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Sunday, April 13, 2014


...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. Some magazines will reissue popular or classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-editions"...
21.A LA MERE DE FAMILLE (Chronicle Books, 2014, 280 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1828-4, $35 US, hard covers) comes from the Parisian confectioner of the same name (founded in 1761). It was first published in France in 2011 by Hachette; this is its North American debut in English, with a text by Julien Merceron and photography by Jean Cazals. There are 9 locations of the store in Paris, but of course, only one of them was the first. So of course, this is also the history of the company. There is a lot of material on the French style or manner of doing confections, followed by a judicious selection of recipes for chocolates, cakes and pastries, candymaking, jams, cookies, tuiles and meringues, syrups, candied fruits, and frozen treats. About 100 in all. The photography is drop dead gorgeous; my fave is the candied pineapple on p179. "As with all candied fruits, the process for candying stretches out over a week (p178)." But the techniques and steps are simple and do not take much time in themselves. These are recipes for the patient: praline paste, lady fingers, orange-chocolate cake, montelimar nougat, crunchy almond spread, pistachio ice pops. Well worth it if you have the available time for the project; many preps require a maturation period which is down time for the chef. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. No index, but there is a table of recipes and a handy bookmarker ribbon. Quality/price rating: 88.
22.THE FLEXITARIAN TABLE; inspired flexible meals for vegetarians, meat
lovers, and everyone in between (Houghton Mifflin, 2007, 2014, 342 pages,
ISBN 978-0-544-27390-0 $19.95 US soft covers) is by Peter Berley, a well-
known former chef and now cookbook author and magazine food writer.
This is his third such book – his last one got both a Beard and an
IACP. Yet he still needs logrolling from Rachel Ray and Mollie Katzen. This is the soft cover reprint of the 2007 book, with nothing changed. The book has been authored "with Zoe Singer" who is not identified, but is presumably a focusing
writer. A "flexitarian" is an outer limit vegetarian operating on the
fringes: a flexible vegetarian. It is also an excellent weasel word
used to describe those eaters who consume more non-meat than meat. He
has 150 recipes, sorted by 40 seasonally arranged menus (10 per
season). All recipes can be mixed and matched, but of course should
remain within the season if the principle of eating seasonally is to be
followed. Thus, he has convertible meals that can be prepared with a
vegetable and/or meat protein; some hearty vegetarian meals for the
meat lover; and meals with fish, poultry, and some red meats, with
ample veggie sides that could become mains when your back is turned. He
has additional ideas for adding flesh and for getting dinners quickly.
His main foods for heartiness include only organic or wild meats, beans
and tofu, dairy and eggs, plus nuts and seeds. US volume measurements
are used, but there are no metric tables of equivalents. One menu has lentil and
rhubarb curry with potatoes and peas, a cucumber lime raita, naan
bread, and roasted spring carrots with cumin and lime. Another has
roast duck with spiced red onion marmalade, goat cheese frittata, rice
with herbs, and sautéed asparagus and fiddlehead ferns. Quality/Price Rating: 86.
23.THE HEALTHY SLOW COOKER. 2d ed. (Robert Rose, 2014, 352 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0479-6, $27.95 CAN soft covers) is by Judith Finlayson, who has sold over a million cookbooks. The first edition was in 2006 when healthy food meant low fat, low calorie, no saturated fat. Since then, thought has shifted on saturated fats and on wheat. So it is back to the drawing board with new versions of older dishes. Since 2006, Finlayson has authored a slew of slow cooker books on comfort foods, veggies, gluten-free whole grains, and paleo dishes. Some of the recipes in this book had appeared in those earlier books. Indeed, the subtitle now reads "135 gluten-free recipes for health and wellness" – inasmuch as slow cookers can retain certain nutrients. Try her creamy morning millet with apples, leek and potato soup, Thai-style coconut fish curry, butternut chili, New Age succotash, or poached pears in chocolate sauce. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. She also has a reading list and a table of diabetes food values.
Quality/price rating: 87.
24.THE NEW VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR EVERYONE (Ten Speed Press, 1997, 2014, 666 pages,
ISBN 978-1-60774-553-2 $40 US hard covers) is by Deborah Madison. It was
originally published in 1997, and it had won both a Beard and a Child
book award. It came back as a "tenth anniversary edition", but nothing was changed in that edition. Today, the food world has changed in the past 17 years, and Madison acknowledges this in a brisk introduction. "you will find nearly all of the recipes you have come to love. But you will also find over 200 new ones and information on new ingredients that we have come to know." If you have the original book, then there is no real need to buy this one, except as a gift or replacement copy. Our own copy for 1997 is still serviceable, but I will retain this one for the new recipes. In 1997, she had 9 quinoa recipes, which was probably – at that time – 9 more than any other book.
Quality/Price rating: 94 for first time purchase.
25.NEW FLAVOURS FOR THE LEBANESE TABLE (Ebury Press, 2007, 308 pages, ISBN 978-0-091917241, $22.99 CAN soft covers) is by Nada Saleh, a cookery writer from Beirut and lately a cook at Books for Cooks in Notting Hill. It is a straight reprint in paperback of the 2007 edition. 200 recipes are compiled, most of them classics with contemporary leanings. Everything here is highly aromatic, but may I recommend the makdouss? (cooked baby eggplants stuffed with walnuts and chili – can be frozen). Large typeface too. Preparations have their ingredients listed in mostly metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.


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