July 20th, 2013 § 0 comments

Cookbooks make for pleasant reading and often better viewing (some cookbook photography is so lustfully shot that it is basically pornographic). They often have good cooking ideas and can serve as an active spur to the imagination. But, very few contain recipes that, when followed step-by-step, turn out right. Mark Bittman, the ubiquitous Bittman, is the great advocate of simplicity and a best-selling cookbook author. In HG’s opinion, Bittman’s recipes disappoint. They should be read as creative outlines to constructing a dish rather than precise instructions. The recipes in Saveur Magazine sure read good but make for unfortunate eating (SJ disagrees). HG relies on three cookbook authors: Mimi Sheraton (the former New York Times restaurant reviewer); the late Michael Field and Marcella Hazan, the woman who has had a powerful and positive impact on cooking Italian food in the home kitchen. Mimi Sheraton’s cookbook, From My Mother’s Kitchen, is an HG favorite. There is a strong emphasis on Jewish cooking (but not kosher—there are good recipes for clams, lobster and a ham-and-bean soup). The recipes are can’t miss and they emphasize simple things like matzo brei, blintzes, fish salads, pan broiled steaks and hamburgers, etc. Michael Field’s books feature precise recipes. Do exactly as he says and you have a winner dish. Always. Marcella Hazan is invaluable. However, it is necessary to adjust the quantities. She likes, in the Italian fashion, a lot of pasta and a little bit of sauce. A lot of Americans (including HG/BSK) like the reverse.


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