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What goes around comes around
on September 26, 2013
There's nothing new under the sun here: just a so-so book with fairly traditional recipes sprinkled with 1990s additions and plenty of 2010 attitude. Liana Krissoff reframes traditional recipes by moving minor ingredients that have long been a part of preserving into her titles, `a la current menu descriptions ("Spiced Apple Butter," "Peaches in Vanilla Syrup"), thus making her recipes seemingly new. Most of them are not; many are already widely available.
The book's title, too, misleads: "Canning for a New Generation" is limited to water-bath canning, which leaves out all preserved meats, fish, stocks, soups, sauces, and low-acid vegetables, except those that are pickled or fermented--some pretty big exceptions.
I have to wonder what Krissoff's editors at Stewart Tabori & Chang were thinking when they allowed her to take potshots at groups of people she evidently holds in low regard. Oughtn't books to invite in as many readers as possible, rather than exclude or set out to insult some of them with flippant language like "canning [used to be] for old folks and cranks and separatists" (p. 9) and "I flipped through some canning books at Barnes & Noble (public libraries also being the domain of old folks and cranks--though not separatists so much)" (ibid.)?
If you're new to preserving and want to start with jams, jellies, marmalades, and pickles (the easiest entry points), read Linda Ziedrich's extraordinary and wide-ranging books, "The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves" (2009) and "The Joy of Pickling" (2009) for beautifully and clearly written recipes and front material by someone who has been preserving for more than forty years. If you're an experienced preserver and are looking for further frisky jam and jelly recipes, pick up a used copy of May Byron's "Jams and Jellies" (1917; repr. 1975) and Catherine Plagemann's "Fine Preserving" (1963). None of these deeply knowledgeable writers claims, as Ms. Krissoff does, that her "recipes . . . are for people a little bit like me." They write (or wrote) for the world, and the depth of their experience and humanity is evident in every one of their recipes.