Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Roundup of Recent Cookbooks from Rachel Khoo, Herve This, Yottom Otolenghi, Karen Page, and a Collobaration Between Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Oscar Farinetti.

Being that we have three major food events coming up, including Jack Bishop of America's Test Kitchen at Boswell on October 23 (free), 7 pm, for The Cook's Illustrated Meat Book, and Bartolotta events for Dorie Greenspan on November 7 and Gabrielle Hamilton on November 17 (both ticketed, with meal and book), it put me in the mood to round up some new cookbooks.

First up is My Little French Kitchen: More Than 100 Recipes from the Mountains, Market Squares, and Shores of France (Chronicle), by Rachel Khoo She is the new style of cookbook writer in the age of the Food Network. First a cookbook, then a television show (on sister network The Cooking Channel), and then a bigger profile cookbook. Alas, not much has been written about the network since it started up in 2010; is it still positioned as the grittier and more authentic little sibling? You can decide if Khoo fits the bill by reading this profile in the (UK) Guardian.

Sometimes a cookbook can come from a retailer, like that endless series of cookbooks from Williams Sonoma in the aughts. How to Eataly (Rizzoli) is a collaboration of retail czar Oscar Farinetti, as well as Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich. Eataly has ten stores in Italy, 13 in Japan, and now two in the United States. The book includes the basics of shopping for ingredients, what to do with the staples, and of course, recipes. Moira Hodgson in The Wall Street Journal reviews the book, the store, and for good measure, another Italian cookbook called DiPaolo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy (Ballantine). It certainly compels me to visit their outpost in Chicago, but I'm not crazy about the name; the bad pun brings to mind a themed mall food court.

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible (Little,Brown) is an A to Z list of ingredients for vegetarian and vegan cooks, with snappy quotes from Molly Katzen "Karen Page's thorough, generous message is an intuition booster for every level of experience, and Andrew Dornenburg's beautiful images will make it all feel magical and pull you in, guaranteed" and Deborah Madison "What a helpful guide to anyone who is at a loss when approaching an unfamiliar plant, be it vegetable, fruit, legume, or or grain." I thought you should know that the author Karen Page and photographer Andrew Dornenberg are at the Milwaukee Public Market, this Thursday, October 16, from 6 to 7:30. It's not our event, but feel free to tell the authors we sent you.

Coming back for seconds is Yottam Ottolenghi with Plenty More (Ten Speed Press), his follow up to the cookbook Plenty, which Washington Post food and travel writer Joe Yonan called "the cookbook of the decade", at least informally. In his recent column, Yonan profiles the 45-year-old London restauranteur, newspaper columnist, and omnivore, who talks about the joys of black garlic (hot in the UK) and kashk, which is dried, fermented, and rehydrated yogurt.

And for a change of pace, here is Hervé This's Note by Note Cooking: The Future of Food (Columbia), a guide to using molecular compounds in your recipes. Here's the scoop: "Cooking with molecular compounds will be far more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable than traditional techniques of cooking. This new way of thinking about food heralds a phase of culinary evolution on which the long-term survival of a growing human population depends. Heré This clearly explains the properties of naturally occurring and synthesized compounds, dispels a host of misconceptions about the place of chemistry in cooking, and shows why note-by-note cooking is an obvious - and inevitable - extension of his earlier pioneering work in molecular gastronomy." Here's a link to This on the PBS program Nova. You expected Martha Stewart's Cooking School?

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