Ingenious, delightfully presented recipes that give a healthy take on French cuisine.

FLAVOUR WITH BENEFITS

FRANCE

French food can taste good without the animal products and other dietary no-nos, according to this cookbook-cum–gastronomic travelogue.

Connally and Best recount their journey through France from the Champagne region in the northeast down to Marseille on the Mediterranean coast, tasting the regional cuisines and culture and collecting ideas for recipes. Their musings on the tour are haphazard but charming. They toast the prominence of women among the heads of Veuve Clicquot and other legendary Champagne-makers; recollect a year Connally’s family spent in the city of Metz in Lorraine when she was 5, when she contracted a liver ailment that she cured by eating artichokes; and visit Julia Child’s old haunts in Provence, noting that Child’s first recipe was for a shark repellent used during World War II. Each chapter culminates in a selection of regionally inspired recipes the authors reengineer to “achieve positive health returns,” mainly by replacing flesh, dairy, and oils with plant-based ingredients. (Connally reports that a similar diet has conferred many health benefits, including “greater sexual vitality.”) Of the 59 recipes, only three—roasted spatchcocked chicken, coffee-rubbed grilled rib-eye, and sea bass cassis—feature meat or fish, while 43 are straight-up vegan, 35 are gluten free, and 47 are free of even plant oils. The duo contends that their alternatives to animal-product ingredients are flavorful and great tasting in dishes like cultured cashew “cheese” logs spiced with herbs, crepes made with flaxseed “eggs,” and French onion soup with a “beef” broth made from vegetable broth. (While sugar is allowed, the book suggests replacing it with monk fruit as a sweetener.) A nutrition table accompanies each recipe with data on calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium content.

Connally and Best present the recipes in a clear, easy-to-follow style. Many of them have an intriguing Gallic spin, such as a blueberry cheesecake decorated to mimic van Gogh’s The Starry Night and a confection called “Tétons de Vénus,” a pair of cakes shaped like breasts complete with blueberry nipples. The book’s sumptuous color photos of food and French towns and landscapes are a visual feast, and the prose is equally evocative. (“The creamy texture coats my tongue,” Connally recalls of a cheesecake at a Provencal restaurant. “Something is building. I can feel it. Then it happens. I am not sure whether the creamy filling is getting my attention, or the dripping blackcurrant sauce bursting with tiny wild blueberries, or the sweet, nutty almond date crust, but it’s magnificent….The only thing more pleasurable would be eating it in the arms of a lover.”) And yet, something seems naggingly un-French about the culinary philosophy behind such recipes as “Vive la France Cheesecake,” which features a filling of “plant-based yoghurt,” “plant-based cream cheese,” and 300 grams of non-GMO tofu, and sports saturated-fat levels “75% lower than a traditional cheesecake.” Still, readers seeking well-considered vegetarian-ish versions of French classics will love Connally and Best’s cookery.

Ingenious, delightfully presented recipes that give a healthy take on French cuisine.

Pub Date: April 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77-726492-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Connally Best Partners Corp

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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