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Thursday, February 25, 2021


...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"...
7.VEGETARIAN TAGINES AND COUSCOUS; 65 delicious recipes for authentic Moroccan food (Ryland Peters and Small, 2012, 2020, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-240-0 $19.95 hardbound) is by Ghillie Basan, cookery writer specializing in Middle East cookbooks and articles. It's a timely book, originally published in 2012 with meat as "East Tagines" one of the "Easy" series from this publisher and it fits in the "one-pot" mode of ease, although there are other recipes here for traditional or classic accompaniments. Of course, there's a primer on tagines. There are also a range of couscous and skewers,
salads and soups, plus appetizers. You can always use a heavy-based casserole dish instead of a tagine. She's got an onion, olive and egg tagine with zahtar, tagine of butter beans, cherry tomatoes and black olives, plus couscous with braised fennel, zucchini, and orange. Preparations have their ingredients listed in partial metric and full avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/Price Rating: 89.
8.LA PAELLA; recipes for delicious Spanish rice and noodle dishes (Ryland Peters and Small, 2015, 2020, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-236-3 $19.95 hardbound) is by Louise Pickford, well-known UK food writer with stints in Australia and now living in France.
Some of the recipes had appeared in an earlier book of only 64 pages. Rice is a versatile ingredient, and Spanish cooks transform it into an array of dishes from simple comfort food to grand feasts to be shared on special occasions. This book brings together delicious rice dishes from all over Spain, from regional classics that are now known around the world to unusual local specialties. There is something for every taste and every occasion, with recipes containing meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, as well as vegetarian options. There is the classic Paella Valenciana from that region. Paella de marisco y chorizo (Seafood paella with chorizo), and how to make the most of garlic and saffron in the preps. As well as traditional regional paellas, there are also other styles of rice dishes, such as Arroz caldoso con langosta (Creamy rice with lobster), Arroz caldoso con almejas (Clam soup) or Arroz al horno con garbanzos y pasas (Baked rice with chickpeas and raisins). She has comments on the Spanish pantry, fried dishes, sweets, and suppliers (but only for the US and the UK). The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88
9.BISTRO; classic French dishes to cook and enjoy at home (Ryland Peters and Small, 2010, 2020, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-282-0 $19.95 hardbound) is by Laura Washburn, who translates French cookbooks into English and tests recipes, as well as writing cookbooks. It was originally published in hard covers in 2003 (as Bistro) and in 2005 (as French Desserts), and then again in 2010 as The French Country Table. Here are the classic recipes for French onion soup, tians from Provence, soupe au pistou, goat cheese tart, Belgian endive salad, pork in cider, cassoulet, and the like. For desserts, there are tarte tatin, soufflé, clafouti, tarte au citron, napoleons, oeufs a la neige, mousse, and parfaits. These are all part of the 60 uncomplicated home cooked recipes. Everything is relatively easy to make if you apply yourself. Good sharp photography, as always from Ryland. 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: 89
10.CINNAMON, SPICE & WARM APPLE PIE; over 65 comforting baked fruit desserts (Ryland Peters and Small, 2010, 2013, 2020, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-276-9 $19.95 hardbound) was originally published in 2010 as a collection of recipes from the RPS stable of food writers. It has been updated to include 34 preps from Maxine Clark, 20 from Ross Dobson, and 14 from Laura Washburn. Five other writers contributed the rest. Baked fruit desserts embrace crumbles, streusels, cobblers, bettys, crisps, clafoutis, slumps, puddings, pies, tarts, tartlets, strudels, dappys, pandowdys, and some cakes. No mention of grunts or buckles in this book, nor the dump, the grump, or the sonker – or the dumpling. [there's probably more names] Many dishes can be mixed and matched with different fruits. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89
11.NATURAL WINE; in introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally. 3rd ed. (Cico Books, 2014, 2020, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-78249-100-2, $27.99 US hard covers) is by Isabelle Legeron, the first French woman to become a Master of Wine. She runs the RAW Natural Wine Festival in London, and consults with restaurants and promotes "natural" wine. There is still a large argument raging in the wine world over what is a natural wine. Some believe that it should be applied only to organic and biodynamic farms; others think it should also mean "sustainable" or "green", etc. The key would simply be to get rid of the word "natural" and just have "organic or "biodynamic" and "sustainable". It is only the organic and biodynamic wines that appear to be legally certifiable. There are no controls over the rest of the "natural" wording on the label. Indeed, some organic wineries just press organic grapes and then use regular winemaking techniques. They can still call their wines organic. I know of many farms who use the term "natural" to reflect their organic practices, because they just do not have the money nor the wait time to apply for certification. Legeron offered one of the first books meant for the general reader to cover O & B wines. In general, wine is a process, but it is also an industry. Wineries try to be consistent from year to year because they have a product to sell. The weather determines many of the "corrections" the winemaker needs to take, such as more acid, earlier/later picking, more sugar, more irrigation, etc. A natural O & B winery rolls with the punches and produces wine "as is". The author takes us through the year and discusses wine faults, stability, health issues, taste, fermentation, sulphites, and a load of contentious issues. She's assisted from time to time by other writers such as Nicolas Joly, Tony Coturri, and 11 others. She gives notes on many wines, sorted by types (bubbly, red, white, orange [this is an addition from the previous editions], rose, sweet, and even co-ferments). Not surprisingly, France has the most listings, followed by Italy: these are the two leaders by production. Quebec in Canada has two mentions, one an orange wine made from seyval blanc and the other a chardonnay. Other additional sections cover a glossary, lists of associations and wine fairs, restaurants and stores for the US and UK, and a bibliography Some interesting or unusual facts: "soils harbor 80 percent of the world's biomass. Earthworms alone, for
example, amount to about the same weight as all other animals combined." Quality/Price Rating: 90.
12.PIES, GLORIOUS PIES; brilliant recipes for mouth-wateringly tasty pies (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2012, 2020, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-261-9, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Maxine Clark, a prolific cookbook author for this publisher. This is its second edition, based on the 2012 publication. The British love their pies, and Clark, who lives in Scotland, details a useful primer on how to construct different pie doughs and roll them out. She gives us separate chapters based on purpose: there are everyday pies, posh pies, portable pies, and sweet pies. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric (mostly, anyway) and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no separate table of equivalents. Some interesting or unusual recipes in this 50 prep package include steak and kidney pie; lamb shank shepherd's pie; ham and apple pie; simple sausage lattice slice; ricotta and green herb torta; pasta, parmesan, and cherry tomato pies; golden fish pie. There are more savoury pies than sweet pies here. A good book for pie lovers and novice cooks, especially with the usual RPS photography. Quality/Price Rating: 89.
13.HOME-COOKED COMFORTS; oven bakes, casseroles & other one-pot dishes (Ryland Peters & Small, 2010, 2020, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-283-7, $19.95 USD hardbound)is by Laura Washburn Hutton, a well-versed award winning UK food writer fluent in French (she translates many French cookbooks) with a cooking school in south-west France. It was originally published in 2010, and the current book now contains 65 preps for one-pot comfort food. This is the acoustic version since instant pots or slow cookers are not involved. The cuisine is international (curries, Asiatic dishes, Moroccan tagines, and some faves from the American southwest. All easy and comfortable, just perfect for the pandemic lockdowns. It's arranged by main ingredient: meat, poultry, fish and shell fish, and vegetarian. And mostly savoury. Basic include chili, goulash, gratin, braise, meatloaf, shanks, and more. 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: 88.

Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another in these perilous times.

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.

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