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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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