Search This Blog

Monday, January 2, 2017


...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"...
23.BETTY CROCKER FRESH FROM THE FREEZER (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 304 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-81624-4 $19.99 USD paperbound) is 150 recipes from the magazine's cooking labs. These are all freezer-friendly plates, ranging from frozen slow-cooker preps to easy casseroles and baked dishes. There are some Special Freezer Essential preps that have dishes such as turkey meatballs and ground beef, that can be used to make Freezer Short-Cut recipes. There is full nutritional info for each recipe. Just pop into freezer and then thaw and re-heat in most cases. It works best with meat/seafood dishes and baked goods. Hey, and the publisher has been reading my reviews for there is a metric conversion guide!! Quality/price rating: 86.
24.MARTHA STEWART'S VEGETABLES (Clarkson Potter, 2016, 328 pages, ISBN 978-0-307-95444-2, $29.50 USD hardbound) is from the editors of Martha Stewart Living. There are 150 recipes, mostly vegetarian, with an emphasis on colours: greens, reds, yellows, oranges.  They've been tested in the cooking labs, The book is arranged by the physical nature of the plant: bulbs (lily family), roots (beets, turnips, jicama), tubers (potatoes), greens (chard, kale, bok choy), stalks & stems (asparagus, fennel), pods (edamame, fava), shoots (microgreens), leaves (lettuces, cabbages), flowers & buds (artichokes, broccoli), fruits (avocados, tomatoes, eggplants), and kernels (corn). There are notes for seasonality, buying and storing, and prepping and cooking, followed by flavour pairings and some recipes – with plated dishes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
25.ANDREW JEFFORD'S WINE COURSE. Rev. and updated. (Ryland Peters & Small, 2008, 2016, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-778-2, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by the winner of eight Glenfiddich writing awards and six Roederer Awards. Jefford, a UK wine writer, has also collected many other awards, such as for best wine writer of the year in 2006 and 2007. This is another basic primer, structured much like a class. Contents are threefold: first up are "The Tools" of how to taste, drink and learn, wineglasses, decanters, and so forth. There are three projects that you must do here. After that, you move on to the next level, "The Elements", with its five projects revolving around grapevines and styles. It is here that we learn Zinfandel is a third-level grape, like Vermentino. The last – "The Journey" – is the pilgrimage, with its 12 projects on countries and regions. So that's 20 projects in all, enough for a month. There is just one page on Canada, and that is mostly Ontario and mostly icewine. Sidebars are used extensively, but no question-answer formats. It is all from a UK perspective: Jefford does not go overboard about USA wines, so that keeps everything in balance. There is a glossary and an index, but although reading about wines is encouraged, there are no lists of recommended books or even suggested readings or websites. Quality/Price Rating: 85.
26.BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS SKILLET MEALS (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 304 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-80087-8, $24.99 USD hardbound) is from their test kitchen, and displays more than 150 recipes for almost everything: pizza, steak, brownies, pies. There are special icons for preps that can be made in 30 minutes or less, icons for healthsmart reduced calories and/or fats, and icons for dishes that are prefect for cast-iron skillets. Cast-iron is to be preferred with its heavier bottom, lower purchase price, seasoning ability, and imparting tiny bits of iron into the food. If you are on an iron-restricted diet, then you'll need a stainless steel-lined or a tri-ply. The range is from apps to desserts (but with only two for fish: salmon). A really goof basic book, full of principles and tips. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
27.FLAVORS OF MOROCCO; tagines and other delicious recipes from North Africa (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2008, 2012, 2016, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-784-3, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Ghillie Basan, cookery writer specializing in Middle East cookbooks and food articles. This cookbook is revised from two earlier tagine books published in 2008 and 2012. There is a primer on tagines. Lamb tagine is traditional, but she also has preps for beef, kefta, sausage, chicken, duck, vegetable, fish and seafood tagines. That's half the book. There are also a range of couscous, skewers, roasts, pan fries, sides, salads, soups, sweets, and drinks. So it is a full Moroccan cookbook. And you can always use a heavy-based casserole dish instead of a tagine. Some interesting recipes include kefta tagine with lemon and coriander; Berber lentils and coriander; tagine of lamb with veggies and mint; fluffy pistachio nougat. Preparations have their ingredients listed in partial metric and full avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/Price Rating: 89.
28.A COOK'S TOUR OF FRANCE (Hardie Grant Books, 2013, 2015, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-74379018-2, $29.99 USD hardbound) is by Gabriel Gate, French author of 22 cookbooks. This latest comes from his TV series "Taste Le Tour with Gabriel Gate", which extended over 9 seasons. He's been to France for two months every spring to shoot the series, and most of the preps are contributed from the French chefs, pastry cooks and charcutiers (eight are especially named). It is a bit of a travel book too, but the arrangement is not by region but by courses, from apps through veggies, fish, poultry, meats, and sweets. Material comes from all the main regions including Pyrenees, Burgundy, Loire, Nice, Normandy – all from the previous 4 years of the TV series: Lyonnaise cheese dip with herbs, baked haricot beans with bacon, beef cheek stew, duck with turnips, crunchy almond biscuits. Each prep is sourced with some detailed notes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both avoirdupois and metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
29.BROWNIES, BLONDIES AND OTHER TRAYBAKES (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-765-2 $19.95 USD hardbound) is a publisher's compilation from RP & S cookbook authors. This time the theme is 65 traybakes, mostly brownies and blondies, with credits going mostly to Annie Rigg, Linda Collister, Sarah Randall, and Victoria Glass. 14 other authors were involved; they were all co-ordinated by Alice Sambrook. The preps are quick and easy, such as apricot flax seed bars, lavender shortbreads, chocolate marshmallow brownies, and spiced pear cake. Preparations have their ingredients listed mostly in avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 85.
30.101 ONE DISH DINNERS (Storey Publishing, 2005, 2016, 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-61212-841-2, $16.95 USD paperbound) is by Andrea Chesman, prolific author of cookbooks. She teaches classes and demos at fairs and festivals across the USA.  This book was originally published in 2005 as "Mom's Best One-Dish Suppers". Here are 101 preps for filling just one utensil (skillet, Dutch oven, soup pot or salad bowl) with a complete meal. Mac 'n' cheese comes to mind, as well as a Thai noodle salad. International flavours are stressed. Typical are sausage and kale with garlic roasted potatoes, seafood paella, corned beef and cabbage. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
31.BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS MAKE IT DON'T BUY IT (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 480 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-80086-1, $29.99 USD loose leaf three ring binder) is from their test kitchen. The emphasis is on making foods yourself, and not buying processed products. Their stress: real food, real ingredients. As the editors say, this is really serious stuff – made-from-scratch basics include Greek-style yogurt, crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, salad dressings, seasoning mixes, ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc. It is better for you and cheaper! 300 recipes also cover cured salmon, pasta, preserving (jams, jellies, veggies) – even fermenting sriracha sauce, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Contemporary items include nut butters, cold brew, and coffee creamers. Nutrition information comes with every recipes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.

No comments: