...is one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic best sellers, since the book can be flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans of the chef and/or the restaurant and/or the media personality. Many of the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But because most of these books are American, they use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to point this out. The usual shtick is "favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem to work at home, but how could that be? The books all claim to be kitchen tested for the home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef bounding about. The celebrity books, with well-known chefs or entertainers, seem to have too much self-involvement and ego. And, of course, there are a lot of food photo shots, verging on gastroporn. There are endorsements from other celebrities in magnificent cases of logrolling. If resources are cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –
Let's begin with some vegetarian-type books –
11.DELICIOUSLY ELLA EVERY DAY (Scribner, 2016, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-5011-4265-9, $30 CAN hardbound) is by Ella Woodward, a blogger with six million hits a month at www.deliciouslyella.com. She's also got a deli and a mobile app. She suffers from postural tachycardia syndrome, which makes it very hard to stand up straight. By switching to a plant-based diet (after mush experimentation), she has resolved or "healed" her issues. Here she gives us more than 100 "quick and easy recipes for gluten-free snacks, packed lunches and simple meals" (subtitle). Topics include breakfast, on-the-go, salads, weekday dinners, big-batch cooking, and sweets. There are the energy pickups, the ready-made home breakfasts, and the major meals. While she does use plant-based milks, she also does use honey in 11 dishes. So the book is not entirely vegan. There's a fresh mint and cashew bowl, tahini buckwheat, and an herbed lentil bowl. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
12.EATERNITY (Hay House, 2016, 381 pages, ISBN 978-1-4019-4788-0, $24.99 USD softbound) is by Jason Wrobel, currently host of the How to Live to 100 show on the Cooking Channel. He creates plant-based recipes; he's been a vegan for 20 years. His website and YouTube channel feature hundreds of vegan recipe videos. So now the book – more than 150 easy vegan recipes. There are also a dozen or so log rollers. Wrobel concentrates on easy vegan versions of such foods as "gooey nachos", burgers, and chocolate chip pancakes – to go with the wheat-grass shots, seaweed salads, and buckwheat granola. Along the way Wrobel gives us Nutrition 101 as he explains some of the science and research behind food choices. Check out his Caesar salad knockoff, the newer version of fudge brownies, the risottos and tortilla soups. He's even got a salted caramel waffle. Good food. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
13.DRIED & TRUE (Chronicle Books, 2016, 168 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-3849-7, $19.95 USD softbound) is by Sara Dickerman, once a restaurant cook and now a food writer with a Beard Award. It is a basic book on using a dehydrator for drying food, with 85 recipes. Dehydrators do the work for you, and the foods are then additive-free. You can also re-hydrate nicely. It is a colourful book, detailing such as sesame kale crisps, jerky with gin botanicals, spiced dulce de leche granola, and red plum-basil leather. Great translucent photography. There are charts to indicate drying times for all manner of food. Preparations have their ingredients listed mainly in avoirdupois measurements with corresponding metric, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
14.RAW. VEGAN. NOT GROSS (Flatiron Books, 2016, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-06690-9, $25.99 USD hardbound) is by Laura Miller, creator of the YouTube show of the same name as the book. Her preps are touted as "all vegan and mostly raw recipes", although she does admit to liking (and using) raw honey as a sweetener. So you'll have to use something else (she has alternatives listed) is you want to remain a true vegan. That aside, the book is useful for its raw food. It comes with some log rolling, especially by someone named Jamie Oliver, but with no work attribution after his (or her) name. So I assume...Try watermelon avocado salad, cheesy popcorn (using nutritional yeast), cocoa buckwheat crispies, and mango-coconut jicama tacos. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. At the end there is a collection of wearable food art, which she calls "froobs", and with the obligatory Carmen Miranda wig. Quality/price rating: 86.
15.V IS FOR VEGAN (Quadrille, 2015, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-84949-678-0, $29.95 USD hardbound) is by Kerstin Rodgers, who founded the UK supper club, The Underground Restaurant. She's also widely available on British TV. This is her third book. It is a colourful book with lots of pinks, mauves, greens, blues, purples, and so forth, set in a typeface resembling a typewriter such as Courier. Vegan food for her is definitely not brown and bland. She's got 150 preps and easy ideas for homemade parmesan and pesto, soups and salads, spice mixes, and desserts that are, of course, free of eggs, dairy or honey. If you are already vegan and looking for new dishes, then this book should do you. Try green beans with oink soba noodles, green papaya & zucchini fettuccine with cellophane noodles, quesadillas with black beans and tofu, or a chia seed-rose-raspberry falooda. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
16.THE VEGETABLE BUTCHER (Workman Publishing, 2016, 346 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-8052-4, $29.99 USD hardbound) is by Cara Mangini, one of the first "vegetable butchers" at Eataly in NYC, and now executive chef of Little Eater in Columbus, Ohio. As a butcher, she slices, dices, peels, chops, and juliennes her way through a variety of veggies, much like a meat butcher, with specialized knife skills. These are the classic ways to break down an artichoke, peel a tomato, chiffonade kale, slice kohlrabi into carpaccio, break down a celery root, cut cauliflower into steaks, and deal with jicama. There are 150 preps here, 250 technical skill photos, and various guides. Indeed, this is a great spin on vegetarian cookbooks by virtue of being the ONLY one of its kind dealing with knife selection, care, and notes for butchering 50 different kinds of veggies, including cardoons, puntarelle, salsify and scorzonera. There is also a primer on washing, cooking and storing veggies, along with regular cooking methods of steaming, boiling, caramelizing, etc. And, of course, the pantry. Recipes have also been listed by season, but with no page references. You'll have to use the index for that. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is are tables of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
17.VEGETABLE PERFECTION (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-709-6, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Mat Follas, Masterchef UK winner in 2009. It is a basic book, but covering some of the more modern approaches to vegetarian cookery as found in restaurants: using the newest cooking techniques and interesting ingredients to boost texture, add flavour, and thus make the veggie stand out on its own by being its own centrepiece. He's got 100 preps for roots, bulbs, shoots and stems. The book is arranged this way, with other chapters for juices, brassicas, belladonnas, pulses, and fungi. There's an interesting pantry (here, a store cupboard) and some substitutions. There are resource pages for both the UK and the US. You could check out artichoke frittata, goat's cheese with dandelion sauce, Bloody Mary soup, or runner beans with eggplant pasta. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both avoirdupois and some measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
18.MADE WITH LOVE (Appetite by Random House, 2016, ISBN 978-0-14-752983-1, $29.95 CAD papercovers is by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, mother and daughter co-owners of Kelly's Bake Shoppe and Lettuce Love Cafe in Burlington Ontario. Both places serve up sweet and savoury plant-based goods; there are more than 100 preps here in this book. The bake shop is free of gluten, dairy, egg, and peanut. It begins with the primer, and continues with savoury drinks and smoothies, breakfast, lunch, dinner, soups and salads. It finishes with desserts of pies, bars, cupcakes, donuts, cookies, muffins, etc.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. It's a great book for patrons of their two food places. Quality/price rating: 87.
19.BROTH & STOCK from the Nourished Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2016, 184 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-931-8, $18 USD softbound)is by Jennifer McGruther, a food educator who founded www.nourishedkitchen.com, and award-winning and very popular traditional foods website. She's also a fan of fermentation and food activism. The book deals with trendy "bone broth" theme, with good log rolling endorsements from such writers as Deborah Madison. McGruther, who had earlier written the big-selling The Nourished Kitchen cookbook, elaborates here on soups by presenting 15 master recipes for bone, veggie and seafood broths. Plus the courses to make with them (mainly soups, but also stews, risottos, sauces – all with an international theme of Europe, American south, Latin America and Asia (pho). I love the kitchen scrap broth, which uses chicken bones and veggie scrapings. There is also a resource list. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
20.MEATHEAD (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-01846-4, $35 USD hardbound) is by Meathead Goldwyn, who commands www.amazingribs.com. He has written scores of articles, taught at Cornell and Cordon Bleu, and judged in many competitions. It's a basic book with lots of log rollers (17!!) such as Bruce Aidells and Christopher Kimball. It's a thorough enough book, with plenty of advice (such as cold meat absorbs smoke better than warm, BBQ does not have to rest after cooking, and soaking wood chips can be a really bad thing) based on science. Indeed, the subtitle is "the science of great barbecue and grilling". And his wife is also a Ph.D. microbiologist and food safety expert. He covers heat, myths, smoke, general makeup of meats, equipment, and more – through the first 150 pages. Brines. rubs and sauces are over the next 50 pages. The come the recipes: pork, beef, lamb, ground meats, poultry, seafood, and sides. No desserts, no beverages. Just the real goods of BBQ and grilling with lots of action photos of techniques. Well-worth the small investment. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
21.BROOKLYN BARTENDER (Black Dog & Levanthal, 2016, 304 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-39025-5, $24.99 USD hardbound) is by Carey Jones, a food and drink writer specializing in cocktails and spirits. This is a modern guide to cocktails from what has been described as "the world's hippest borough": Brooklyn. 300 inventive drinks from a variety of establishments are served up to us in this book. Organized by spirit, each prep can be replicated at home, from ornate drinks (juleps, cobblers, anything requiring more than six ingredients) to party punches and just regular "cocktails". She's got some variations, a primer on bartending, infused spirits, and even maps to the 45 (at least) bars. Everything is sourced. There are pix of bars and bartenders plus a short narrative on each one. After the big six (gin, vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila, brandy) come amaro, beer, wine and bubblies. It is a fun book, absolutely essential for denizens of Brooklyn and visitors to the borough. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 89.
22.BEACH HOUSE BRUNCH (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016, 222 pages, ISBN 978-1-5107-0289-9, $24.99 USD hardbound) is by Lei Shishak, owner and chef of Sugar Blossom Bake Shop in California. In her second book (Beach House Baking was her first), she's got 100 or so preps for brunch dishes created for guests at a beach house. They include roasted beet Bloody Marys, morning glory muffins, blueberry zuke bread, perfectly poached eggs, bananas Foster pancakes, and other summer goodies. Nothing heavy...just beverages, pastries, breads, eggs, hashes, salads and casseroles for the summer. Most impressive is her grissini bread sticks to go with her kale salad. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are conversion tables of metric equivalents. Large print, good ideas. Quality/price rating: 87.
23.MEAT ON THE SIDE (St. Martin's Griffin, 2016, 270 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-06716-6, $27.99 USD hardbound) is by Nikki Dinki, top spotlight on the "Food Network Star" TV show (for her veggie preps) and "Junk Food Flip" on the Cooking Channel (for her comfort food classics). Here she treats meat as a garnish; she's one of the 22 million Americans who consider themselves "vegetable-inclined" with a reduced need for meat. No need anymore for "meat and 2 veg", for the book gives us all some healthy ways of preparing veggies to accompany a little bit of meat which goes a long way. The subtitle here is "delicious vegetable-focused recipes for every day", It's arranged traditionally, with breakfast/brunch followed by apps, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, pasta, light meals, and mains. One dessert: lemonade cheesecakes, for kids, as a reward. So here is the world of veggies at brekkies (kale egg cups, grilled patty-pan squash, pumpkin pancakes), dips, crostini), panini (burned carrot sandwich with cannellini bean spread), pizza, pasta, soup (celery and pear, cauliflower), and mains (lemongrass fried rice with yellow pepper and shrimp; sweet potato pie topped with pears, blue cheese and skirt steak). Given that meat is an accessory, the title still leads with the word "Meat"...is this a come on to get meat eaters to look at the book? Shouldn't the title reflect that meat is a garnish, so maybe call it "Garnished Meat"? Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
24.RIVER COTTAGE GLUTEN FREE (Bloomsbury, 2016, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-4088-5847-9, $42.95 CAD hardbound) is by Naomi Devlin, a homeopath diagnosed with celiac digestive problems.
Using gluten-free whole grains and sourdough cultures, she teaches people about the endless possibilities and flavours of gluten-free grains at the River Cottage Cookery School in the UK. Of course, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wrote the Foreword. Her first 50 pages are memoirish and like a primer on going gluten-free. This is followed by topics dealing with breakfast, bread, pastry, snacks, salads, soups, meals, desserts and "teatime". Some preps are freezable, others are dairy free. Buckwheat pasta is a real winner, even if you only make it as Japanese udon noodles. Margherita pizza retains its colourfulness while giving up none of the chewy texture of wheat (use psyllium husk). Christmas pudding is not really a challenge at all since the wheat version uses so little flour anyway: substitute buckwheat or teff. She's also got GF versions of Yorkshire pudding, Scotch eggs, flatbreads, lasagne, and fish pie. The 120 or so preps
have their ingredients listed in mainly metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
25.LICK YOUR PLATE (Appetite by Random House, 2016, 296 pages, ISBN 978-0-14-752988-6, $27 CAD paperbound) is by sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat. Both had earlier collaborated on two other cookbooks: Bite Me and Bite Me Too. This is more of the same sauciness, with a wide range of log rollers such as Jon Bon Jovi, Heather Reisman (CEO Indigo), Chris Hadfield, and Michael Smith. Here are 160 recipes for fast, fresh, family foods. Nothing wrong with that, except the book weighs "a ton". There are ten chapters, from apps to sweets. Each can be coded with a symbol for quick meal under 30 minutes, "brain food", side plate, substitutions, short cut tricks, use as leftovers. Variety includes pesto chicken, Asian veggie stir fry, shrimp ramen noodle soup, Italian chopped salad with parmesan dressing, Baja fish taco salad with chipotle dressing, and slow cooker beef chili. An interesting hodge-podge of comfort food, mostly quick and easy. They spent a lot of money on the photography, but even so: the index has teeny tiny typeface, hard to read. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
26.CRAVINGS (Clarkson Potter, 2016, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-101-90391-9, $29.99 USD hardbound) is by Chrissy Teigen, Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model and TV/Internet personality. The focusing food writer here is Adeena Sussman. The subtitle says it all: these are recipes for all the food you want to eat. Teigen is married to singer-songwriter John Legend, who seems to have his pix with or without Chrissy in the book. Ok, welcome to the cooking of the rich and famous. Here are more than 100 recipes with stories, to suit every family or entertaining occasion (these are big meals). It's arranged by course, with breakfast, soups, salads (as she says, "for when you need them"), noodles, Thai food (she has a Thai mother), party, veggies, ending with suppers. There is something for everyone here, all of it great tasting and well-photographed. With well-focused writing. Food is fun, and that includes tuna casserole with a cheesy jalapeno and potato chip topping, Hawaiian pizza poppers, pineapple-grilled short ribs, and split pea soup with crispy hot dogs. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.
27.EAT YOUR HEART OUT (Countryman Press, 2016, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-58157329-9, $25.95USD hardbound) is by Dean Sheremet, who has cooked at Nobu Fifty Seven and Jean-Georges in NYC. Not only is he a guest chef on talk shows, but he was married once to LeAnn Rimes. He specializes in recipes for those who don't like to cook but love to eat. His subtitle is "the look good, feel good, silver lining cookbook". Ok, I can deal with that: he has stories on love, loss and how the kitchen saved him. He takes us through the pantry, the comfort food, the feel-better drinks and elixirs, the single-serving breakfasts, the fit food for lunches on the go, and the one-pot wonders for supper. Hey, it's a food book for grieving! He ends on a high note: how to throw a party (brunches, cocktails, going out, and desserts). Duck fried rice, lamb kofta, creamy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, cherry-almond protein smoothie – the book has "guy" written all over it. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
28.GOOD AND SIMPLE (Clarkson Potter, 2016, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-101-90550-0, $35USD hardbound) is by sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, food purveyors to the rich and famous in the UK since 2010. It was originally published by Ebury Press. They stress eating natural, unprocessed foods through "ancient eating principles" and the latest research in diet and nutrition. The easiest way to do that is to eliminate gluten and refined sugars. To which I would add "ALL sugars and salts where possible". And there you have it: the Dean Tudor Diet. They've got 15 principles for eating well (mostly for mind setting) as part of their philosophy, relying on the three bases of delicious, nutritious and sustainable. Do that, and you are eligible for a home run! Traditionally arranged (brekkies, soups, stews, sides, salads, flesh, veggies, desserts, drinks) with some emphasis on pantries, planning and equipment. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Try tahini applejacks, spicy coconut kale crisps, or garlicky chili chard – nifty upscale items. Quality/price rating: 88.
29.THE COMPLETE ART & SCIENCE OF SAUSAGE MAKING (Robert Rose, 2016, 272 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0535-9, $27.95 CAN paperbound) is by the team of Tonia Reinhard, an RD and nutrition prof at Wayne State University, Brendan Reinhard, head of sausages at Country Smoke House in Michigan, and Brent Mitchell, head chef at Country Smoke House. Here are 150 healthy homemade recipes for all manner of sausages. They are easy to make, you just need to decide on casings or not. Usually you can just make patties with raw sausages and keep the casings for the cooked or fermented sausages. Most people I know just do the raw meats versions. There are lots of varieties and flavours out there, but you do need to keep track of preservatives and similar matters for the non-cooked dry, semi-dry and spreadable meats. It is a good basic guide that should keep everybody happy. There are about 35 "classics" that everybody enjoys, plus an assortment of others arranged by type of meat or veggie. The first part of the book is sausage-making essentials; the last part of the book is meal planning. I enjoyed polenta sausages. The layout is standard Robert Rose, with ingredients listed in both avoirdupois and metric, lots of tips and lots of health notes and variations. Quality/price rating: 89.
30.BROOKLYN RUSTIC (Little, Brown and Company, 2016, 305 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-38040-9, $30 USD hardbound) is by Bryan Calvert, owner of James restaurant (2008). He also runs Cecil & Merl, artisanal home and kitchen goods. His 125 recipes are drawn from James restaurant, and they are accompanied by 20 of his food writings. He calls it all "simple food for sophisticated palates". Quick-pickled cumin carrots, baby blue Hubbard squash soup, three legume crostini, corn soup, baby beet salad, sauteed shrimp – these are just some of his preps, stylishly photographed. There is a source list and a large type index. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
31.BACK TO THE KITCHEN (Rodale, 2016, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-62336-692-6, $27.50 USD hardbound) is by Freddie Prinze Jr., movie and TV star, husband of Sarah Michelle Gellar who also contributed the foreword. Rachel Wharton is the focusing food writer; she's an editor with Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, with a Master's in Food Studies at NYU. There are 75 recipes with memoir material about the food. It is arranged by food, beginning with breakfasts, moving on to meat, poultry, seafood, one-pots of soups and stews, and a short chapter on veggies. Try honey-cayenne grilled chops, Cornish hens with apple and sage, or New Mexican green chile chicken enchiladas. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. A good book for his fans. Quality/price rating: 85.
32.EVERYTHING SWEET MERINGUE GIRLS (Square Peg, 2015; Random House Canada, 240 pages, ISBN 978-0-22-410105 -9, $37.77 CAD hardbound) is by Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman. These are the fave preps from the Meringue Girls Bakery in London. They comprise edible gifts, cakes, parties, candy confections, and laughter. A fan book of ideas, tips and recipes, now available in Canada through RHC. Seven girls are involved although only two are cited as authors. Try Fairy floss cake, Jaffa cakes, Lavender and lemon honeycomb, or Banana pops. Everything is straightforward, well-edited and photographed, and laid out before you. There is even a ribbon bookmark. Preparations have their ingredients listed in metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
33.MODERN ECLAIRS (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 288 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-55719-2, $20 USD hardbound) is by Jenny McCoy, a former pastry chef at Marc Forgione, Charlie Trotter's, and Emeril's. She's also an expert judge on Food Network's "Rewrapped". Here she has 100 "cute, fun and easy recipes". They are all eclairs and variations, using choux pastry. Expect the chapters dealing with classic, fruity, chocolate and frozen pastries, plus some preps for the holidays (also good for entertaining), and some savoury such as croque monsieur eclairs, deviled egg-clairs, and, of course, Gruyere gougeres. Some general sandwiches too. Good detail. And as a baker, everything is scaled in both metric and avoirdupois. Quality/price rating: 87.
34.ICE CREAM ADVENTURES (Rodale, 2016, 214 pages, ISBN 978-1-62336-672-8, $24.99 USD hardbound) is by Stef Ferrari, founder of Hay Rosie Craft Ice Cream Company. It is a svelte book of ingenious ice cream concoctions from her company, such as a honey mustard swirl, or tomato caramel sauce, ginger hibiscus syrup, bananas ferrari ice cream, and finocchio e la capra ice cream. There is a little more than 100 of these, scattered in chapters that deal with soft ice cream, cones, shakes, and sundaes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
35.A LA MODE (St. Martin's Griffin, 2016, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-07213-9, $24.99 USD paperbound) is by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. They have appeared on QVC, have their own podcast on iTunes, and have authored many dessert cookbooks while doing food articles. The book deals with 60 pairings of baked desserts and ice cream, to the fashion – a total of 120 recipes. Basics such as chocolate pecan pie with white chocolate pavlova are here, and the game rises with apple cranberry pie paired with Camembert ice cream or espresso cream jelly roll with mascarpone ice cream. Even if you don't use the book for the pairings, or want to do other pairings, it is a nice collection of 60 baked desserts and 60 different variegated ice creams. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
36.SIMPLY GLUTEN FREE 5 INGREDIENT COOKBOOK (Media Lab Books, 2016, 251 pages, ISBN 978-1-942556-04-6, $17.99 USD paperbound) is by Carol Kicinski, a TV chef and cookbook author with a blog www.simplygluten-free.com. There are 175 easy preps here, featuring 15-minute recipes and a huge variety of tips and practices. It is pretty basic, with preps involving gluten-free flours and ensuring no gluten at all in many of the mains. Everything is fast and fresh, using a lot of veggies and quick cook meats such as chicken, and cheeses as well. As with most American cookbooks, preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. The typeface used for the ingredients, while sans serif (good) is tiny in size (bad). Quality/price rating: 85.
37.PLATED (Clarkson Potter, 2016, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-101-90393-3, $24.99 USD hardbound) is by Elan Karp and Suzanne Dumaine, former teachers, chefs and food writers who joined Plated (in its early days), a cook-at-home dinner service whose mission is to help people eat better at home. Hundreds of thousands of meals are shipped each week across the USA. More details are at www.plated.com Together, the authors have written over 1500 recipes for Plated. So these preps here are drawn from that database. It's arranged by basic flavours and primer on cooking, followed by weeknight dinners, left overs, make-aheads, weekend feasts, crowds and entertaining. The book concludes with a few desserts. It is an all-purpose book with a good selection of make ahead meals such as beer-braised pulled chicken with guacamole, or braised harissa lamb shanks with couscous and herb salad, and a tasty white lasagna with butternut squash, kale and mushrooms.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
38.NUM PANG (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 240 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-53431-5, $25 USD hardbound) is by Ratha Chaupoly and Ben Saitz, with food writer Raquel Pelzel. Chaupoly and Daitz founded Num Pang Sandwich Shop in 2009 near Union Square; there are now eight shops in NYC. Their creative Asian sandwiches have drawn acclaims, and so too from the log rollers Mario Batali and Michael Chernow. These are innovative Cambodian sandwiches that go beyond banh mi, emphasizing fresh, spicy, tangy and herby. It is basically a toasty baguette with pickled carrots, cucumber slices, fresh cilantro, chili mayo, and protein (five-spice pork belly, ginger-braised brisket, glazed peppercorn catfish). Their book is a part-memoir and part-cookbook, with chapters for poultry, pig, beef and lamb, fish and shellfish, veggies. There are also preps for hot bowls and cold bowls of food, plus beverages. So you will find cotechino sausage and pickled balsamic onion; khmer patties; vinegary scallions with braised short ribs and cauliflower puree; Cambodian mussels with tomatillos, okra and garlic toast; and grilled mahi-mahi with sauteed leeks. For yummy, try the maple-Guinness-glazed peach and bacon Num Pang.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90.
39.THE ESSENTIAL HOME-GROUND FLOUR BOOK (Robert Rose, 2016, 288 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0534-2, $27.95 CAN paperbound) is by Sue Becker, owner of The Bread Beckers and The Real Bread Company. She's a nutrition counselor in Georgia USA who has been teaching whole-grain flours for 25 years. Real whole grains are both nutritious and delicious, and can be incorporated into any lifestyle and culture. Those grains with gluten (wheat, barley, rye) unfortunately cannot be assimilated by some people, but there are plenty of other grains and grasses to go around: rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, teff, sorghum, legumes. She covers them all in her determination to get you to bake and eat freshly home-ground flours; there is nutrition, lower cost, and better taste. The first half of the book details equipment for home-milling and the basics of baking. The second half has 100 recipes for yeast breads, quick breads, loaf breads, biscuits, cornbread, cookies, bars and cakes. As always there is the terrific Robert Rose layout of notes, ingredients, metric and avoirdupois measurements, and tips. Quality/price rating: 89.
40.SUPERFOOD SUPERFAST (Quadrille, 2016, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-84949-786-2, $24.95 US hardcovers) is by Julie Montagu, a TV personality (Ladies of London) who runs The Flexie Foodie Academy. This is her sequel to Superfood: 100 energizing recipes to make in 20 minutes or less. With a proper pantry, it is all doable. It is arranged by course, and includes breakfast. Covered then are the "esses": snacks, soups, salads, suppers, sweets, and the mains (here, "square meals"). It takes planning, but do get the family involved in this planning. She's got a beginner set of two weeks, Monday through Friday, with recipe names and page references. But overall, she's "picked my favourite fastest recipes for those weeks that you are insanely busy". No need to carelessly choose foods. It does help to have an available pantry for all those little extra things such as herbs and spices. Chocolate and coconut granola is a winner, as is butternut squash and sweet potato salad. It is vegetarian but with a little effort, it can be mostly vegan.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements with some metric but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
41.BYRON; the diner cookbook (Quadrille, 2016, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-84949-844-9, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Tom Byng and Fred Smith, who own and operate Byron burger restaurants (since 2007). These are preps from those diners. In their world travels they ate hundreds of burgers, and many of those are incorporated here. There is a lot of detail on classic hamburgers before moving on to cheese and the Byron burger (beef, melted cheddar, dry-cured bacon, sauces). Others include chilli queen, Le Smokey (my fave), Miami slice – and more. It is an all-in-one book with preps dealing with sides, buns, pickles, drinks, desserts – the diner experience. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.