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.
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").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)