Like many recent cookbooks, this compilation by a former New York Times food reporter and Vanity Fair columnist is a marketeer's product: a batch of recipes that could have come from any moderately au courant cookbook, tacked onto a chirrupy introduction about the author coping with her own minuscule Greenwich Village kitchen. Things like piperade, black bean soup, polenta, shrimp with feta cheese, and calves' liver with Madeira sauce are nice but already overrepresented in both better and worse books. Hodgson's attempts at the more râ€šcherchâ€š are not much different from dozens of others: mackerel with gooseberry sauce, pigeons stuffed with couscous, rabbit braised in red wine sauce with bitter chocolate. The vegetable recipes reach for the unusual with a little more success (string beans with quasi-Indian spices and grated coconut, baked whole shallots, navy beans gratinâ€šed with garlic butter and bread crumbs). But much of this fare leaves a lot to be desired in terms of both taste and technique. Directions are brief and unspecific, definitely assuming some prior understanding of cookery (you won't want to ""brown the zucchini with the shallot and the garlic"" without making sure not to brown the garlic). The urban upwardly mobile at whom this is targeted can surely to better.