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Monday, October 12, 2009



...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. QUICK & HEALTHY, volume II: more help for people who say they don't
have time to cook healthy meals. 2d edition (Small Steps Press, 2009;
distr. McGraw-Hill, 319 pages, ISBN 978-0-98-160011-6, $18.95 US spiral
bound) is by registered dietitian Brenda J. Ponichtera, who operates This book was originally published in 1995,
and now of course it has been substantially updated and revised. Over
the years, the two volumes have sold 750,000 copies. Here are 180 easy
recipes that are low in fat and low in cholesterol and calories. There
is also practical nutrition information. All the ingredients are listed
in avoirdupois measurements, and there is a table of metric equivalents
but it is buried on page 76 (it is indexed). But while the ingredients
are listed in ounces and cups, the nutrient analysis is listed with
grams. This means a lot of cross-referencing. Processed foods are kept
to a minimum (e.g., pancake mix, breakfast cereal, canned veggies, and
chicken broth). Listed in the recipes are exchanges. She gives us 10
weeks of dinner menus (all sourced to page references) with grocery
lists. Plus tips on 100 easy menus for breakfast and lunch. Other tips
include how to eat out, how to change recipes to reduce fats and
sugars, attacking a salad bar, party advice, holiday dinners,
exercising, and fat limits. Preps are all the classics (salads, chicken
fricassee, skillet chicken, tuna casserole, fish fillets, etc.). Hey
now, there's no excuse...Quality/Price rating: 89.

12. THE ROUGH GUIDE TO TORONTO; 5th ed (Rough Guides, 2009; distr.
Penguin, 250 pages, ISBN 978-1-84836-074-7, $22.99 Canadian soft
covers) is by Phil Lee and Helen Lovekin. Lee has Muskoka experience
but now lives in Nottingham, UK, while Lovekin lives in Cabbagetown,
Toronto. Lee has written many of these guides, so he is an old hand.
Guides are always the basic source, no matter who publishes them: the
latest is the best. This one is dated July 2009, as a fifth edition.
There is a lot of colour here through the photos, with touristy
depictions of travel, accommodations, sights, and the listings on
eating, shopping, and living. There I a context section on literary
Toronto and history, and a colour section on art and architecture. Of
interest to me, of course, there are the eating and drinking sections.
These are mostly spot on, and at the lower end of the price scale since
the readers are mainly young people. Thus, Terroni is here but Mistura
is not. Quality/Price rating: 86.
13. THE SWEET SCIENCE AND OTHER WRITINGS (The Library of America, 2009;
distr. Random House, 1058 pages, ISBN 978-1-59853-040-7, $40 US hard
covers) is by A. J. Liebling, the noted American man of letters
associated with the New Yorker. This collection is a series of five
reprinted books all-in-one, most of which are themselves drawn from his
shorter pieces over the decades. "The Sweet Science" (1956) concerns
boxing in the early 1950s. "The Earl of Louisiana" (1961) is an account
of Governor Earl Long. "The Jollity Building" (1962) are real stories
about Manhattan low-life schemers. "The Press" (1964) collates his
articles from the New Yorker on media criticism. For us, "Between
Meals: an appetite for Paris" (1962) is the keystone, a memoir of
Liebling's introduction to Paris and its food and wine in the late
1920s. It is good to have it back in print. Quality/Price rating: 88.

14. THE EMPIRE OF TEA; the remarkable history of the plant that took
over the world (Overlook Press, 2009, 308 pages, ISBN 978-1-59020-175-
6, $14.95 US soft covers) is by Alan MacFarlane, a social
anthropologist at Cambridge, and Iris MacFarlane, who lived on an
Assamese tea garden for 20 years and has written on India and Assamese
history. It was originally published as "Green Tea: the empire of tea"
by Ebury Press in 2003, but allowed to go out-f-print. This is a
straight reprint, covering the basic history from Darjeeling to Lapsang
Souchon, from India to Japan, emphasizing the impact that tea had on
the world's history: Buddhist meditation, Boston Tea Party, the
Industrial Revolution, Assam 1839-1880, labour conditions and strife,
et al. There are end notes, a bibliography, and an index. His website, has seven articles which add to or update
the book. Quality/Price rating: 88.

15. BARBECUE SECRETS DELUXE! The very best recipes, tips and tricks
from a barbecue champion (Whitecap Books, 2009, 394 pages, ISBN 978-1-
55285-949-0, $29.95 Canadian paper covers) is by Ronnie Shewchuk, a BBQ
competitor (his team's name is Butt Shredders) and BBQ writer. He went
to journalism school at Carleton in Ottawa, but now lives in North
Vancouver.  His day job is as a business communicator facilitator. This
current book is a re-tuning of his first two books ("Barbecue Secrets"
from 2004 and "Planking Secrets" from 2006) plus fifty new, additional
preps. And some new anecdotes. The 200 recipes here contain detailed
data and guidelines on all the elements you'd run into in BBQ. The best
use Championship Barbecue Rub (or "Bob's Rub"). Try cowboy steaks,
lemony-herbed flank steak, lamb meatball kebabs, planked salmon (via
Steve Raichlen), and pepper-grilled tuna. has more
details and blogs about BBQ. Quality/Price rating: 89.

16. BANANA; the fate of the fruit that changed the world (Plume Books,
2009; distr. Penguin, 281 pages, ISBN 978-0-454-29008-2, $16 US soft
covers) is by Dan Koeppel, a nature and science writer. This book was
originally published last year, 2008; it takes the banana from jungle
to supermarket, from corporate boardrooms to kitchen tables. Because it
is so cheap and easily digested, bananas are the world's most popular
fruit. Picked very green, they can be easily shipped to anywhere in the
world. And the early labour (in order to keep prices down but retain
profits) was serf-like and near-slavery. The major players were
Chiquita and Dole, and they gave rise to the term "banana republics" in
Central America. They also supported much research over the years,
including genetic modification.  This well-written history comes with a
timeline, good through 2007. But, as Koeppel says, over the years
little has changed. "Biotech bananas still hold the greatest potential,
and though progress has been made in the lab, extensive field testing
has yet to begin." Meanwhile, the dreaded "Panama disease" continues to
spread. There is a bibliography and an index, although the entries
under United Fruit, Standard Fruit, Cavendish, and Panama disease are
too long without any subdivisions. Quality/Price rating: 89.

17. HEIRLOOM; notes from an accidental tomato farmer (Broadway Books,
2009, 232 pages, ISBN 978-0-7679-2707-9, $14 US soft covers) is by Tim
Stark, who owns and operates Eckerton Hill Farm in Pennsylvania. He
sells a lot of his produce in Manhattan, especially his heirloom
tomatoes and his obscure chili peppers. His book was originally
published by Broadway in hard covers in 2008; it appears to be a winner
in the category of "gentleman farmer literature". Five of the 11 essays
had been previously published in Gourmet, the Washington Post, or read
on National Public Radio. He's a good writer of his memoirs, telling
the story of how he left his Brooklyn job as a government consultant to
revive his family farm in Pennsylvania. An index would have been
useful. Quality/Price rating: 86.

18. WHAT TO EAT WHEH YOU'RE EATING OUT. 2nd ed. (Small Steps Press,
2009; distr. McGraw Hill, 816 pages, ISBN 978-1-58-040316-0, $10.95 US
soft covers) has been put together by Hope S. Warshaw, RD,
MMSc, CDE – a nationally recognized expert on healthy eating and
diabetes. It was originally published in 2005, with some earlier
material copyrighted 1999 and 2002. This is a hard to beat book if you
eat out a lot and want to cut back on superfluous calories, sugars and
fats. The coverage is for American chain restaurants, and (for the most
part) these same chains exist in Canada. Six meals a week are eaten out
in restaurants, mostly at chains where you just walk in and go up to
the front. 61 chains are covered (although Tim Horton's is listed as
only available online at the website below), and more than 6500 items
are analyzed. The arrangement is by loose type of diner: those serving
breakfasts, snacks, chicken, seafood, burgers, family fare, soups and
sandwiches, pizza, tacos, Asiatic, and frozen desserts. Nutritional
analyses for each item include calories, fat content, saturated fats,
cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fibre and protein. Choices and
Exchanges are also listed. So you can go through all the burger and
pizza joints to find the "best" possible foods. She has sample meals
that show readers how to make healthy meals from the menu of each
resto, and related to this she also indicates "Healthiest Bet" choices
from every establishment. I wish she had also covered Highly Refined
Corn Fructose (HRCF) as well. Instead, it is just buried in the carbs
category. This is a survival kit, and more can be found at, especially searching for key terms.
Quality/price rating: 95.

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