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Sunday, October 12, 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"...

17. WHAT EINSTEIN TOLD HIS COOK; kitchen science explained (W.W.
Norton, 2008, 368 pages, ISBN 978-0-393-32942-1, $15.95 US paperback)
is a reissue of a 2002 book by Robert L. Wolke, a consulting editor for
"Cook's Illustrated". He also wrote "Food 101" for the Washington Post.
In real life, he is professor emeritus of chemistry at the University
of Pittsburgh. His wife Marlene Parrish contributes about three dozen
recipes. The book is in Q and A style, based on queries sent in from
his readers in the Washington Post. As a food reference book, it has to
go up against the Harold McGee juggernaut, but the format is certainly
engaging. Typical sections: why is red meat red? How do they
decaffeinate coffee? In 2005 there was a sequel (What Einstein Told His
cook 2). Quality/Price rating: 89.

18. THE RIVER COTTAGE FAMILY COOKBOOK (Ten Speed Press, 2005, 2008, 416
pages, ISBN 978-1-58008-925-8, $32.50US hard covers) is by Hugh
Fearnley-Whittingstall and Fizz Carr of the River Cottage cookbook
series fame. Since the later books seemed to have sold well, they have
resurrected and updated this one from 2005. This is an educational
primer aimed at the whole family, being written by a father of three
and a mother of five. There are more than 100 recipes here that can be
made by children. There are kitchen projects, such as churning butter,
curing bacon, doing a kitchen garden. This is a true "family cookbook",
with a distinct British orientation despite the Americanization of
ingredients and weights and measures. Try fragrant rice and bacon
sandwich. Quality/Price rating: 86.

19. THE MARTHA'S VINEYARD COOKBOOK. 4th ed. (Three Forks, 2008; distr.
Canada Manda Group, 306 pages, ISBN 978-0-7627-4724-5, $19.95US paper
covers) is by the late Louise Tate King and Jean Stewart Wexler; Wexler
is a local journalist. It was originally published in 1971, and revised
in 1993 and 2000. This is also its first paperback edition. There are
250 recipes here, reflecting the area's heritage (Wampanoag aborigines,
UK whalers, Portuguese fishers, and newer Brazilian and African-
American residents. Indeed, there are 20 or so brand-new recipes
reflecting the recent heritage. There are a variety of preps here,
covering all courses. Try fried cheese pancakes, orange kiss-me cake,
English lemon cake, and cranberry pudding. Quality/Price rating: 87.

20. WINE COUNTRY COOKING (Ten Speed Press, 2008, 232 pages, ISBN 978-1-
58008-938-8, $22.50 US paper covers) is by Joanne Weir, who has written
17 other cookbooks. Despite her acclaim in multi-media and award-
gathering, she still needs log rolling by Andrea Robinson, Gina Gallo,
and Lidia Bastianich. These are basically Mediterranean-influenced
recipes from California wine country; it was first published in 1999 as
"Weir Cooking" by Time-Life. But it has been revised and updated. She
has 150 preps with wine recommendations and pairings, emphasizing the
casual lifestyle (which only happens if YOU are the recipient and not
the cook). All courses are covered. The book is now seasonal, and there
are different wines given for the pairings. Conversion charts are
included for weights and measures. Typical dishes include golden
gazpacho, warm squid salad, wild mushroom and blue cheese crostini,
chicken breasts, salmon fillets, chocolate tarts. Quality/Price rating:

21. QUICK & HEALTHY RECIPES AND IDEAS. 3rd ed. (Small Steps Press, 2008;
distr. McGraw-Hill, 334 pages, ISBN 9780981600109, $18.95 US spiral
bound) is by Brenda J. Ponichtera, an RD specializing in weight loss,
diabetes and heart disease. It was originally published in 1991, and
seems to have sold over a half million copies since that date. This
latest edition reflects changes since 2005. There are 200 or so easy
recipes, 20 weeks of dinner menus with grocery lists, listings of
recipes and what to add to complete a meal, quick meals without a
recipe, ideas and tips, nutritional analyses for each recipe. Many
recipes call for prepared food products from a can but that's okay so
long as you don't overdo it. Speed is of the essence. Quality/Price
ratio: 84.

22. GRAPE MAN OF TEXAS; Thomas Volney Munson & the origins of American
viticulture. New revised edition. (Wine Appreciation Guild, 2004, 2008,
335 pages, ISBN 978-1-934259-04-7, $39.95 hard covers) is by Sherrie S.
McLeRoy and Roy E. Renfro, Jr. It garnered an award as "Best Wine
History Book in the World for 2004"; this revision updates the story.
As Pierre Galet of Montpellier said, "The great merit of Munson is that
he was a great hybridizer, a scholarly, systematic botanist, extremely
prolific."  The authors' work was complicated by the fact that much of
Munson's personal archives (including his field notes) were destroyed
after his death. Nevertheless, they were able to piece together the
story of his life and achievements. He was dominant during the 1875-
1925 period. This revision updates and clarifies his life and
achievements. It also signals a new publisher, not the original Eakin
Press. It is a straight forward biography which does lend some insight
into how he became an important horticulturalist. It is also nicely
illustrated with historical photos and reproductions, all in black and
white (although the borders can get a bit twee at times). The appendix
lists his published works (articles and books) and papers presented.
There is also a huge section on grape varieties created by Munson, and
whether they were used or discarded: there must be about 450 of these
varieties. And then there is yet a separate section on the new grape
varieties created from Munson hybrids. There are also extensive end
notes, a bibliography of sources (including websites), and a
comprehensive index. This book should be of interest to Ontario vine
researchers. Quality/Price rating: 85.

23. NAPA WINE; a history from mission days to present. 2d ed. (Wine
Appreciation Guild, 2008, 490 pages, ISBN 978-1-891267-07-9, $45US hard
covers) is by Charles L. Sullivan, who has written seven books on wine
and viticulture history. He has taught California history at DeAnza
College for more than 15 years. It was originally published in 1994. It
has been updated, with the addition of a new chapter to cover the 1994
– 2007 era. Similarly, the appendices have been recast to allow for
updated statistics. Thus, there are the historical tables plus the
modern ones for comparison (Napa Valley wineries in 2007, grape acreage
from 1856-2006, wine grape production 1856-2006). In general, this is a
solid factual history of the wineries in Napa, from 1769 with the
Missions up to the modern day of cult wines. Admittedly, there is short
coverage of the beginning, 1769-1836 through only a dozen pages. And
sadly, Robert Mondavi has passed on. Structurally, the biggest changes
in Napa came after 1990. After saying that there was no more room for
grapevines in Napa in the early 1990s, the industry went on to not only
somehow increase from 33,000 acres to over 45,000 acres but also to
tear out and replant more than half of the established vineyards
because of phylloxera. In 1990, Napa was white wine country, about
5,000 tons ahead of red. Chardonnay was 15,000 tons ahead of Cabernet
Sauvignon. Now, Napa is red wine country, with Merlot the leader,
followed by the other Bordeaux varieties. Red grapes in Napa have twice
the coverage of white grapes. In just about every aspect of vinous
improvement in California, Napa has led the way, with Mondavi most
often at the forefront. Sullivan engagingly tells the story.  The book
has plenty of historical photos and reproductions, mostly in sepia
tones.  This is an important work, well-recommended. Quality/Price
rating: 87.

24. SANTA FE KITCHENS; delicious recipes from the southwest (Ancient
City Press, 2005; distr. Raincoast, 247 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-0018-3,
$40US) is from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. It's a fund raiser,
along the lines of community cookbooks. But it is simply the most
gorgeous one I have seen, resplendent with reproductions of paintings
held in the local Museum of Fine Arts, crafts in the Palace of the
Governors, and other items from the4Museum of Internatio9nal Folk Art
and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. The Foundation is a non-
profit organization dedicated to these four museums, as a sort of
"Friends of…" group. There are also photos of members' dining rooms and
kitchens (without people, thank God). Recipes are contributed by
restaurants, chefs and the locals – even the Governor sent in some.
While there are a lot of New Mexican type recipes using chiles and
corn, pork sausages, tortillas, etc., there are still many non-local
food preps such as bruschetta, most of the shrimp, and many desserts.
And this is a common failing of many such books. Try instead southwest
pasta, Texas cream pie, green chile con queso, or roasted squash soup.
Quality/Price rating: 85.

25. SAVEUR COOKS AUTHENTIC ITALIAN; savoring the recipes and traditions
of the world's favorite cuisine (Chronicle Books, 2001, 2008; distr.
Raincoast, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-8118-6574-6, $25.95US soft covers) is
by the team at Saveur magazine. This is a reprint of the original book
of 120 recipes, out in 2001 as a hardback. The arrangement is by
course, antipasti proceeding to desserts. In typical Saveur style,
there is deep background on many Italian food products such as
Parmigiano Reggiano, wine, vinegar, pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, and
prosciuto – even road food. Typical Italian preps include pomodori a
riso, crostini, pasta verde, cuttlefish stewed in its ink, Sicilian
veal rolls. Lots of pictures illustrating techniques and food products;
indeed, over 400 of them. There is also a table of equivalents for the
weights and measures. Quality/Price rating: 88.

26. DINNER A DAY; 365 delicious meals you can make in minutes (Adams
Media, 2008; distr. Canadian Manda Group, 394 pages, ISBN 978-1-59869-
615-8, $16.95US spiral bound) is by Lynette Rohrer Shirk. It contains
some material and recipes by Shirk and others previously available in
Adams Media's "Everything" aeries. The arrangement is by course, from
soup to holiday classics. These are main courses, which can be fleshed
out by a simple salad and bought dessert. Deli-style food, sandwiches
(wraps, burgers), seafood, poultry, meat, vegetarian, pizzas and pasta
are included, and finished off by casserole one-dish meals. Preps
include pot pie, cottage pie, tortilla lasagna, tamale pie, fish in red
sauce, summer vegetable spaghetti – one for each day of the year.
Holiday classics embrace venison medallions and Yorkshire pudding.
Quality/Price rating: 88.

27. THE COMPLETE MEDITERRANEAN COOKBOOK (Tuttle Publishing, 2008, 304
pages, ISBN 978-0-8048-4003-3, $29.95US soft covers) is by Tess Mallos,
author of several cookbooks including "The Complete Middle East
Cookbook". There is no indication that this book is a reprint, but I
did find a "previously published ISBN". A search of the book's
bibliography showed no mention of any book published after 1995, so I'm
guessing that this current book is at least 10 years old. Not that
there are many changes in Mediterranean cooking – but there are many
book in the field. There is nothing much here beyond the classics, so
you will find paella, couscous, pastas, tzatziki, baba ghannouj,
tapenade, cipollata, albondigas, pissaladiere, mezze, and the like.
There are even spin-offs, such as Northern France's "coquilles St.
Jacques" but given here as "a la provencale". The sardalya sarmasi
(sardines in grape leaves) from Turkey are both easy and appealing;
there is a charming photo of the little things on p.107. Arrangement is
by course, service is for four, and volume/weight/metric measurements
are given in each recipe, obviating the need for a conversion table.
But a teeny tiny index typeface. Quality/Price rating: 85.

28. HEALTHY AND SIMPLE ASIAN RECIPES, for delicious everyday meals
(Periplus Editions, 2008; distr. Ten Speed Press, 96 pages, ISBN 978-0-
7946-0510-0, $12.95YS spiral bound) is a collection of decent recipes
from the publisher of well-known SEA cookbooks. Although the recipes
are not sourced, there are 10 names of cooks and chefs listed on the
same page as the metric conversion charts. Its previous title was "LTC
Asian Cooking for Health". There are 50 preps here, covering all
courses save desserts and beverages. Try cucumber daikon salad with
sweet mirin dressing, fish soup with fennel, Chinese red date soup, and
rice with clams and sake. Quality/Price rating: 84.

29. IN PURSUIT OF THE COMMON GOOD; 25 years of improving the world, one
bottle of salad dressing at a time (Broadway Books, 2003, 2008, 250
pages, ISBN 978-0-7679-2997-4, $14.95 US soft covers) is by Paul Newman
and A.E. Hotchner, creators of the Newman's Own lines. It was
originally published in 2003, and here is reissued as a trade
paperback. The only real change has been in the title (it was formerly
known as "Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good"), and
it was written to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Now it is 25 years;
hence the change in subtitle. This is the story of their pursuit of
offering processed foods filled with only natural ingredients. Of
course, they have succeeded, and over $150 million in profits in the
first 20 years have been disbursed to charities. It is still a good
read, and there are even some recipes. Quality/Price rating: 87.

30. BISTRO; French country recipes for home cooks (Ryland, Peters &
Small, 2003, 2008; distr. T. Allen, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84597-694-1,
$19.95 US paper covers) is by Laura Washburn, who currently translates
French cookbooks into English. It was originally published in hard
covers in 2003. New to this reissue is the metric conversion chart.
Here are 63 classic recipes for French onion soup, tians from Provence,
soupe au pistou, goat cheese tart, Belgian endive salad, pork in cider,
cassoulet, and the like. Good sharp photography, as always from Ryland.
The mail order list of suppliers is all US. Quality/Price rating: 86.

31. CLASSICAL SOUTHERN COOKING. First revised edition (Gibbs Smith,
2008, 416 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-0225-5, $30 US soft covers) is by
Damon Lee Fowler, who has written six books on Southern cooking
("Savannah Cookbook", "New Southern Baking", "Fried Chicken", etc.).
This revision returns to print a minor classic in itself, There are
more than 200 recipes here, and each is carefully explained. This is
upscale food, for the most part, with catfish stew, sweet turnip
sallet, game turkeys, peach cobbler, and pork recipes. There's a
chapter called "The Southern Way with Vegetables", and a separate
chapter for grits, rice and noodles. Lard is the fat of choice, of
course, but good lard has to be made at home as he suggests. There is
no recipe for chess pie. But there are metric conversion tables. I do
worry about the "perfect" binding, wondering how long it will last.
Quality/Price rating: 88.

32. FRESH FROM THE FARMERS' MARKET; year-round recipes from the pick of
the crop (Chronicle Books, 2008, 207 pages, ISBN 978-0-8118-6590-6,
$19.95 US paper covers) is by Janet Fletcher, a multiple award-winning
food writer and book author who once put in time at Chez Panisse. It
was originally issued in 1997, and Fletcher has updated portions of it
while still retaining the original photography. There are 75 preps
here, for all courses, using in-season produce of course. The
arrangement begins in the spring and carries through to winter. While
the resources list has been updated to include websites, the
bibliography has not been updated, and comes to a halt in 1996. There
are also two pages of metric equivalent tables. She opens with a whole
section on shopping at markets, and this is very informative for the
uninitiated. But I did not like the all-caps listings for the
ingredients, especially since the typeface was very light. I found it
hard to read and identify the products. For the preps, try Spanish
tortilla with spring veggies, pesto pizza, turnip and turnip greens
soup, spaghettini with red and gold cherry tomatoes, potato soup with
savoy cabbage, warm frisee and fava bean salad. Quality/Price rating:

33. HOME COOKING WITH CHARLIE TROTTER (Ten Speed Press, 2000, 2008, 218
pages, ISBN 978-1-58008-934-0, $25 US paper covers) is a paperback
reissue of the 2000 hard bound book. The book has been newly designed
and photographed. It was originally titled, "Charlie Trotter Cooks at
Home", so if you have that book, then you'll not need this one. There
is a 2008 copyright date assigned to Trotter, so presumably there are
some changes, but not necessarily to the recipes. He covers the basics,
and then roams through starters, entrees, and desserts, in much the
same way his resto would. There are some menus and a pretty good index.
The book is value priced. Try chilled asparagus and basil soup with
goat cheese, cantaloupe and mango and Asian pear salad, olive oil
poached cod, red-wine braised short ribs, chilled peach soup.
Quality/Price rating: 88.

34. SAUCES; classical and contemporary sauce making. 3rd edition. (John
Wiley and Sons, 2008, 612 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-19496-6 $49.95 US hard
covers) is by James Peterson. It was the James Beard Cookbook of the
Year after it was first published in 1991. It is a comprehensive survey
of the field, and has sold over 200,000 copies in its first two
editions. Peterson, the author of 13 cookbooks (most of which have gone
on to win awards), has overhauled the book to bring it into the 21st
century. He's simplified a few things, lightened the sauces, replaced
repetitive instructions with easy charts, standardized terms for the
consistency of sauces, dispensed with some of the old French names, and
added a new 16-pager insert of colour photos. There are about 440
recipes, and they also cover salad sauces, vinaigrettes, salsas and
relishes, and jellies. Both avoirdupois and metric measurements for the
ingredients are embedded in all recipes. Quality/Price rating: 87.


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