FRENCH CLASSICS MADE EASY

A 10-MINUTE SOUFFLÉ, A CONTEMPORARY BOUILLABAISSE, A LIGHTER, QUICKER CASSOULET--250 GREAT RECIPES SIMPLIFIED FOR THE MODERN KITCHEN

Traditional French cooking reimagined for the contemporary American kitchen. 

The title of Grausman’s (At Home With French Cooking, 1988) latest might strike readers as a bit of an oxymoron—“easy” is a relative term when it comes to mastering French culinary techniques. Yet the author has tackled this often intimidating cuisine and made it much more accessible to the American cook. He draws upon his years as a teacher to understand where a novice cook’s confusion might arise, and whisks those fears away with clear, step-by-step instructions. He shares time-saving tips and amends even the most sacred French recipes to make them more palatable to today’s cooks. Grausman does not, however, compromise the integrity of the recipes. You still need fish heads for Bouillabaisse, and while he has cut back on certain health-compromising ingredients like salt, there’s still plenty of cream and butter. The author takes technique seriously, and he provides numerous instructional asides and illustrations. Dessert is not an afterthought, but rather an 86-page section of tempting recipes, including pastries. Complex without being complicated, there are plenty of meals presented that lend themselves to quick yet elegant dinners. The Chicken with Riesling is flavorful, rich and creamy, and easy enough to prepare on a busy weeknight. And then there’s the soufflé. With Grausman as a guide, anyone can produce this lighter-than-air treat. And yes, it cooks in just 10 minutes. Classic French cuisine for everyone, from beginners to professionals.

 

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7611-5854-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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