READING BETWEEN THE RECIPES by Leslie Land

READING BETWEEN THE RECIPES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This collection of pieces from (mostly) Land's weekly column in the Camden (Maine) Herald corroborates what one could guess from her all-too-infrequent appearances in national food or travel publications: she is as good a food writer as we've got. Arranged in a sort-of-seasonal progression (March to February), these 48 essays on eating and enjoying tell you all the things that, as Land says, don't get into ""the telegraphic recipes in general circulation."" The Maine viewpoint is clear in pieces on lobsters, blueberries, salmon, the brief and precious season of home-grown greens, the wonderful local shrimp of midwinter. Land's alert eye also ranges further afield: olive oil, real oatmeal, grilled vegetables, the uses of cider. New American-school flights of fancy are not her style, though she can whip up a sorrel sauce or Mexicanize Boston baked beans with the yuppiest of them. Her real originality shines in her championship of unsung American standbys like ham, codfish cakes, fried green tomatoes, or genuine sauerkraut. The tone is breezy without being irritating; the actual recipes have an irreverent conversational flow to match, but also manage to steer you to the elusive ifs, and, or buts that can be critical to the success of a dish. Land calls them ""approximate transcriptions of what you'd get if I were sitting at the kitchen table and Holding Forth."" Long may she do so.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Yankee