Part Three of Dean Tudor’s 2015 Holiday Cookbook (and drink book) review is features “Reference” books and books that make health claims. Previous installments of this year’s Dean’s List include Part One: Art, Travel and Restaurant Cookbooks (here), and Part Two: Literary Food Books (here). – Ed.
1,000 FOOD TO EAT BEFORE YOU DIE (Workman, 2015, 990 pages, $32.95 CAN paperback) is by Mimi Sheraton – it is a great catalogue of all the foods you should eat, selected from the best cuisines around the world (French , Italian, Chines, Senegalese, Mexican, etc.). It is not just about type of food, but where to eat them. Over 550 colour photos and 70 recipes, plus 14 or more log rollers to compel us to read the tome. I’m still reading it, maybe 3 items a day, enough for a year. Mimi looks at tastes, dishes, ingredients, and restaurants. And there are multiple indexes for easier access. Maybe a CD-ROM or PDF for retrieval searches in the future?
THE FOOD LAB (Norton, 2015, 960 pages, $58 CAN hard covers) is by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who proposes “better home cooking through science”. He’s a director at seriouseats.com, author of a column The Food Lab (which was a Beard nominee), and a columnist for Cooking Light. It comes with endorsements by Myhrvold, Steingarten, Lebovitz, and Michael Ruhlman. Kenji covers the mundane (how to make mac and cheese more gooey and velvety smooth) and pooh-poohs such techniques as succulence through brining. There are hundreds of recipes here and over 1,000 images of techniques (e.g., Hollandaise Sauce in two minutes, creamy potato casserole). Unlike the hard science of the McGee books, Kenji is more practical and concentrates on the how rather than on the why – and with many pix. Recipes are set up by courses (breakfast, soups & stews, etc.). The emphasis is definitely on American home cookery dishes. But Kenji has also written about ethnic food in his columns, so maybe these will be along in volume two. Hey, a good tome for the science nerd who wants to cook.
KITCHEN HACKS (America’s Test Kitchen, 2015, 358 pages, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is a golden tool well-priced for our market. These are quick tips, time-savers, and shortcuts. They help you organize, repair mistakes, clean up, store food and impress your company. Both food ingredients and equipment are covered, as well as techniques. Typical are: removing coconut meat from the shell, steaming milk for a cappuccino, taking pictures of food. A nice collection from the folks at Cook’s Illustrated.
FAST AND FEARLESS COOKING FOR THE GENIUS (For the Genius Press, 2015, $24.95 US paper covers) is by my wife Ann Tudor (MAJOR CONFLICT OF INTEREST HERE, THUS THE NEUTRAL REVIEW). She outlines a number of basic and easy principles and techniques for cooking, using ingredients and methods that are sometimes idiosyncratic but approachable and time-tested through her life. And she’s got stories of successes and failures. It’s for the millennial who doesn’t cook. Ann’s creed: don’t be afraid, have a basic pantry with both normal and new-to-you ingredients, and approach the whole business in a spirit of play. Contains no recipes to frighten you.
WASTE FREE KITCHEN HANDBOOK (Chronicle Books, 2015, 200 pages, $23 CAN soft covers) is by Dana Gunders; it is a guide to eating well and saving money by wasting less food (she says that the average North American tosses away about $30 each month in uneaten food). There are suggestions, checklists, recipes, and a kitchen waste audit. Major keys: good shopping, proper storage, eating leftovers and holdovers.
FAST FOOD, GOOD FOOD (Little, Brown and Co., 2015, 295 pages, $36 CAN hard covers) is by Andrew Weil, MD, who is the most recognized leader in integrative medicine (TV, book author, columnist, drweil.com). Even so he seems to need log rollers such as Waters and Keller. The book has more than 150 quick and easy ways to put healthy, delicious food on your table at home. It’s arranged by course, with a good collection of healthy drinks. At the end, he has notes on the anti-inflammatory diet and pyramid. He’s also got effective use of bold-face type and leading for the older folks, and this includes the layout for his index. It is, actually, a must purchase as a gift.
THE FOOD ALLERGY COOKBOOK (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015, 235 pages, $21.99 paperback) is by Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic. It is a revised edition of the 2011 work. Here are 101 preps for foods that are free of dairy, gluten, soy, corn, shellfish and nuts. Ingredients are readily available and the instructions are easy. And dishes are savoury and/or sweet depending on seasonings. There are holiday menus, tips for shopping, pantry advice, and how to read labels.
THE BONE BROTH MIRACLE (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015, 180 pages, ISBN 978-1-63450-702-8, $25.99 CAN paper covers) is by Ariane Resnick, a certified nutritionist who specializes in organic farm-to-table cuisine. She has cooked for celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow. Here are 51 preps for a daily dose of nutrients: calcium, amino acids, collagen, magnesium, potassium and other minerals. In other words, what we knew as Jewish penicillin, good old chicken broth. Suits a paleo diet – and has a good bibliography for further reading.
THE UNDIET COOKBOOK (Appetite by Random House, 2015, 304 pages, $24.95 CAN soft covers) is by Meghan Telpner, a Toronto-based nutritionist. She gives us 130 plant-based recipes with options for any kind of diet. She’s got health tips, meal planning for all courses, even edible beauty care recipes. Some major keys are smoothies and sprouts. Most valuable too are the tips for travel and entertaining in how to “undiet” for life. [See GFR’s October 2015 interview with Telpner here. – Ed.]
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015, 242 pages, $22.99 CAN paper covers) is by Simone McGrath. ACV has many health benefits (weight loss, allergies, skin and health), and this guide tells how to use it to also treat common ailments, oral health, and to use it in cooking soups, salads, mains, drinks, and desserts. Organic ACV has been a standard in our house for over two decades.
HOW CAN IT BE GLUTEN-FREE COOKBOOK, VOL 2 (America’s Test Kitchen 2015, 328 pages, $32 CAN paper covers) delivers more of the ATK’s honed recipes, furthering breakfast foods, grains, comfort food, breads, and a resource section. Volume 1 was published in early
Dean Tudor is a Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus, The Treasurer of The Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada and creator of Canada’s award-winning wine satire site at fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. Visit Dean’s websites at deantudor.com and gothicepicures.blogspot.com. His motto: “Look it up and you’ll remember it; screw it up and you’ll never forget it.”