A TASTE OF OLD CUBA

MORE THAN 150 RECIPES FOR DELICIOUS, AUTHENTIC, AND TRADITIONAL DISHES HIGHLIGHTED WITH REFLECTIONS AND REMINISCENCES

The text in this debut memoir/cookbook is nothing short of charming and recalls Zarela Martinez's Food From My Heart. O'Higgins paints her pre-Castro Cuban childhood in idyllic colors and calls a lost world to life. Family photographs add to the sweet, personal feel. However, while the essays and notes benefit from intimate detail, the recipes do not: Many feel like a-pinch- of-this-a-pinch-of-that attempts to nail down techniques that are second nature to the author. For example, directions for fried plantains instruct, ``Fry the plantain slices until they are almost black but not burned'' without giving any idea of how much time that will take—a problem for novice plantain cookers. Variety apparently has never been the spice of life in Cuba: Many of these are more or less similar recipes for the same dish. There are three different black-bean recipes and four for cooking rice, and that's only in the chapter on rice and beans. Another section gives 14 rice entrÇes, most with similar seasonings. O'Higgins warns that Cuban desserts are achingly sweet (because sugar production was the backbone of the Cuban economy, consuming it came to be considered a patriotic act), and she is not kidding. A light eight-by-eight- inch sponge cake is drowned in a cup of port and more than two cups of a supersweet lime-cinnamon syrup. Good reading, bad eating.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-016964-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1994

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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