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Sunday, May 10, 2020


  ...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"...
8.ENTERTAINING WITH MARY BERRY (DK, 2010, 2014, 2020, 352 pages, ISBN 978-0-4654-8935-7, $27 USD hard covers) is by Mary Berry, a UK cookbook author with more than 80 books to her credit. Lucy Young is the co-author; she's been Berry's assistant for more than 25 years and has helped to develop the recipes for all of Berry's books. It was originally published in 2010 as "Cook Up a Feast", but in this second revised edition, it is "Entertaining with Mary Berry". The price has even come down a bit, and there are 16 more pages. This is a cookbook for entertaining the larger crowd, usually to serve six or to serve 12. It tries to answer stressful questions such as "what can I make for so many people?", or "How can I keep the food hot?" and "Will there be enough?" They begin with the primer material, followed by specific topics such as hors d'oeuvre, special mains, potluck parties, Italian feasts, buffets, backyards, snacks, desserts. The setting is important, so you'll need to concentrate on lighting, flowers, music, themes, and the like. Still, it is hard to think about actually making party finger food when there are many, many frozen versions at the supermarket. Asparagus, goat cheese and prosciutto phyllo rolls do stand out, but just about everything else mentioned here in this section can be purchased. You might be better off spending your time slicing and chopping fresh foods and then rely on the purchased goods. Party foods are just too exhausting (been there, done that myself). Everything else is a different story, but it
still takes a lot of work. Preps are listed as service for six or for 12, with separate columns of ingredients for six or 12, a good idea. Most everything can be made in advance by several hours, with a minimum amount of finishing. The older editions used to have 24 menus with timelines for the themes. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Do try Puy lentil and pearl barley soup; fennel and smoked salmon tartlets; hot baked trout with tomato and basil salsa; smokey sausage cassoulet; eggplant baked with feta and
chickpeas; roasted veggie risotto; toffee pudding with warm toffee sauce; and/or summer berry tart. Quality/Price Rating: 87.
9.CRAFT PIZZA (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 2020, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-194-6, $19.95 USD hardcovers) is by Maxine Clark, prolific UK food writer and cooking coach/teacher. Here, she covers mainly "classic" pizza, Sicilian, sourdough, calzone and focaccia made at home. It's a revision of her earlier 2016 book which has the same title. So she's also got pizzette and small bites. It is pretty thorough, with a primer on equipment and flours. About 80+ recipes in all, but no doughs that are gluten-free. Try focaccia with crispy kale with whipped ricotta, roasted garlic and chipotle; rolled pesto and olive and garlic bread; rustic country pie; torta reggiano; and potato and mozzarella calzone. The book could have been improved if it had also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 86
10.DELICIOUSLY MESSY FOOD; 65 recipes for ribs, wings, burgers, hot dogs, and other lip-smacking foods ((Ryland Peters & Small, 2014, 2020, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-193-9, $19.95 USD hard covers) is by Carol Hilker, a food writer in San Francisco who has written several cookbooks for Ryland Peters & Small. It was originally published in 2014 but now has some additional material. Chicken wings are perfectly adaptable to a huge range of dips and sauces, marinades and glazes. So any BBQ book with a lot of these savoury methods is useful. The same for ribs and other finger foods that call for constant "wiping of the hands". This food is perfect for any in-house sports watching, and here YOU are in charge of the better sauces and the better meats. So there are honey-fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, pretzel buns, blueberry cotton candy pancakes, etc. The range also includes bowls and some recipes for homemade versions of take-out food. Remarkable is the fried oysters and grits prep. Desserts and beverages are also included (such as honey-vanilla root beer float).
The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 84.
11.FISH (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2015, 2020 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-198-4, $19.95 USD hard covers) is by Mat Follas, a UK chef/owner and winner of Masterchef (BBC) in 2009. It has now been revised for 2020 expectations. This set is organized by fish type: salmon & tuna, freshwater fish, small fish, round fish, flat fish, exotic fish, with crustaceans, squid and octopus occupying the last quarter of the book. There's material on sustainability, stocks and soups, and drinks to match the food. The 80 recipes come loaded with tips. Preparations have their ingredients listed in mainly avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no overall table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
12.VEGETABLES (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 2020, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-709-6, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Mat Follas, Masterchef UK winner in 2009. It was first published in 2016 as "Vegetable Perfection". As a basic book, it covers some of the more modern approaches to vegetarian cookery 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. Some of the preps are vegan. 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. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes (why use teaspoons?), or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 87
13.LEMONS AND LIMES (Ryland Peters & Small, 2017, 2020, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-200-4 $14.95 USD hardbound) is by well-known Ursula Ferrigno, who has written over 18 cookery books most emphasizing Mediterranean foods. This is the 2020 edition. She's been on UK TV quite a lot, does restaurant consultations, and runs classes at all Sur La Table stores. These 75 preps emphasize the freshness and vivacity of lemons and limes, with one excursion to pink grapefruit. The range is from small bites through soups/salads, meat/poultry, fish/seafood, veggies, and sweets plus drinks. Lemon mushroom arancini, pork dumplings in lime-leaf broth, spaghettini with calamari and lemons, and a smashing gin and tonic cake with lemon syrup. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes (tablespoons and teaspoons are in Imperial, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 87.

May we all have 2020 vision.

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