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SPIRITED COOKING: An Introduction to Wines in the Kitchen by Robert Ackart

SPIRITED COOKING: An Introduction to Wines in the Kitchen


Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1984
Publisher: Atheneum

Ackart, author of other undistinguished single-subject cookbooks (The Frugal Fish, A Celebration of Soups), here chooses a subject of no great intrinsic merit that could have been redeemed by a really good selection of recipes. The best here are obvious classics like cheese fondue or beef bourguignon that can be widely found, in versions as good or better; the rest tend to use wine and spirits insensitively (and all-too-heavily) in poorly assorted collections of ingredients. Extreme examples are Beef Stroganoff made with a cup of sherry to a cup of beef stock and jazzed up with Worcestershire sauce, scallops marinated in 2/3 cup of orange-flavored liqueur that then goes into a heavy-cream sauce, 1/4 cup of rum in an (uncooked) avocado dip. Nor is there any particular help on sorting out wines for the purposes of different recipes: the vague label ""dry white wine"" is applied, for instance, to anything from Soave to Riesling. The recipe-mix roughly parallels that in any current anthology of quasi-international pretensions; the best bets are probably the simpler desserts (baked bananas flambÉed with rum, Indian pudding, oranges macerated in a white wine-based syrup). The choice of alcohol-based beverages emphasizes rich, sweet heated potions (a lighter, more varied selection is to be found in Barbara Ensrud's Wine with Food, p. 862). Prospective buyers should be prepared to shell out money on, say, sherry for a lamb marinade which is discarded before cooking. Poor all around.