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Tuesday, October 4, 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. FOOD FROM MANY GREEK KITCHENS (Whitecap Books, 2011, 336 pages,
ISBN 978-1-77050-060-0, $40 CAN hard covers) is by Tessa Kiros, a chef
who has cooked in London, Sydney, Mexico, and Athens. It was originally
published in Australia last year by Murdoch Books. Kiros has also
authored "Twelve" (Tuscany), "Postcards from Portugal", and "Venezia".
She's working her way through Europe, and continues now with Greece.
She uses her family and support system to locate preps for fasting,
festivals and feast days such as Easter. This is also a bit of a coffee
table book, since there are also elegant landscape scenes in addition
to plated dishes. There's vassilopitta (New Year wish cake), yamopilafo
(wedding rice, fry breads, tarama balls, red eggs, lentil soup, and
many lamb dishes. Culinary traditions and cultures are carefully
explained. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois
measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. There's good
large typeface for the methodology, but a dramatically smaller typeface
for the list of ingredients. Quality/price rating: 84.
2011, 172 pages, ISBN 978-1-55109-850-0, $15.95 soft covers) is by
Mildred and Stuart Trueman. Stuart passed away shortly after the book
was first published in 1994; he contributed instructions for old cures
and medications. Mildred has updated her book to also include
traditional Acadian dishes and classic New Brunswick lumber camp
recipes. These are given their own chapter. All courses are covered,
from soups and chowders through to desserts, jams and jellies. It is a
major contribution to Canadian culinary history, and so it is good to
have it back in circulation once again. Try rapee pie, puttins, rabbit
stew, chicken fricot, vinegar pie, Miramichi baked beans, and hot
biscuits. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois
measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 90.
19. PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND TASTES; recipes from PEI's best restaurants
(Nimbus Publishing, 2011, 82 pages, ISBN 1-55109-827-2, $22.95 paper
covers) is edited by Andrew Sprague, a free lance food writer living on
the Island. This is a cook's tour through P.E.I., with 28 recipes. It
was originally published in 2006; nine recipes are new, as are the
restaurants. Both Imperial and metric weights and measures are used for
each ingredient listed in the recipe, which is a good thing. There are
many photos, but mostly of the tourist-type. Some plated dishes are
photographed nicely. PEI lovers will adore this book, as will armchair
travelers and tourists. Some interesting or unusual recipes include
lobster-stuffed chicken (from the Pilot House), potato pie with maple
bacon sauce (PEI Preserve Company Restaurant), savoury meat pie (Clow's
Red and White), bisque mussel (Flex Mussels), and grilled mackerel (Lot
30. But there is still no index (although there is a directory of the
restaurants with recipes noted and page numbers), and far too many non-
food pictures. Quality/Price Rating: 85.

20. FRENCH CLASSICS MADE EASY (Workman, 2011, 392 pages, ISBN 978-0-
7611-5854-7, $16.95 US paper covers) is by Richard Grausman, a
professional cooking teacher. The publisher's blurb says that this is
the book his students have asked him to write. But the question is:
when? It was originally published in 1988. "The recipes in this book
are my interpretations and updates of French classics....My goal is to
provide clear, easy instructions, free of some of the restraints of the
classic French kitchen." Since 1990, the book has been used as a text
by many of his students. 250 "classic" recipes have had shortcuts
applied, non-crucial steps eliminated, advanced prep work done, and the
fat-sugar-salt cut back. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents as
well as a discussion on the use of metric weights and measures. The
index is bilingual. It's a useful book, with the typical preps of
soufflé, bouillabaisse, cassoulet (light), boeuf bourguignon, soupe de
poisson, pate, terrine, and others. Useful as a tried and true book.
Quality/price ratio: 86.

21. MY GRILL; outdoor cooking Australian style (Weldon Owen, 2011, 256
pages, ISBN 978-1-61628-116-8, $30 US hard covers) is by Peter Evans, a
TV chef, restaurateur, and grill expert in Australia. It was originally
published in 2009 by Murdoch Books in Australia. This is al fresco
dining and entertaining, man-style. Each chapter also includes a
variety of cocktails. There are also a lot of camping tips and preps
here as well, such as eggs with chorizo or French toast with figs,
ricotta pancakes – all morning food. Overall, too, there are a fair
number of non-food touristy pictures as well. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table
of metric equivalents. There's indigenous food, such as grilled hamachi
or barramundi, and basic BBQ such as maple syrup and tamarind-glazed
pork ribs. Desserts are mainly grilled fruit, which is good for you.
Just over 100 recipes. Quality/pri9ce rating: 85.

22. EASY GRILLING; simple recipes for outdoor grills (Ryland Peters and
Small, 2011, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-111-7, $19.99 US hard covers)
is a collection of 100 recipes from the Ryland stable of cookbook
authors, such as Louise Pickford and Ghillie Basan who have the
majority of the preps. Other contributors include Fiona Beckett, Maxine
Clark, Ross Dobson, Jane Noraika, Elsa Petersen-Schepelern, Fiona
Smith, and Lindy Wildsmith. It is one of the "Easy" series, now up to a
dozen or so in number and covering a variety of themes. This series is
a very useful compilation series, from a variety of sources. There's
the usual primer, the sauces and marinades (plus dips), followed by
sections on meats, poultry, fish and seafood, veggies, salads, and
sides. Even desserts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Typical preps include swordfish kabobs, peppered tuna steaks, charred-
grilled chicken breast, BBQ spareribs Mexican style, and the like.
Quality/price rating: 87.
23. MARK BITTMAN'S KITCHEN EXPRESS; 404 inspired seasonal dishes you
can make in 20 minutes or less (Simon & Schuster, 2009, 2011, 233
pages, ISBN 978-1-4165-7567-2, $15 US soft covers) is by the ubiquitous
and eponymous Mark Bittman. It was originally to be titled "404
Express", but I guess they shied away from its Internet connotation,
"404 Error". It was originally published in 2009; this is the 2011
paperback reprint, with no changes except for the cover which dropped
the log rolling. He promised 101 quick and easy recipes for each of the
four seasons. He's done cooking shows, and 2 million readers look at
his weekly New York Times column (paper and internet versions). In this
book, he claims dishes can be ready in 20 minutes or less. There have
been many books on the theme of "20-minutes-or-less", and this one is
not any different – just the latest, with the added cachet of Bittman's
name. He had a similar book from 2007, a paperback titled "Mark
Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times" which you can
still get on Amazon for $13 US ($9.99 US for Kindle). There were 350
recipes in that book, and not all of them were quick (a few demanded
unattended times such as baking in the oven). Here he has rearranged
some and added many more, laying them out by season. So he can catch
the "seasonal" element too. The trick to the timing is to have your
mise en place plus be able to multitask. He says, "These recipes were
developed for the type of cook who gets the oil hot while chopping an
onion, cooks the onion while peeling and chopping the carrot, adds the
carrot and goes on to dice the meat, and so on." This is fast, steady,
sequential cooking. You'll also need a pantry, which he specifies, so
you can grab an essential ingredient that will always be in stock. Oh,
yes … you'll need to do regular shopping too. All of these can be
mastered. He has a section that lists (with page references) dishes
that can double as appetizers, brown-bag lunches, meals and desserts to
eat year long, finger food, "easiest of the easiest", do-aheads and
reheatables, and picnic foods. Preparations have their ingredients
listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no metric table of
equivalents (except for oven temperatures) – not even in the reprint.
Recipes are given in narrative prose, the way Gourmet magazine used to
do them. This forces you to read the whole description before
attempting to cook. He has a list of some substitutions and a
collection of menus for putting a meal together in some order. Try taco
slaw; peanut soup; banderilla pasta; zuppa di pane; mussels in white
wine and garlic; or warm milk toast.
The downside to this book is that you've got to know what you are doing
at all times. Menus and categories of dishes for picnics, potlucks,
etc. are included. Quality/Price Rating: 89.

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