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Tuesday, March 4, 2008


...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. TWINKIE, DECONSTRUCTED (Plume Books, 2008, 282 pages, ISBN 978-0-
452-28928-4, $15US paper covers) is by Steve Ettlinger, a writer of
popular reference materials. It was originally published last year in
2007. The rather long subtitle pretty well says it all: "my journey to
discover how the ingredients found in processed foods are grown, mined
(yes, mined), and manipulated into what America eats. As Pollan did
with a cow in "The Omnivore's Dilemma", Ettlinger does to the Twinkie -
sourcing where all the stuff which created the food comes from. You can
read the label yourself; Ettlinger tracks down the components of
processed and packaged foods: polysorbate 60, high fructose corn syrup,
partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening, but only two brief
mentions of MSG. Marion Nestle calls his book "terrific detective work
and terrific fun to read". Try a visit to the phosphate mines in Idaho,
or the gypsum mines in Oklahoma. Beginning at the source, each Twinkie
ingredient is followed as it is crushed, baked, fermented, refined,
etc. The original Twinkie came from Wonder Bread in 1930, with a shelf
life of two days. Now? Shelf life is anybody's guess...This is a must
read. Quality/Price rating: 90.

12. CAFE COLLECTION (Penguin Books, 2006, 2007, (128 and 128 and 136)
pages, ISBN 9780143020660, $38 Canadian soft covers) is by food writer
Julie Le Clerc, a former cafe owner and chef. It is a reprint of three
separately published books, "Simple Cafe Food" (1999), "More Simple
Cafe Food" (2000) and "Simple Deli Food' (2002). All three books are
combined together. With no changes to the books, that means THREE
separate indexes, which is a pain. Since there can be two or more
recipes per page, there are several hundred recipes here. Her take is
mainly on "cafe" food, which fits in with the new tapas small plates.
All courses are covered, with an emphasis on make aheads such as soups
and stews, lots of breads and pastries, easy to prepare salads and
sandwiches and other light lunch dishes. While there is a summer lamb
meatloaf, there is also a more challenging olive-coated rack of lamb.
Weights are in metric, while volumes are in Imperial measurements.
Quality/Price rating: 86.

13. A SHORT HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN STOMACH (Harcourt, 2008, 205 pages,
ISBN 978-0-15-101194-0, $23US hard covers) is by Frederick Kaufman, an
English professor who also writes on American food culture for Gourmet,
Gastronomica, and mainstream magazines. Of the seven chapters here, two
have been published in Harper's, and two more from Harper's were
incorporated into the book as well as some material from the New
Yorker. The book is thus wide-ranging, and explores themes such as the
Amish black market raw milk dealers, the South Beach diet, the Food
Network, hot dog eating contests, and the like. Log rollers include
Marion Nestle and Lawrence Osborne (The Accidental Connoisseur). The
extremes here cover "stuffing" and "starving" our North American
selves. It is all served up with a light humour, large typeface, and an
index. Quality/Price rating: 88.

14. EXPLORING TASTE & FLAVOUR; the art of combining hot, sour, salty
and sweet in 150 recipes (Kyle Cathie, 2005, 2007; distr. Raincoast,
256 pages, ISBN 978-1-85626-728-1, $35 CDN soft covers) is a straight
reissue of the 2005 hardback which won a World Gourmand Award and was
nominated for an IACP Award. It is by Tom Kime who created UK Tesco's
Thai food line and is a BBC food writer. Most of this book is SEAsia;
the 150 recipes are meant to combine hot, sour, salty, sweet and bitter
for balance. The blending of flavours is useful, of course, but Kime
does not even mention umami. Kime devotes space to discussing the
principles of SEAsia taste theory, suggesting that some combos of food
work well together. His taste directory of food is divided by the five
categories. He has material on matching wine with spicy food, when you
want to go beyond riesling or gewürztraminer. Chapters are arranged by
course, with one whole section on one-pot creations. Recipes include
cha ca (fish with turmeric and fresh dill): miang khom (salad of prawns
with ginger, lime and chili); gravad lox (with detailed instructions);
Moroccan grilled squid salad with chermoula; spicy sausage and bean
soup with roast tomatoes; and roasted pork belly with caramelized
peanut and chili dressing. Quality/Price rating: 88.

15. PURE VEGETARIAN (Kyle Cathie, 2006, 2008; distr. Raincoast, 192
pages, ISBN 978-1-85626-740-3, $35 CDN paper covers) is by Paul Gayler,
a British Executive Chef at The Lanesborough, recipe book author, and
multiple TV UK show personality. It was originally published in 2006,
and this is a straight reprint but in paper covers. The broad range of
150 recipes includes finger food, appetizers, soups, salads, pasta and
grains, mains and desserts - all fairly upscale. There are a series of
vegetable stocks and sauces to prep the foods. As a British book, there
is no coverage of eggplants and zucchini, but rather of aubergines and
courgettes. Recipes include avocado salsa rolls, spelt soup, Roquefort-
stuffed fig salad, wild rice and parsnip rice fritters, butternut
squash and blue cheese tacos, Persian ratatouille-baked tomatoes, Cajun
mozzarella and ricotta fritters, crushed artichoke and goat cheese
pesto toasts, Spanish romanescu baby leeks, and beetroot gazpacho.
Ingredients are listed in both avoirdupois and metric measurements, but
there are conversion tables. Quality/Price rating: 86.

16. THE FOOD AND COOKING OF TURKEY (Lorenz Books, 2007; distr. NBN, 256
pages, ISBN 978-0-7548-1763-5, $29.99 US hard covers) is by Ghillie
Basan, a cookbook writer specializing in Middle East and SE Asia
cooking. Her previous "Classic Turkish Cooking" was shortlisted for
some book awards in 1998. This current book was previously published,
in part, as that shortlisted book. She has about 150 recipes shown
step-by=step in 800 photographs. There is a fair bit of culinary
history as well as geography, a comprehensive visual guide to Turkish
ingredients, and detailed instructions - all in the first 60 pages.
Modern Turkish cuisine comes from both its melting pot position between
Europe and Asia, and the scores of religious festivals. She ranges from
soups, meze, hot snacks, salads, pilafs, fish-meat-poultry, vegetables,
sweet snacks, jams and more. The book is oversized and somewhat
unwieldy in the kitchen. Ingredient measurements are in both
avoirdupois and metric; each recipe has full nutritional information
(calories, protein, carbos, fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibre and
sodium). There is also a glossary. Recipes include a plum tomato and
almond jam, yogurt cake in orange syrup, shredded chicken with walnuts,
lamb skewers with flat bread, chicken liver pilaf with currants and
pine nuts, lentils with carrots and sage. Quality/Price rating: 90.

17. GREEN & BLACK'S CHOCOLATE RECIPES; from the cacao pod to cookies,
desserts, and savory dishes (Kyle Cathie, 2003, 2007; distr. Raincoast,
192 pages, ISBN 978-1-904920-67-0, $19.95US soft covers) is by Caroline
Jeremy, under the sponsorship of Green & Black chocolates, a firm that
began in 1991 with organic and fair trade chocolate. It was originally
published in 2003, and won a World Gourmand Cookbook Award. This 2007
reissue has been "Americanized", even to the extent of changing the
subtitle from " muffins, mousses, and moles" and labeling some
recipes "Wicked". Typical preps include chocolate bread, Italian
venison agrodolce, rich stout cake, chocolate apple cake, and
brigadeiros. Quality/Price rating: 90.

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