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Sunday, April 22, 2012


...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"...
22. 150 BEST VEGAN MUFFIN RECIPES (Robert Rose, 2012, 192 pages, ISBN
978-0-7788-0292-1, $19.95 CAD paper covers)
23. 150 BEST GLUTEN-FREE MUFFIN RECIPES (Robert Rose, 2012, 192 pages,
ISBN 978-0-7788-0291-4, $19.95 CAD paper covers) are both by Camilla V.
Saulsbury, a freelance recipe developer and writer who has won several
US cooking competitions and cook-offs. She's also got about 15
cookbooks under her belt. These two books are complementary; most
purchasers, especially those with medical issues, will want both. Many
of the preps were previously published in the giant 750 Best Muffin
Recipes (also from Robert Rose, in 2010), so you may not need this book
if you have that huge compendium. These books are for the secondary
market, for the people really need gluten-free or vegan food. Both
books are similarly arranged, beginning with equipment and ingredients
special to gluten-free and vegan. The arrangement is about the same
too: her top muffins (20 vegan, 15 gluten-free), followed by breakfast
muffins, coffeehouse muffins, lunch and supper muffins, and "global"
muffins – her takes on international specialties such as five-spice
Asian pear muffins or sesame ginger muffins. There's minimal
duplication, in that some recipes sound the same but call for different
ingredients. For example, there's a five-spice pear muffin that is
either gluten-free or vegan (but not both). Most of the gluten-free
recipes have casein-free alternatives, so you can use the book as a
"dairy-free" book, but still maintain eggs and honey. Preparations have
their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements
(always a strong point with Robert Rose), but there is no table of
equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90.
24. A CARAFE OF RED (University of California Pr., 2012, 280
pages, ISBN 978-0-520-27032-9, $21.95 US soft covers) is by Gerald
Asher, who has written many books about wine. By profession he was an
international wine merchant. He also served as Gourmet magazine's wine
editor for 30 years. Here, he has selected some more essays published 
in Gourmet but with one dealing with cabernet sauvignon from another
source as well (The Book of California Wine). He did another one last
year (2011), "A Vineyard n My Glass". The essays (mainly from the
1990s) reflect wine regions: he has 8 for France, 8 for California
(plus one on Missouri), 6 for other European countries, and some
general ones on food and wine. And, believe it or not, there is
actually an index, which rarely happens with anthologies or reprints.
His book is definitely terroir-driven as he relates talks with
winemakers, wines and the meals he has had, along with growing
conditions. And each article is just about perfectly written with his
eye for detail. In France, he visits Bordeaux, Cote Rotie, Champagne,
Beauolais. There is also Malmsey, Barbaresco, and Sherry, and for
California, Santa Cruz and Zinfandel, amongst others. After each essay,
he pens a swift update since the original writing. Well-worth a read or
as a gift. Keep them coming, Mr. Asher…Quality/price rating: 90.

25. PLATTER'S SOUTH AFRICAN WINES 2012; the guide to cellars,
vineyards, winemakers, restaurants and accommodation (John Platter SA
Wine Guide Ltd; distr. by Wines of South Africa Canadian Office,, 618 pages, ISBN 978-0-987-0046-0-4, $30CAD
(includes shipping) hard cover) is the recognized authority on South
African wines. It has been published for 32 years. For this latest
edition, there are now 15 tasters – all identified, and with initials
after tasting notes. Some of the tasters have changed over the years.
More than 6000 wines are here evaluated (about 800 are new to this
edition), along with new wineries. One-quarter of all top ranking 5
star wines are now being made by mom-and-pop operations, a remarkable
achievement. Even the large co-ops are making more credible, limited
collections of superior wine. The contents of the guide are
straightforward: there are chapters on the wine industry, vintages and
styles, touring (accommodation and food, all in some 75 pages) followed
by some 500 pages of dictionary-arranged wineries, detailing most
aspects. To quote, "Wines are entered under the name of the private
producer, estate, co-operative winery or brand name of a merchant, and
listed alphabetically. Entries feature some or all of: producer's name,
address, phone/fax number, email address, website; wine name, colour
and style, grape varieties, vintage, area of origin; selected recent
awards and star ratings. Where applicable, other attractions to be
enjoyed on the property, such as meals and accommodation, are
highlighted." The book also has an indication of organic wines
available for sale and sketch maps to show the location of all the
wineries. The index at the front is by grape, so you can see at a
glance what is the top performing pinotage, or cabernet sauvignon, or
sparkler. Quality/price rating: 95.

(Robert Rose, 2012, 192 pages, ISBN 978-0-788-0404-8, $27.95 CAN
paperback) is by Sunil Vijayakar, a UK food author and stylist. It was
originally published in 2010 by Hamlyn as "Slow Cooker Curries". This
is it North American debut. Each recipe has a heat rating, and there is
advice on how to lower or increase the spicy heat component. These are
mostly curries, with an assortment of 40 pilafs, accompaniments and
chutneys. And of course, you don't actually need a slow cooker to do
the dish: they can all be modified for oven use. There is a good range
here, with preps from three different regions, foods from meats to
seafood to veggies, and all with differing heat levels. Try goat xacuti
curry, Cambodian pork and lemongrass curry, or sindhi beef curry.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
And, of course, the large type is extremely useful in the kitchen.
Quality/price rating: 89.
27. THE EDIBLE BALCONY; growing fresh produce in small spaces (Rodale,
2011, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-60961-410-2, $21.99 US paperback) is by
Alex Mitchell. It was also published in the UK by Kyle Books. She has
been writing about small space gardens for many British publications.
The attraction here, of course, is the remote possibility for growing
your own fresh produce, no mater how limited your space. But there must
be some kind of sunlight too, whether it is cast on a fire escape or
window box or rooftop or small deck. It's a good how-to book, with
plenty of information and tips on such thing as choice of pot, compost
and mixes, seeds and seedlings. There are side bars on the best crops
for grow bags, for a window box, and for hanging baskets. There's a
listing of the ten best "easy" crops, and other "top ten" listings for
"not-in-the-store" veggies, crops that keep coming by renewal, and
fruit trees. There are also a handful of recipes, and a lot of special
projects that should keep people busy. Quality/price rating: 88.

28. THE MAPLE SYRUP BOOK (Boston Mills Pr, 2006; distr. Firefly, 2012,
96 pages, ISBN 978-1-77085-033-0, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is by Janet
Eagleson, a naturalist. It was originally published in 2006, and is now
reissued. It is an A – Z primer on the hows and whys (including sugar
shacks) of maple syrup, along with eight recipes, including one for
maple syrup chicken wings (yummy). Rosemary Hasner contributes a lot of
colour photos on nearly every page. There's an illustrated flavour
wheel for maple syrup, but it should have been on a full page by
itself: it's a little hard to read at one one-third of a page.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 87.

29. THE BEST OF THE BEST AND MORE; recipes from The Best of Bridge
Cookbooks (Robert Rose, 2012, 304 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0299-0, $29.95
CAN spiral bound)
30. THE REST OF THE BEST AND MORE; recipes from The Best of Bridge
Cookbooks (Robert Rose, 2012, 304 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0400-0, $29.95
CAN spiral bound)
are new reprints from 1998 and 2004 respectively. The original
collations, of course, are collections of preps from the long series of
The Best of Bridge cookbooks. The story began in 1975 when the bridge
club of eight decided to produce their own cookbooks. "The Ladies of
the Best of Bridge" eventually sold 3.2 million copies of their books
over a 30 year period. These two books should be viewed together. The
BEST contains about 70 new recipes, while the REST has about 100 new
preps. All new recipes are highlighted in the index. The original
format of hand lettering has been retained. Preparations have their
ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but
there is no table of equivalents. It is all pretty standard reference
material, but all of it is useful. There was some light updating when
the books were first published (I don't have the resources to cross-
check 1998 edition against the 2012), and certainly the new recipes
will have been updated through 2012 – all to reflect current trends in
fresh eating. Quality/price rating: 88.

31. THE BEST STEWS IN THE WORLD; 300 satisfying one-dish dinners, from
chilis and gumbos to curries and cassoulet (Harvard Common Press, 2002,
2012; distr. T. Allen, 388 pages, ISBN 978-1-55832-747-4, $19.95 US
paper covers) is by Clifford A. Wright, a cooking teacher and food
writer who has authored some nine cookbooks, including the Beard Award
winner A Mediterranean feast. It was originally published in hardback a
decade ago, and here it is given its paperback reissue. Not much
changes in the world of stews, so his 2002 take is still valid today –
as written. It's international in scope, of course, and arranged by
major ingredient, leading off with beef. There's veal, lamb, pork,
fowl, small game, seafood, veggies, and "mixed meats". There are
materials for slow cookers, tajines, couscous, chilis, ropa vieja, and
more. There's a duck wing stew from the Languedoc, a Turkish chicken
and okra stew, fish dumplings from Morocco, a Lebanese fish stew,
Sardinian vegetable stew, and an Andalusian chickpea and veal tripe
stew. His last stew ("no-name stew") has all the leftovers after he
finished testing the recipes. Worth a try, but hard to find all the
exact ingredients. Preparations have their ingredients listed in
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 89.

32. WEIGHT WATCHERS NEW COMPLETE COOKBOOK, 4th ed. (J Wiley, 2011,2012,
436 pages, ISBN 978-1-118-11683-8, $21.99 US spiral bound edition) is
an update of the 2007 edition, which was also released in a plastic
comb binding. The book was originally published in hardback in 1993.
The new, fourth edition, has many changes, such as a separate chapter
on slow cooker meals and new sidebar advice. The new PointsPlus™
program is explained. Recipes have been labeled for skill level, and
there are more preps for grains and veggies. Plus, of course, the new
design: loose leaf allow for better recipe display in the kitchen. Once
again, the emphasis is on healthy eating for family meals and for
entertainment meals. The book has always been 500 recipes in length,
but they are always changing. There are some helpful technique photos,
as well as the usual technique tricks and tips. Quality/price rating:

33. CANADIAN LIVING. The One Dish Collection (Transcontinental Books,
2012; distr. Random House Canada, 288 pages, ISBN 978-0-9813938-9-6,
$26.95 CAD paper covers) is by the test kitchen at Canadian Living
magazine. It's in the style of the other books from the kitchen, such
as The Vegetarian Collection, The Slow Cooker Collection, The
International Collection, and The Barbecue Collection. The arrangement
begins with soups, stews and salads, moving on to casseroles, baked
items, simmer food, stir-fries, pasta and risotto. As always, it is a
basic book with plenty of tips and advice, There's a black bean and
chorizo soup, beer-simmered steaks, vegetable barley soup, mushroom-
bacon-swiss chard with gemelli pasta, tex-mex casserole with Monterey
jack cheese – about 250 of them. There's nutritional data for each
recipe, as well as some tips and advice. There's one prep per page, and
so the typeface could have been a bit larger since there's plenty of
space. Preparations have their ingredients listed mainly in avoirdupois
measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 87.

34. HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING: the basics, all you need to cook great food
(John Wiley & Sons, 2012, 486 pages, ISBN 978-0-470-52806-8, $35US hard
covers) is by Mark Bittman. Every book he creates has many things to
say about food, and this one is no different. It was originally
published in 2003, with 100 basic recipes plus 30 others. Now Bittman
has moved on to "hands-on" cooking. This edition of the book has 185
"building-block recipes and 1,000 instructive photographs". This is
great for beginners, but I'm sure that Bittman fans already have his
recipes and do not need the pix. Nevertheless, with the 2003 book out
of print, this is the basic Bittman that new cooks will want. And it is
dirt cheap on Amazon and The Book Depository. There's a chunk of primer
data here, such as stocking the pantry and kitchen, specialized
ingredients and equipment, and about 30 different skills for preparing
foods. Still, the publisher has added a lot of log rolling from Oliver,
Batali, Colicchio, and Chang. Preparations have their ingredients
listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric
equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90.

35. PROFESSIONAL CAKE DECORATING. 2d ed. (Wiley, 2012, 402 pages, ISBN
978-0-470-38009-3, $65US hard covers) is by Toba Garrett, a well-known
multiple award winner of cake decorations. She's at the Institute of
Culinary Education in NYC, a nd has also written many other cake and
cookie decoration books. It was originally published in 2006 at 368
pages, so this second edition has added some 40 or so more pages. The
first edition said: "Professional Cake Decorating is the first
guidebook, reference, and at-your-fingertips resource to the special
methods and techniques unique to cake decorating." There's a
comprehensive set of lessons designed to teach the skills needed in
cake decorating, including basic, intermediate, and advanced piping
skills; hand modeling; and gumpaste flowers. She also deals with the
overall look and design of cakes, and it is a useful training handbook
and resource for bakers and decorators. The second edition has been
revamped, with additional photography and additional techniques and
patterns (such as a marzipan bridal coupe, variations on a closed
tulip, more variations on writing, more marzipan such as jalapeno
peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and mangoes). Also new are floating collars
for suspending cakes and a pillow cake. Using hundreds of step-by-step
and finished cake color photographs and many illustrations, this highly
visual book covers a wealth of techniques for cake borders, piped
flowers, cake writing and piping, royal icing designs, marzipan fruits
and figurines, rolled icing, floral patterns, petit fours, gumpaste
floral art and design, etc. Thorough coverage also includes such
foundation skills as making shells, rosettes, reverse shells, zigzags,
fleur-de-lis, rope, garlands, scrolls, rosebuds, and other
confectionary designs (plus templates). There are also 35 recipes.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and
avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 90.
Chimo! AND

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