THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT COOK

A less able recipe writer than Meyers (Perla Meyers' Art of Seasonal Cooking, 1991) might not have been able to make this wide selection fit together. She starts with a sound concept: Give a list of ingredients that people should have on hand in their pantries, then provide recipes using those ingredients. The problem is that the pantry list gets much too long and includes produce that will not keep indefinitely. (According to Meyers's list, there are 11 vegetables and six fruits that the well-stocked home should not be without.) So maybe preparation won't be quite so spontaneous, but the food is charming. These dishes are mostly low- key cousins of the fussy nouvelle cuisine of the '80s, meaning that they incorporate ingredients like arugula and balsamic vinegar in simple preparations. A potato galette is a crispy, almost greaseless giant hash brown, and fresh tarragon in a goat cheese omelette is a welcome change from the more predictable chives. Recipes are no-nonsense, with substitutions suggested, and preparation and cooking times (almost all short) are very accurate. Desserts, in particular, are a varied and unusual lot, ranging from cherries baked in a red wine sauce to a frothy mousse made with coffee, mascarpone, and whipped cream. A life preserver for dealing with unexpected guests, although purchasing ingredients like candied ginger and garam masala may prove impractical. (50 illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 1994

ISBN: 0-688-11009-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1994

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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