prepare it. Quality/Price Rating: 85,

TRADITIONAL BRITISH COOKING; simple recipes for classic British food
(Ryland, Peters & Small, 2007; distr. T. Allen, 240 pages, ISBN
978-1-84597-487-5, $24.95 hard covers) is a collection of 111 recipes culled
from various food writers in this publisher's stable: Louise Pickford, Fran
Warde, Linda Collister, Elsa Petersen-Schepelern, and 19 others. There are a
slew of 25 photographers too. It is all matter-of-fact, emphasizing the
easy, being one of a series. The emphasis is on "classic" or traditional
foods, thus there are plenty of hearty poultry and game, Yorkshire pudding,
rolled pork roast, bread and butter pudding, and the like. Desserts abound,
as do teatime preps and preserves. Not much text: just the recipes, with a
table of metric equivalents. Quality/Price Rating: 85.

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