Martha Pearl Villas has served meals to everyone from Pierre Franey to Craig Claiborne, and her son James is food and wine editor at Town and Country and a cookbook author (French Country Cooking, not reviewed, etc.). They team up here to offer classic southern cuisine with homespun anecdotes and inventive twists. In the introduction, James admits that his family doesn't ``pay any mind to diets, fats, salt, and cholesterol,'' and that's obvious in recipes for dishes like cheese and eggs (with ten eggs, one and a half cups of milk, and a pound and a half of cheddar to serve six to eight people) and the turkey roasted with bacon slices, served with giblet gravy and a cornbread dressing that requires a stick of butter and four eggs. And often side dishes that could have been light feel heavy (the summer tomato pie, while thoroughly delicious with its savory blend of fresh herbs, also includes a cup of mayonnaise, two cups of cheddar, and half a cup of Parmesan). Luckily, an unflagging commitment to taste also translates into many more healthful dishes as well, from the wonderfully loopy cold shrimp and wild rice salad to the succulent paper-bag roasted chicken. The recipes are generally well written, but the occasional use of mise-en-place (how many onions make up one cup of chopped onions?) and failure to provide detailed information (how many people know that for a salmon mousse to ``chill till firm,'' it must set overnight?) prove irritating in an otherwise charming and sophisticated effort. Comfort food at its best.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-02-622015-6

Page Count: 291

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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