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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


...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. BEST SUMMER WEEKENDS COOKBOOK (Cottage Life Books, 2004, 352 pages,
ISBN 978-0-9696922-4-9, $39.95 CAN hard covers) is by Jane Rodmell, who
had a food column for Cottage Life. Currently, she's the proprietor of
All the Best Fine Foods. This edition combines the best of her earlier
"Summer Weekend Cookbook" and "More Summer Weekends Cookbook", but with
75 new recipes. All of this totals about 300 preps designed for
entertaining at a cottage. The range is complete, from apps to BBQ,
salads, make-aheads, light snacks, brunches, and sweets. Each prep
includes variations and substitutions and some quick tricks; all
variations are indexed, which is a boon. So actually, it can be a
weekend cookbook for city use as well, or for making dishes in the city
for transport to the cottage. Preparations have their ingredients
listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no
table of equivalents. There are some good notes on larder/pantry
maintenance, but I also wish there had been some menus listed.
Quality/price rating: 86.
18. THE NEWLYWEDS' VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2011,
176 pages, ISBN 978-1-849975-115-5, $27.95 US hard covers) is a house
production using recipes credited to their stable of cookbook authors:
Ross Dobson (40 preps), Fiona Beckett, Maxine Clark, Tonia George, and
many others. Subtitled by an enthusiastic publisher as "every recipe
you'll ever need for your life together". There is a credit list with
the recipe titles, but no page references. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but
there is no metric table of equivalents. It seems to be a good basic
book for new cooks (the original The Newlyweds' Cookbook sold 70,000
copies) who want to get more veggies into their lives. Basics are
covered, as well as pantry stocking. There are 117 recipes, sorted as
to brunch, quick meals, special occasions, family gatherings, and easy
entertaining. Plus, of course, appetizers and snacks, desserts, baking,
and drinks. Well worth a look for morning muffins, cinnamon porridge,
peach, mozzarella and frisee salad, Spanish-style panzanella, feta and
chick pea parcels, pumpkin and gorgonzola risotto, and rose petal tart.
Quality/price rating: 88.

19. THE LAURA SECORD CANADIAN COOK BOOK (Whitecap, 2011, 192 pages,
ISBN 978-1-55285-260-6, $16.95 CAN paperback) is a perennially useful
cookbook now in it second printing. It was prepared by the Canadian
Home Economics Association and vended by McClelland & Stewart through
Laura Secord stores in 1966 as a sort-of Centennial Project. Since then
over 200,000 copies have been sold. It was one of the first books to
rely on a "Canadian cuisine" with preps for tourtiere (including a
chicken one from Gaspe), fricandeau (veal and pork meatloaf), glazed
back bacon, shoofly pie, and sugar pie from Quebec. The recipes are
presented "as is" in 1966, consistent with existing ingredients and
techniques and equipment. No microwaves or food processors here.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no metric table of equivalents. A great, reliable book,
value priced for over 300 recipes. Menus are for regions (East Coast,
BC, Quebec, etc.) and Canadian holidays (e.g., "Dominion Day").
Quality/price rating: 89.
20. LOCAVORE; from farmers' fields to rooftop gardens – how Canadians
are changing the way we eat (Harper Perennial, 2010, 241 pages, ISBN
978-1-55468-419-9, $17.99 CAD paper covers) is by Sarah Elton, food
commentator for CBNC Radio and a free-lance writer for other
publications. It is a 2011 paperback reprint of the successful 2010
best seller. She follows along Margaret Webb's previous journey through
various farms (Apples to Oysters, 2008) by also expanding to what is
happening in the cities. But I am surprised that Webb's book is not
cited in an otherwise very decent and relevant bibliography. Elton has
stories from most of the provinces, including farm life in Nova Scotia,
New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. This is followed by urban
patterns in British Columbia, cheese in Quebec, and urban homesteading
in Toronto. Well-worth catching if you don't already have it.
Quality/price rating: 89.

21. ESQUIRE – EAT LIKE A MAN; the only cookbook a man will ever need
(Chronicle Books, 2011, 224 pages, ISBN 978-0-8118-7741-1, $30 US hard
covers) is based on Esquire's food coverage over the years. There is
material from chefs Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, David Chang, Tom
Colicchio, Thomas Keller, Michael Symon, Michael White, Scott Conant –
and more (including several women chefs). They are all listed and
sourced as to restaurant and recipe. There's a listing of preps by
skill level, in order of difficulty, from Banana bread French toast
through porchetta and bourbon salmon (all easy) to beef stew with ale
and truffled mac and cheese (reasonable). There are only six preps that
would be rated difficult or worth the effort: Sunday gravy (really? It
is just a stew), Coca-Cola brined fried chicken (you've got to be
kidding), red beans and rice grits, seafood hot pot, bone-in top loin,
grits with fried farm eggs and ham scraps. Some asparagus and spinach
appear to be the only veggies. If you ate like this all the time, you'd
die – guaranteed. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
In fact, to reinforce the doubt I have that men had ever heard of
metric stuff, there is a table of "common conversions", such as 2 pints
= 1 quart. Not for the faint of heart (it is enough to terrify any
vegan), but exceedingly useful for the carnivore in the family.
Quality/price rating: 85.

21. THE BAR & BEVERAGE BOOK. Fifth Edition. (John Wiley & Sons, 2012
[sic], 722 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-24845-4, $82.95 Canadian hard covers)
is by Costas Katsigris, now Director Emeritus of the Food and
Hospitality Service Program at El Centro Community College in Dallas.
His co-author is Chris Thomas, a professional food and wine writer. It
began life in 1983 with Katsigris, and was last revised in 2007. The
publisher summary says that the book explains how to manage the
beverage option of a restaurant, bar, hotel, and country club. There's
a chapter on the history of the beverage industry (mostly American), an
appreciation of wines-beers-spirits. Information on equipping, staffing
managing and marketing a bar, and how to purchase. New to this edition
are updated changes to US regulations on service of alcohol, sanitation
guidelines, labour laws, and how to be more profitable. New trends are
also covered. There are summaries, discussion points, and terms used by
the trade in each chapter. Canada gets mentioned only with Canadian
whisky and Canadian beer. "Canadian whiskey" [with an "e"] is mentioned
at one point in the glossary.  Useful for all schools of hospitality,
libraries, and working establishments in the US. Quality/price rating:

23. THE NEW FOOD PROCESSOR BIBLE. Rev. and updated 4th edition. 30th
anniversary edition. (Whitecap, 2011, 552 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-028-
0, $29.95 CAD soft covers) is by Norene Gilletz, IACP member and food
writer-consultant-teacher. She first published this book in 1979/80 as
"The Pleasures of Your Processor", later re-titled as "The Pleasures of
Your Food Processor". I think all of those recipes are here, plus 65 
new ones. And of course, since there are many brands of food processors
in the market, it does not matter which one you use in order to employ
these recipes. There are now over 600 recipes here, plus the useful
practical tips, a quick reference "Smart Chart" and nutritional
analysis with every recipe. There are low-carb and low-fat options and
gluten-free baking. The baby-food section is new. Even a slow cooker is
involved. Still, I am not sure why the publisher felt that there should
have been major log rolling from five writers, a cookbook store owner,
and a marketing director. Because Gilletz is a leading author of kosher
cookbooks in Canada, there is a section on Passover recipes. There are
also no pork or related seafood preps. Two recipes a page makes it a
little crowded, and some preps carry over to the verso side of the
leaf. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois
measurements (with some metric added for the weights), but there is no
metric table of equivalents. Tabs are used to locate relevant sections.
Food processors, like any piece of kitchen equipment, are not the final
answer to all the prep work. But they do go a long way to making life
easier. Quality/price rating: 85.

24. BEAT THIS! COOKBOOK (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011; distr. T.
Allen, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-547-43700-2, $14.95 US paper covers) is by
Ann Hodgman. It was last published as a 208 page paperback in 1999. A
mention on NPR stirred a response by the publisher to reissue the book
with 50 more preps. This is that book. Here are 150 recipes that
Hodgman guarantees to be better than anyone else's. Recipes include:
Apple Crisp, Baking Powder Biscuits, Beef Stew, Blueberry Muffins,
Caramels, Chicken Salad, Clam Chowder, Deviled Eggs, Fudge, Fried
Mushrooms, Gingersnaps, Guacamole, Lemon Squares, Lime Sorbet, Molasses
Cookies, Onion Soup, Pesto Torta, Plum Pudding, Potato Salad, Shrimp
Salad, Spaghetti Sauce, Sugar Cookies, Tomato Soup, and White-Chocolate
Raspberry Tart. It is all presented with a sense of humour.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents. There is a concluding
chapter on leftovers. I did get tired of the red print on white
background, but that may be just me. Quality/Price rating: 89.
25. HOW BAD ARE BANANAS? The carbon footprint of everything (Greystone
Books, 2011, 232 pages, ISBN 978-1-55365-831-3, $19.95 CAD paper
covers) is by Mike Berners-Lee, founder of Small World Consulting, a
company specializing in climate change. His research has included the
development of leading footprint tools based on environmental input-
output analysis and life-cycle analysis. It was originally published in
the UK in 2010 as a paperback, but at 304 pages. So perhaps some arcane
material was excised? Anyway, it is a lifestyle-green guide, especially
useful for vegans. It is also a demanding book about climate change,
with references to choices to be made in order to reduce carbon
footprints. He believes that everything can be costed out in carbon
credits and debits, even the big things like the Iraqi war or volcanic
eruptions. The small things, also here, include a glass of beer or
wine, ironing, even email. According to his studies, a plastic bag has
the smallest carbon footprint of anything listed. A kilo of cheese uses
about 12 kilos of CO2 emission; a leg of lamb emits about 17 kilos of
CO2 for each kilo of lamb. Most of these values are for local items, as
in the UK. If we were to import British cheese to Canada, the CO2
emission would climb for the transport. There are lots of graphs and
charts and scientific reasoning here. Well worth a read. Quality/price
rating: 89.

26. SAVEUR -- THE NEW COMFORT FOOD; home cooking from around the world
(Chronicle Books, 2011; distr. Raincoast, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-8118-
7801-2 $35 US hard covers) comes from the pages of Saveur magazine.
There are a lot of familiar dishes here, although some ethnic foods may
not be everyone's idea of "comfort food". Saveur is a top-down
magazine, emphasizing the origins of a dish with great photography and
extraordinary writing by culinary authors. After a string of books on
international themes, this one (edited by James Oseland, editor-in-
chief of the magazine) promotes solid home cooking as the building
blocks of great meals. Here are more than 100 classic home-style
dishes, ranging from a lot of American (Texas BBQ, New Orleans shrimp,
southern catfish) to some exotic (Thai hot and sour soup, Tuscan kale
soup, Italian meatballs). There's also a lot of Mexican food here,
reflecting the US southwest. All the recipes are richly illustrated.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is a table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.

27. PLENTY; vibrant vegetable recipes from London's Ottolenghi
(Chronicle Books, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4521-0124-8, $35 US hard covers) is
by Yotam Ottolenghi, co-owner of four eponymous "haute-couture to-go
food shops" in London UK. He also writes a weekly vegetarian column for
The Guardian newspaper. Here, he has 120 recipes from that column.
Organized by ingredient, from roots to fruit, the material is nicely
framed by the photography. The book was originally published in 2010 by
Ebury Press; this is its North American debut. Onions have their own
separate section, with leeks, garlic, and onions together. There's
mushrooms, squashes, peppers, brassicas, eggplant, tomato, leaves (raw
and cooked), green beans, pulses, grains, pasta-polenta-couscous, and
then fruit with cheese.

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