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Sunday, August 14, 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"...

CUISINE AND CULTURE; a history of food and people. 3rd edition(John
Wiley & Sons, 2011, 436 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-40371-5, $40 US paper
covers) is by Linda Civitello, M.A (History) who teaches food history.
This is the third edition (the second was in 2008); the first won a
2003 Gourmand World Cookbook Award. The basic theme is how history
shapes our current diet. The scope is universal, from pre-history to
modern times, the grand sweep being a good overview. For the most part,
each chapter is an anecdotal survey of a time period and/or region.
Later, closer to our new millennium, the focus becomes Western, and
then in the 20th century, it is mostly North American. This is a useful
textbook for culinary arts courses, to give some sense of history to
the preparation of food. Accompanying the narration are some historical
drawings and reproductions. There are plenty of sidebars for historical
tidbits, as well as pronunciation guides to French and Italian words.
The appendix has a cookbook chronology, from Apicius (1st century AD)
through La Varenne, Beeton, Escoffier, Davidson), plus notes on why
these books are important. There are sample menus and historical
recipes, and the writing style is lively. The book concludes with an
extensive bibliography, footnotes, and index. New to this edition (25
more pages) are materials on Norwegian, Ethiopian, Canadian and Mayan
foods. Detail has been expanded for Japanese, Ancient Greek and Roman,
and regional Indian and African customs. Foods and food media coverage
of modern times have been updated. And the price has increased by a US
nickel. Quality/Price rating: 90.

RISOTTO; delicious recipes for Italy's classic rice dish (Ryland Peters
& Small, 2011; distr. T.Allen, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-097-4,
$24.95 US hard covers) is by Maxine Clark, a cooking teacher and writer
who specializes in Italian food. She has also written other such books
for Ryland in the past. It was originally published in 2005, as
"Risotto with vegetables, seafood, meat and more". Beginning with the
basics (white risotto step-by-step, broths), she continues with
sections on food by ingredients: there is a vegetarian section, but of
course risottos deal mostly with cheese, egg, poultry, meats, and
seafood. There are 50 recipes here, including a few desserts.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
And there is a listing of useful UK and US websites for mail orders.
Good for home cooks, or for those who only want the basics. Try fennel
and black olive risotto, pesto risotto, chicken liver risotto, or
beetroot risotto. Each recipe is illustrated with a lush presentation
photo. Quality/Price Ratio: 87.

FOOD FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS; simply delicious recipes for stylish
entertaining at home (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2011, 192 pages, ISBN
978-1-84975-123-0, $27.95 US hard covers) has about 130 recipes plus a
wealth of ideas for home entertaining. The text and preps come from six
Ryland writers in the stable: mostly Ross Dobson (75 preps), Tonia
George and Fiona Beckett (about 20 recipes apiece). Preparations have
their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no
table of metric equivalents. There's material in "setting the scene",
how to prepare and serve drinks and wine, how to feed a crowd and be
effortless, plus brunch dishes, nibbles and small plates, desserts and
cheeses. Good advice, nicely laid out, excellent photography, and good
leading. Try some smoked trout fatoush, mushroom risotto, truffled egg
linguine, tomato-bell pepper-mozzarella tart, or white chocolate pots.
Quality/Price rating: 86.

-MARTHA STEWART'S NEW PIES AND TARTS (Clarkson Potter, 2011, 352 pages,
ISBN 978-0-307-40509-8, $24.99 US paper covers) is from the editors of
Martha Stewart Living. It was first published in 1995, so this is its
major revision after 16 years. There are 150 preps here for classic and
modern faves. Some are savoury and some are sweet, some are complex and
some are simple, some are family-oriented while others are useful for
entertaining. The book was an instant "classic" in 1995, and remains so
today, with its chapters on the classic pies (pecan, tare tatin, apple,
lemon meringue), the free-form (pear tart, red-wine poached prune tart,
apple butter hand pies), sleek (sour cherry clafoutis), dreamy (banana
cream, key lime), rustic (rhubarb crumble), layered (chocolate pear
tart), dainty, artful, holiday, and savoury (14 winners here). And of
course there is a section on the basics. Excellent photography, layout
and instructions. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
But I do love a book with French leaves. Quality/price rating: 89.

-EASY SMOOTHIES & JUICES; simply delicious recipes for goodness in a
glass (Ryland Peters & Small, 2011, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-109-4,
$19.95 US hard covers) is a publisher's book package written by eight
food writers, although something like 45% came from Elsa Petersen-
Schepelern and 45% from Louise Pickford. The 150 preps are arranged in
loose order, such as fruit smoothies, juices and coolers, dairy shakes,
veggie juice, and a section on "fruit with a kick" which uses alcohol.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements,
but there is no table of metric equivalents. The photography is first-
rate, but I do think that they went overboard with it: these are just
drinks, not complicated dishes for presentation. Nevertheless, a useful
collection for summertime: roasted peaches & cream, watermelon gin,
cider apple slushie, peach and strawberry sangria, almond lassi, and
chai vanilla milkshake. Quality/price rating: 85.

-BUNGALOW KITCHENS (Gibbs-Smith, 2000, 2011; distr. Raincoast, 160
pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-0753-3, $19.99 US paper covers) was written by
Jane Powell for publication in 2000. It is a great book for those
interested in the history of American kitchens. Bungalow here means
mainly Arts and Crafts movement homes. Powell has also written
splendidly on Bungalow Bathrooms, Bungalow: Details (Interior and
Exterior), Arts & Crafts Home, and Linoleum. The bibliography stops at
1999, but the 11 page resources list has many websites listed (so
presumably it is more up-to-date). This section has names and addresses
for appliance, flooring, windows, ventilation, walls, lighting,
hardware, plus museums and restoration consultants. The photographs (by
Linda Svendsen) are stunning: many remind me of my own bungalow
upbringing. A good book for the culinary history buff. Quality/price
rating: 92.

-CANADIAN LIVING BEST RECIPES EVER; fresh, fun and tasty tested-till-
perfect recipes from the hit show. (Transcontinental Books, 2011;
distr. Random House Canada, 352 pages, ISBN 978-0-9813938-4-1, $25.95
US paper covers) is from the CBC TV show "Best Recipes Ever". Host Kary
Osmond presents three daily recipes from the database files of Canadian
Living magazine. This book gathers up some of the best 300 or so preps
from the first two seasons of the show. They've been grouped together
by category, but most are meant to be quick and easy and low budget
cookery. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. The
book opens with "beat the clock" fast prepared food, followed by "meat-
lover" mains, international cuisine, some lighter fare, some party
fare, eggs and brunch, and then some family food. For example, roasted
salmon with prosciutto has its ingredients in bold-face, with explicit
instructions, a nutritional analysis, and some tips on technique or
substituting. I think that I would also like prep and cooking times to
be indicated. Certainly, there is enough room on the page for these.
Not every dish has a photo, and sometimes there are two preps on a
page. This is worth your consideration as a goof-proof quick and easy
cookbook for the harried. Quality/price rating: 89.

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