Indian cuisine still sounds exotic to many people and has yet to work its way into American kitchens. Here, Batra (who teaches at the Montana Mercantile Cooking School in L.A.) adapts traditional vegetarian Indian recipes to the American palate, gives separate recipes for sauces and gravies (though they are not part of authentic Indian cuisine), offers dishes inspired by American food (a fruit salad spiced with chat masala and black pepper is surprisingly savory), and assures readers that they do not have to make complete Indian meals in order to enjoy Indian flavors (chutneys, for instance, work well as sandwich relishes). Sample menus offer direction so that even those completely unfamiliar with paneer cheese or cauliflower paranthas can choose dishes that complement rather than compete (always a hazard when working with lots of spices). And she makes sense of the distinctive Indian herbs, spices, and seeds with an extensive guide to their preparation, storage, culinary use, and even possible medicinal effects (e.g., bay leaves are digestive stimulants). Indian cooking can easily become an all-day process if you have to do everything from grinding and roasting masala to creating the proper chutney accompaniments. Batra's careful instructions tell what steps can be done in advance to avoid this problem. Overall, well organized, with only a couple of glitches: Why advise using the mango chutney on chicken in a book purportedly for vegetarians, and why does the sound advice to use gloves when working with hot serrano peppers come pages after their first mention? A mystique breaker.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-02-507675-2

Page Count: 380

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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...



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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