Food & Cooking Book Reviews (page 55)

PEPPERS by Amal Naj
Released: June 9, 1992

"Still, an agreeable assemblage of lore and field reportage."
Naj, a Wall Street Journal writer born and raised in Bengal, travels in Central and South America and the US Southwest in pursuit of pepper specialists and special peppers—all of the hot, capsaicin-endowed varieties known to most of us as chiles. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1992

Culinary historian Hess (coauthor, The Taste of America, 1977- -not reviewed) explores the rice cooking of South Carolina, where that food has been and is a ritual staple. Read full book review >

Released: June 1, 1992

TV-chef PÇpin's cookbooks have ranged from the imposing two- volume The Art of Cooking to The Short-Cut Cook (1990), which stooped to unimpressive quickie concoctions using frozen convenience components. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1992

For fans of the ``Pioneer Lady,'' another nostalgic collection (after The Country Mother's Cookbook, 1991) of country-style recipes (heavy in the sweets department), sentimental verse (by James Whitcomb Riley and the like), memories of simple pleasures and special celebrations from a Thirties childhood (with family anecdotes from further back), and old illustrations to match. Read full book review >
Released: April 22, 1992

"Somewhat self-conscious and static in spots, but, still, an evocative book written in clean, often startlingly beautiful prose. (Illustrations.)"
A contemplative, ``overeducated'' writer turned small-time farmer tells of his adventures planting and harvesting garlic on a semi-arid plot of land in New Mexico. Read full book review >

Released: April 1, 1992

"Spanish cocido of boiled meats and chickpeas, what the Londons offer is variety and novelty in a neo-middlebrow taste range—and lots of it. (Line drawings—125—not seen.)"
A decade after their Sheryl and Mel London's Creative Cooking with Grains and Pasta, a health-food-style compendium that had its share of bean complements and was already showcasing such grains as amaranth, sorghum, and triticale, the indefatigable Londons have pulled in some yet newer grains (quinoa; teff) and a separate alphabet of beans, and have contrived yet more of their generally palatable, though somewhat capricious, recipes. Read full book review >
Released: March 25, 1992

"But also like the earlier book, it's a decent collection with an appeal both homey and sophisticated, the recipes reasonably undemanding and making knowing—if free—use of Old World, New World, crossover, and familiar American traditions. (Sixty-five photographs—not seen.)"
Though polls continue to remind us that many Americans can't name their senators or date the Civil War, it's hard to imagine getting through 1992 without widespread awareness that Columbus and those who followed him across the ocean discovered corn, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, peppers, chilies, chocolate, many beans, and turkeys, among other foods. Read full book review >
Released: March 24, 1992

"An interesting collection of dishes, many of them new to Americans, from a cuisine family that is becoming increasingly popular with American Jews raised on more stolid Eastern European fare. (Photographs.)"
Marks, whose earlier cookbooks have featured such cuisines as Guatemalan, Burmese, and Indonesian, has ranged far and wide for this hefty collection, marking the 500th anniversary of the Jews' expulsion from Spain, that is held together by its focus on Sephardic Jewish and other related Jewish communities. Read full book review >
REAL FOOD MICROWAVE by Donovan Jon Fandre
Released: March 22, 1992

"Like the instant ingredients, they might be in tune with the microwave mentality but won't convert lovers of real food."
It's not clear what TV microwave-chef Fandre means by ``real food'' or what he would call ``unreal food.'' These recipes make free use of prepared ingredients: mixes, packaged stuffing, bottled sauce and dressing, canned and frozen vegetables, even prebaked pizza crusts to finish off in a regular (not microwave) oven. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1992

"For cooks without a lot of training or ambition, an attractive, varied, broadening, and handy collection. (Photographs.)"
Thai, Italian, Mexican, and French food show up along with Middle Eastern and Eastern European in this collection of recipes from more than 16 countries—some of them from Jewish communities, others kosher without trying, and still others adapted (e.g., veal instead of pork chops with Alsatian mustard sauce and noodles; ground turkey instead of pork in Chinese stuffed mushrooms) by the chef-teachers at N.Y.C.'s 92nd Street Y Kosher Cooking School. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"A compelling inducement to cook—or to book a flight to Spain. (Maps, line art.)"
Travelogue, cookbook, wine guide, diners' journal, and a sampling of annual festivals: Region by region and season by season (grape harvest, pruning, bud-break), the Walkers (he: a San Francisco food-and-wine writer; she: a caterer) trace their travels and recall with enthusiasm and style the friendly people, delicious food, memorable encounters, vineyards and cellars and wine. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 21, 1992

"Neither scientific like Harold McGee's investigations nor lively like Jim Thorne's Simple Cooking (also from a newsletter on food), these pieces are still undemanding enough for casual browsing and substantive enough for serious food mavens."
The title of this book, and of Behr's quarterly newsletter The Art of Eating, notwithstanding, the real subject of the essays collected here is not eating or cooking but food itself—or, more accurately, specific foods—and, in Behr's view, ``very good food, the best'': how it develops, how to choose it, and sometimes how it has vanished. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Gabrielle Zevin
March 3, 2015

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. “Zevin writes characters who grow and prosper,” our reviewer writes, “in a narrative that is sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining.” View video >