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Wednesday, September 19, 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" of
scholarly and/or historical cook books...

THE ASIAN GRANDMOTHERS COOKBOOK; home cooking from Asian American
kitchens (Sasquatch Books, 2009, 2012; distr. Random House of Canada,
348 pages, ISBN 978-1-57061-752-2, $25.95 US soft covers) is by
Patricia Tanumihardja, a free-lance food writer. It was originally
published in 2009 as a hardbound book, and here it returns as a
paperback with perfect binding. The Asian grandmother in the US is the
glue that keeps the family together. Here are about 120 preps for old-
school dishes from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Thai,
Indian and Korean sources. Recipes have their variations noted, and the
author contributes her notes and some from a relevant "grandmother".
Typical dishes include chicken adobo, steamed meatballs with tangerine
peel, beef stir fry, black bean steamed fish, watercress and pork rib
soup, pork and shrimp cups, and mochiko fried chicken. There are also a
fair bit of cultural notes here detailing the impact of elder Asian
immigrants in American life. Most of these notes come from the ten
profiles of "grandmas". There's a resources list and a bibliography,
with some chosen websites. Preparations have their ingredients listed
in avoirdupois measurements, but there are conversion tables of metric
equivalents. A good entry level book for the newly inspired lover of
Asiatic food. Quality/price rating: 87.
INTERJECTIONS; literature, culture, and food among the early moderns
(University of Chicago Press, 2006, 2012, 375 pages, ISBN 978-0-26-
02127-0, $22.50 US soft covers) is by Robert Appelbaum, professor of
English literature at Uppsala University in Sweden. It was originally
published in 2006 (winning the Roland H. Bainton Prize in 2007), and
here receives a trade paperback reprint. It's an interesting idea: the
telling of how post-Renaissance Europeans put food into words and words
into food. Appelbaum looks at cookbooks, great literature, comic
novels, and colonial expansion, which brought in new foods to
wonderment and delight. The illustrations are well-chosen. There are
about a dozen preparations, for such tasty items as calves head,
chicken hunter style, hemp seed porridge, and capon broth for the ill.
This is a major contribution to European food cultural history. There
are extensive end notes and a long select bibliography. Quality/price
rating: 90.
22. AS ALWAYS, JULIA; the letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Mariner Books, 2012; distr. T. Allen) has
been edited by Joan Reardon. It is a reprint of the acclaimed 2010
hardback book; it was an IACP winner. The entire correspondence covers
1952 to 1989 (when Avis died), but Reardon only goes to 1961, the
period when Julia Child was developing the first volume of her
Mastering the Art of French Cooking. DeVoto was Child's friend and
unofficial literary agent. The initial decade covers the beginnings of
a gastronomic awakening in American culinary development, with Child
leading the way. The more than 200 letters provide the correspondents'
deepest thoughts and feelings about food, friendship, and the making of
the book. This paperback is out just in time for Child's 100th
anniversary of her birth. Scattered throughout are some black and white
photos. For those who like a topical approach, there is even a
worthwhile index. Quality/price rating: 94.

23. GRANDMA'S GERMAN COOKBOOK (DK Books, 2010, 2012, 195 pages, ISBN
978-0-7566-9432-6, $22 US hard covers) is by Birgit Hamm and Linn
Schmidt, food authors who live in Hamburg. It was originally published
by DK in German in 2010, with 85 classic preps as prepared by the
ladies' grandmothers (actually, there are six grandmothers involved).
It is a homey book, with a full range of soups, stews, dinners, sweets,
cakes, jams, and so forth. Fried potatoes, cabbage rolls, schnitzel,
spaetzle, roast duck, potato pancakes, marzipan, plum tart, Christmas
stollen -- mostly comfort food for a colder climate. There's a German
recipe index as well as a regular index. Cultural notes abound but
there is nothing on wines. Preparations have their ingredients listed
in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of
metric equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 88.

Publishing, 1896, 2011; distr. T. Allen, 567 pages, ISBN 978-1-61608-
543-8, $12.95 US hard covers) is an open-and-shut photographic reprint
of the 1896 edition, with nothing added or taken away. This includes
the index and the two dozen or so pages of adverts from that time
period. There are 1380 recipes here, from boiling an egg to preparing a
calf's head. Her book is widely known for standardizing measurements in
recipes (the Boston Cooking School first developed this). So these are
the classic recipes, with ingredients listed in avoirdupois
measurements. But of course, there is no table of metric equivalents. A
useful book for the culinary historian at a bargain price.
Quality/price rating: 86.
25. NORWEGIAN CAKES AND COOKIES (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012; distr. T.
Allen, 158 pages, ISBN 978-1-61608-56-8, $19.5 US hard covers) is by
Sverre Saetre, who owns a patisserie in Oslo. It was originally
published in Norwegian in 2009, and this is its North American debut in
English. These are traditional Norwegian desserts with some modern re-
inventions. Saetre has been a member of the Norwegian National Culinary
Team since 2003; they were world champs in 2006 and Olympians in 2008.
There's a wide range here, more than enough to satisfy every taste: the
fyrstekake (butter pastry and marzipan), kokosholler (chocolate
truffles, tilslorte bondepiker (fruit compote). There's a primer
chapter on the basics, with tips and advice. As well, most ingredients
are scaled by metric and avoirdupois measurements. Here's about 60
recipes plus variations, but no index. The table of contents has been
expanded to include the names of the preps. The major arrangement is by
category: fruit, berries, dairy, nuts and spices, and chocolate.
Quality/price rating: 86.
26. KNIFE SKILLS: how to carve/chop/slice/fillet (DK Books, 2008, 2012,
224 pages, ISBN 978-0-7566-9831-7, $11.95 US paper covers) is by Marcus
Wareing, Shaun Hill, Charlie Trotter and Lyn Hall – all are chefs
except Hall who is a food writer. Here are clear, step-by-step
photographs as only DK books can do. There is material on how to choose
knives, how to sharpen, and how to master techniques. This is the
paperback reprint to the 2008 hardback – with more than 400 photos and
a section on safety and First Aid. Great price. Quality/price rating:

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