Dinner for Everyone, Just for Two, High-End Catering, Healthy Indian | Cooking Reviews, March 2019

This cleverly conceived cookbook is a winner for all types of cooks, especially those wishing to enhance their skills; a first purchase for library cookery collections and smaller households; the authors do a great job at taking readers behind the scenes of a hectic profession many might take for granted; a solid choice for fans of celebrity chef and pop culture memoirs

redstarBittman, Mark. Dinner for Everyone: 100 Iconic Dishes Made 3 Ways—Easy, Vegan, or Perfect for Company. Clarkson Potter: Crown. Feb. 2019. 432p. photos. index. ISBN 9780385344760. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780385344777. COOKING
For those wishing to cook healthy food in their own homes, this new book from best-selling author Bittman (How To Grill Everything ), which treats 100 iconic dishes in three different ways—easy, vegan, and perfect for company—is especially welcome. For example, do you fancy a pasta bake but are limited for time on a weeknight, or are you a beginner with few kitchen tools? The “easy” version of any meal is ideal because most recipes take 30 minutes or less to produce. If a vegan pasta bake is your preference then the recipe is on the same page. The all-out, or perfect-for-company recipes are for those who wish to take their time and cook for pleasure, not survival. Bittman’s approach is unpretentious and flexible, taking advantage of good, sensible ingredients and a reasonable number of kitchen equipment.
VERDICT With a thoughtful and global range of recipes and clear instructions using easily available ingredients, this cleverly conceived cookbook is a winner for all types of cooks, especially those wishing to enhance their skills.—Penelope J.M. Klein, Glasgow, Scotland

Lane, Christina. Dinner Just for Two. Countryman Pr. Apr. 2019. 336p. photos. index. ISBN 9781682680094. $35. COOKING
Blogger and best-selling cookbook author Lane (Dessert for Two ) is known for her scaled-down dessert recipes, and here she turns her expertise to dinner recipes for two. Lane’s recipes are designed to provide realistic solutions to the quandaries of cooking for two, including the challenge of avoiding food waste and minimizing repetitive leftovers. With a focus on fresh ingredients and produce, the author presents a host of practical small-scale recipes ranging from pasta and skillet suppers to main course salads and stews. The broad range of dishes provides options for both weeknight meals and special occasions or romantic dinners. Many of the dinner recipes are vegetarian (Lane is a former vegetarian) and inspired by Southwestern spices and flavors (Lane is a native Texan), featuring photos of almost every dish. In a nod to the small-batch desserts that launched her culinary career, Lane includes a well-curated chapter of sweet options. Home cooks who find that store-bought fresh bread goes stale before they can use it up will savor the chapter on small-batch homemade breads with recipes for focaccia and biscuits.
VERDICT A first purchase for library cookery collections and an invaluable resource for anyone preparing meals for smaller households.—Kelsy ­Peterson, Forest Hill Coll., Melbourne, Australia

Lee, Matt & Ted Lee. Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business. Holt. Apr. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9781627792615. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781627792622. COOKING
Veteran cookbook authors Matt and Lee ( The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen) take a behind-the-scenes look at the stressful world of high-end catering. The authors spent four years in the industry, interviewing the key players, from the planners to the chefs to the low-level assistants. Most important, they worked along the lines themselves, helping prep food and transport it as well as working the events. They explain the tricks of the trade: assembling thousands of delicacies and transporting them to galas, weddings, meetings, and celebrity events, all of which require getting the food delivered fresh and on time. The title refers to the all-important proffer; an upright aluminum cabinet on wheels that transports partially prepared food to the event location, where it will be completed. The personalities involved, as well as the sumptuous foods described, are presented in delicious detail.
VERDICT The authors do a great job at taking readers behind the scenes of a hectic profession many might take for granted.—Phillip Oliver, formerly with Univ. of North Alabama, Florence

Makan, Chetna. Chetna’s Healthy Indian: Everyday Family Meals. Effortlessly Good for You. Mitchell Beazley: Octopus. Mar. 2019. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9781784725358. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9781784725921. COOKING
Makan, a former contestant on the Great British Bake Off and host of the YouTube channel Food with Chetna, returns with her third cookbook after The Cardamom Trail. With a renewed focus on healthy, family-friendly Indian dishes, Makan shares her family’s favorite “comfort food” with palpable enthusiasm, encouraging even novice home cooks to experiment and try new flavor combinations using her adaptable and informal recipes. Included are recipes for salads, vegetables, chicken, fish, lentils, chutneys, and sweets, along with menu ideas and flexible serving suggestions. Many dishes are vegetarian or can be adapted to become vegetarian or vegan. Maka’s approach places a refreshing emphasis on ease of preparation, which may be a revelation for home cooks accustomed to lengthy lists of spices and ingredients.
VERDICT Vibrant photography, compact recipes, and straightforward preparation techniques make this title enticing for both beginning and experienced home cooks, though it could have been improved with the addition of a basic ingredient guide.—Kelsy Peterson, Forest Hill Coll., Melbourne, Australia

Onwuachi, Kwame with Joshua David Stein. Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir. Knopf. Apr. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9781524732622. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781524732639. COOKING
Onwuachi begins by recounting an event he catered at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016. In 2015, he competed on Top Chef and made Zagat’s and Forbes’s 30 Under 30 lists in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Still under 30, the author has already had a lifetime of career highs and lows, making for an engaging account cowritten with journalist Stein (Where Chefs Eat, Can I Eat That?). As a Culinary Institute of America graduate, Onwuachi is classically trained in traditional fine dining. His Afro-Caribbean heritage both sets him apart, as one of few black figures in this realm, and inspires him to share its cuisine with a larger audie nce. When his Washington, DC,–based restaurant Shaw Bijou closed after three months, he found renewed success with the establishments Kith and Kin and Philly Wing Fry. All of these endeavors underline the persistence that made his ambitions a reality. Though readers may be familiar with Onwuachi from Top Chef, they should expect to learn more about the many other challenges and triumphs he’s experienced.
VERDICT A solid choice for fans of celebrity chef and pop culture memoirs. [See Prepub Alert, 10/29/18.]—Meagan Storey, Virginia Beach

Welsh, Ronna. The Nimble Cook: New Strategies for Great Meals That Make the Most of Your Ingredients. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2019. 400p. illus. by Diana Vassar. photos. index. ISBN 9780544935501. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780544936843. COOKING
Food waste is a significant global problem, and one way to address this is by utilizing each ingredient to the fullest, including parts usually discarded, such as peels and seeds. This is the goal of a new cookbook by Welsch, owner of the Purple Kale Kitchenworks cooking school in Brooklyn. While the main focus here is on produce, meats and starches are also included. The idea is to create components ahead of time that can be kept on hand and combined in a variety of quick-meal options. This has the unfortunate effect though of causing many recipes to contain additional recipes within them, which can be disheartening for those who have not planned ahead. Also, some of the preparations seem impractical or time intensive, such as pulling off each leaf from a pile of Brussel sprouts or cooking apple cores down into a syrup. Other tips, such as turning potato peelings into oven-baked crisps, are sheer genius, however. Illustrated with black-and-white line drawings, this is somewhat reminiscent of the original Moosewood cookbook but updated with a DIY vibe.
VERDICT A good resource for cooks looking for new ways to prepare and preserve foods from root to stem.—Susan Hurst, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH

These reviews were originally published in Library Journal's March 2019 issue.

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