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Sunday, May 30, 2010




...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"...




6. RACHAEL RAY'S BOOK OF 10; more than 300 recipes to cook every day (Clarkson Potter, 2009, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-307-38320-4, $20 US paper covers) is another sign of celebrity sighting in the book cases. It is not enough that celebrity cooks are producing books at an alarming rate. They must also be titled with the name of the author in large letters and possessed by something, e.g. RACHEL RAY's. Much of the material in this book originally appeared in several other of Ray's 2005 books; hence, its appearance in this column. This time the material has been arranged by THIRTY categories for FELSO (fast, easy, local, seasonal, possibly organic) cooking. These are her top ten recipes for family favourites, comfort foods, $10 meals, most requested, burgers, vegetarian, pasta, seafood, one-pots. There's some kid food here, but mainly in the chicken category. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no metric table of equivalents. More advice is at

Quality/Price rating: 85.



7. TOMATO; a fresh-from-the-vine cookbook (Storey Publishing, 2004, 2010; distr. Th. Allen, 278 pages, ISBN 978-1-60342-478-3, $16.95 US paper covers) is by Lawrence Davis-Hollander, who founded and directed the Eastern Native Seed Conservancy (preservation and rediscovery of heirloom plants). It was originally published in 2004 as "The Tomato Festival Cookbook". Most of the preps come from 28 named chefs (including Massimo Capra of Toronto). Log rollers include Alice Waters and Deborah Madison. It has been lightly revised -- the sidebars on tomato lore, chef profiles, descriptions of heirloom varieties, and gardening tips remain. The bibliography stops at 2002. Presumably the directory of sources and tomato festivals is current, with phone numbers and websites. Recipes are grouped by theme or plate, and include desserts (tomato pies, jams, tarts – even a sorbet). Try Catalan tomato toasts, herbed goat cheese broiled in tomato sauce, tomato-rice casserole with poblanos, of the lovely and delicate Imam Bayildi. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no metric table of equivalents. Quality/Price rating: 88.



THE VEGETABLE GARDENER'S BIBLE, 2nd edition (Storey Publishing, 2009; distr. T. Allen, 351 pages, ISBN 978-1-60342-475-2, $24.95 US soft covers) is by Edward C. Smith, a Vermont gardener with a 1500 square foot garden. It was first published in 2000, and this edition is being touted as the "Fully Updated 10th Anniversary Edition", claiming sales of over a quarter-million in the previous decade. His WORD system remains intact: Wide rows; Organic methods; Raised beds; and Deep soil. The dictionary arrangement of vegetable specific information remains. New is coverage of 15 additional vegetables, with an expanded section on salad greens and European and Asian veggies. There is more – and newer – growing information in general, new photos of cultivars, and a section on extending the season into the winter months (bringing stuff indoors). And he proposes more solutions for small-space gardening. And of course, he takes into consideration the variety of North American gardening regions.  Overall, the book does a great job in answering the question "should I grow my own vegetables?"  Quality/Price rating: 88.



PASTA ET CETERA A LA DI STASIO (Transcontinental Books, 2007, 2009, 191 pages, ISBN 978-0-9809924-8-9, $29.95 CAD paper covers) is by Josee di Stasio, who had a cooking show on French-Canadian TV. This book was originally published in French in 2007 as a tie-in with that show. It's a basic Italian cookbook, divided into chapters dealing with antipasti and minestre, pasta (the main part), and dolci. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. The layout and photography is very good, but there is a lot of white space. So a gorgeous-looking book it is. She begins with cheese tuiles, salami chips, and little leek balls (none of which you see in too many Italian cookbooks), and ends with lemon sorbet and limoncello, lime budino, and an olive oil and lemon loaf (which you don't see too often). Pastas are pretty basic, although there are some like cauliflower penne, cacao e pepe, and lemon pasta that are not ordinary. Maybe it is time for someone to put out a definitive pasta book which defines the field, with about 2000 variations. She also covers the basic Italian pantry. Page numbers for recipes in the index have bold face, which is always a good idea. Quality/Price rating: 86.



LIGHTHEARTED AT HOME; the very best of Anne Lindsay (John Wiley & Sons Canada, 2010, 486p, ISBN 978-0-470-16077-0, $38.95 CAD hard covers) is by long-time food writer Anne Lindsay, a member of the Order of Canada. It collates many of her best recipes from previous Heart and Stroke Foundation books as well as 40 preps from her Key Porter books and 28 from her Ballantine book. Here are 500 recipes in total, designed to ease your heart with their low-fat approach. All courses are covered, and the book (which weighs over 4 pounds because of the coated paper) can serve as a general cookbook since it has many recipes for each part of the meal. Indeed, there is an assortment of 29 menus at the back, each prep listed with a page number, and good for a variety of occasions such as brunch, vegetarian, the four seasons, family dinners, breakfasts, luncheons, and buffets. There is also a glossary of nutritional terms and a reproduction of the Canadian Food Guide (2007).

Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. The book has large fonts in almost-bold typefaces, a boon to the cook who always casts an eye on the recipe in the kitchen. Good leading in the index makes it easier to read and quickly locate a recipe. The binding is durable and useful for repeated use; I say this because many of her earlier books were in paperback and fell apart after awhile. Each prep has nutritional analysis and had been reviewed by the Heart and Stroke people, who also get a portion of the proceeds from the book sales. Distributed throughout are tips and advice on healthy eating, cooking techniques of use for the lighthearted cook, make ahead instructions, and even ingredient substitutions. Some recipes are attributed to others such as Elizabeth Baird. It's an extremely useful but pretty basic book. For exciting dishes, do try the shepherd's pie (made with pork, beef and lamb), Moroccan vegetable couscous, hoisin-glazed halibut, and Provencal saffron chicken. Quality/Price rating: 88.



WINE ALL-IN-ONE FOR DUMMIES (Wiley Publishing, 2009, 670 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-476326-0, $29.99 US paper covers) is mainly by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan, with additional contributions from Maryann Egan, Tony Aspler, and Barbara Leslie. McCarthy and Ewing-Mulligan are the team which has produced several Dummies books, such as "Wine for Dummies" (now in its 4th edition) and Dummies books on French, Italian, and California wines. Egan has done a Dummies book on Australian and New Zealand wines, while Aspler and Leslie co-wrote a Dummies book on Canadian wines. Other parts of this book come from Dummies books on Paris and Germany, and there is also some California material from Frommer's. The "All-in-One" book series for collates and revises existing Dummies books. This makes the book a bargain revision of several reprinted items. There are lots of sketch maps and bulleted information with thumbnail sketches of just about everything. You can also get cheat sheets and charts from This is a fat basic book that is just perfect for anybody wanting to know about wine. It's an entry-level book without a lot of pictures and tasting notes, but there are plenty of wines listed and pronunciation guides right next to the foreign word. Quality/Price rating: 90.



PROFESSIONAL COOKING, seventh edition (John Wiley and Sons,

2011 [sic], 1088 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-19753-0, $70US hard covers) is by Wayne Gisslen. It was last revised in 2007 as a textbook

meant for cooking courses at community colleges and chef schools. It has evolved into both a textbook and a book for the serious home cook. There's still some stuff on the food service industry, but not so much anymore. It has also come down a lot in price. Overall, there are about 650 recipes with another 600 variations, plus over 1,000 instructive illustrations. About 100 new recipes have been added since the last edition, mainly on veggies and grains with an international slant.

All courses and all meals are covered, plus some selective international cuisine such as oriental, Mexican, and Italian.

Mostly pretty basic stuff, but with lots of new colour photos to illustrate the step-by-step techniques and plated dishes. There is good material on how to create, to structure and to use recipes, beginning with menu construction and menu building. Other chapters concern the handling of convenience foods and meat cuts. The book concludes with an up-to-date and useful bibliography plus a glossary of food terms. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, and there also are tables of equivalents.

The book is heavy and fat, and there is nothing on

wine at all, except for a few sauce preps. Recipe contents are at the front, and there is a recipe index at the back. Quality/Price rating: 88.



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