Emeril Lagasse needs no introduction. TV chef par excellence, and author of eight other cookbooks, he's become something of a one-man industry. Emeril's Potluck
, concerned with "comfort food with a kicked-up attitude," follows the MO of his other books--easy, attractive recipes (in this case 150-plus of them) presented in a voce that will be reassuring to some, while all-too-familiar to others. If Potluck
seems even more mechanically formulaic than the other books, it nonetheless contains many valuable recipes for a full range of dishes and drinks. Among these, Cajun Quiche, Oven-Poached Salmon with a Pink Grapefruit and Tarragon Sauce, and Slow-Cooked Pork Roast with Barbecue Sauce are representative and worthy. The drink section shouldn't be overlooked and contains recipes for the likes of Milk Shakes for grownups, which include kalúa, and the nonalcoholic mango lassai. Two casserole chapters offer easy treats like Mexican Breakfast Casserole and Risotto and Mushroom Casserole. Desserts like Deep-Dish Banana Pudding with Chocolate Sauce are satisfyingly no-frills. The guiding--perhaps, nominal--idea is that the dishes are perfect for gatherings, picnics, and tailgate parties, but they're also suitable for everyday enjoyment. Readers should also note that many of the recipes require Emeril's food products--for which online sources are given, but no descriptions. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
The 10th addition to the Emeril Lagasse cookbook franchise is as uneven as a real potluck dinner: the occasional delicious dish is lost amid all too familiar and unsurprising foods. Admirers will welcome the energetic voice of their favorite TV chef as he "bams!" his way through homey dishes such as Chicken Jambalaya, Macaroni with Four Cheeses, and Tuna Tetrazzini. But it's hard to find anything new, as Emeril retreads ground covered in his earlier books on Louisiana cuisine, party food and cooking for holidays. The "potluck" theme doesn't succeed in tying the book together: though casserole dishes such as Beef Stroganoff and Emerilized Green Beans are ideal potluck offerings, some of the book's most interesting recipes, such as Oysters Rockefeller Soup, Osso Buco with Orzo Risotto, and Olive-Stuffed Leg of Lamb, would be a stretch, especially since there isn't much guidance in helping cooks match such dishes to events. The book's attractive layout and clear instructions are geared to beginners, though there are lapses (a piecrust recipe offers no tips on how to roll out dough; the deviled egg section doesn't even hint how long to hard-boil an egg); and a few recipes, such as Antipasto Pasta Salad, aren't worthy of a chef of Emeril's caliber.
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