"CHOP, SIMMER, SEASON" by Alexa Brandenberg


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From Brandenberg (I Am Me!, 1996), a book of illustrated cooking verbs--one per page--showing two chefs (one of them strongly resembling the author's photo on the jacket flap) preparing the following menu for a tiny, homey restaurant: fresh baked breads, minestrone, tossed salad, grilled trout with harvest vegetables, and three different desserts. Many of the gouache paintings provide close-ups of the chefs' hands sifting, mixing, beating, chopping, seasoning, peeling, or slicing (all by hand--no food processors or electric mixers in this restaurant). The bottom borders show tiny pictures of the ingredients being used: An observant reader who is also an experienced cook could extrapolate recipes from these (e.g., the ""harvest vegetables"" are a sautâ of red onion, sweet red pepper, zucchini, and yellow squash with olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, thyme, salt, and pepper). An attractive, brightly colored look at an extremely busy dawn-to-dark kitchen, but it's difficult to imagine the book's audience: Preschoolers won't grasp the isolated culinary operations and older readers will want the recipes. Tuck it into story hours on work and careers, and get ready to argue whether salads are tossed before dressing, or after.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace