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From the Ground Up Paperback – October 11, 2011

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From the Ground Up + The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Aroud the World for Everyone's Favorite Food
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Editorial Reviews


As any homemaker knows, Villas, the former food and wine editor for Town & Country magazine, drives home the point that once a food substance is ground up, there is very little that cannot be done with it. Here is a sweeping survey of 200 recipes, covering the highs and lows of minced chicken, beef, pork, and seafood. Villas employs dips, loaves, patties, casseroles, and sausages to create a multicultural mosaic that includes everything from gefilte fish to Scottish deviled kidney spread, from Russian salmon croquettes to Cincinnati chili. Along the way, some lost history is also unearthed. It turns out that the original Coney Island dog was actually a bun filled with chopped frankfurter, pickle, eggs, bacon, and sauerkraut, and that a truly authentic croques monsieur calls for the ham to be coarsely ground. Each two-page recipe starts off with a brief paragraph in which the author conveys some historical notes or serving suggestions. This is followed by a succinct ingredients list, and then the preparation instructions, which rarely consist of more than four or five steps. Like a fine batch of hamburger, the book itself is of uniform simplicity and composition throughout. (Oct.) (Publishers Weekly, June 2011)

From the Back Cover

A World Tour of Glorious Ground Meat Recipes with James Villas

No matter where you go, you'll find that the foods people love most tend to be straightforward, flavorful, and affordable. So it's no wonder that from country to country and continent to continent, many of the world's favorite comfort foods are based on simple, inexpensive ground meats. From the all-American hamburger to Curried Chicken Croquettes, from Greek Chopped Lamb Steaks to Scandinavian Jellied Veal Loaf, from Portuguese Gingered Codfish Balls to French Garlic Sausages, ground meat recipes are popular everywhere. In From the Ground Up, award-winning writer James Villas leads a guided tour of the globe's most delectable ground meat dishes, paying loving tribute to the variety and versatility of these underappreciated delights.

Inside, you'll find delicious ground meat recipes for canapés, soups, sides, sandwiches, casseroles, main dishes, sausages, and more:

  • French Duck Liver Terrine with Pistachios

  • Horseradish Shrimp Dip

  • California Lobster and Avocado Salad in Radicchio Cups

  • Shanghai Chicken Congee

  • Turkish Lamb Burgers

  • Scandinavian Meatballs with Dilled Sour Cream Sauce

  • Pennsylvania Dutch Scrapple

  • Norwegian Venison Croquettes

  • Southern Beef Pot Pie with Cheese Biscuit Crust

  • Crabmeat and Mushroom Soufflé

  • Roman Spaghetti Carbonara

  • Jamaican Chicken-Stuffed Plantains

  • Chiles Rellenos

  • Cajun Boudin Rouge

  • Spanish Chorizo-Stuffed Mushrooms


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (September 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470571659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470571651
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born and bred in the South, have 3 university degrees in language and literature (Fulbright scholar), and taught in 3 universities before changing careers and becoming Food and Wine Editor of TOWN and COUNTRY (1972-1999). I've published 15 cookbooks and 4 literary books on gastronomy. My first novel, DANCING IN THE LOW COUNTRY, was published in 2008; my second, HUNGRY FOR HAPPINESS, in 2010; and I'm currently working on a dog novel titled THE BEAGLE PLAYS BRAHMS. My cookbook, PIG: KING OF THE SOUTHERN TABLE, won the James Beard Award for 2010, and my newest one, SOUTHERN FRIED, will be published in 2013. I live in East Hampton, Long Island, where I devote my time to writing cookbooks and fiction and pursuing my love of great music.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dee Long on October 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Leave it to former Town & Country food and wine editor James Villas to come up such a timely topic for our economic times, how to use economical ground meats and seafoods to create great dishes.
From the simplicity of "The Perfect American Hamburger" to the ethnic "Jamaican Chicken-Stuffed Plaintains' and the regionally-inspired California Lobster and Avocado Salad in Radiocchi Cups, "From the Ground Up" covers a wide range of applications for ground meats and seafoods.
Villas has relied on his world-wide travels and solid knowledge of cooking traditions around the globe to offer more than 200 recipes, along with practical tips for doing your own meat grinding at home. Most of the recipes are great for groups or for preparing ahead of time to dole out during the week.
You will never look at a pound of ground beef or turkey in the supermarket case the same again after reading "From the Ground Up" - visions of Scandinavian Meatballs, Cajun Boudin Rouge or Norwegian Croquettes will be dancing in your head instead.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hello Happy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Ground meats are about the most flexible foods around. There's just one problem: What do I do with it for dinner tonight?

Actually, that's no longer a problem, with From the Ground Up. Author, James Villas -- a Food & Wine editor, renowned cookbook author, and James Beard Award winner -- takes us around the world with ever-versatile ground meats, including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, veal, lamb, and even seafood (ceviche, anyone?). And when I say, "around the world", I mean it; the book really is a culinary voyage across the globe, in its 400 pages of mouth-watering recipes.

For instance, in the first of eleven chapters, on Appetizers, Canapes, and Dips, the thirty two recipes range from Boston Clam Dip, to Greek Lamb, Raisin and Pine Nut Spanakopitas, back to Key West for Conch Fritters (yum!) to a Japanese Shrimp Spread with Sake, a French Country Pate, or Singapore Crabmeat and Peanut Toasts.

Other chapters in From the Ground Up include Soups and Salads, Sandwiches and Turnovers, Patties, Balls and Dumplings, Pies, Quiches, and Souffles, Casseroles and Pastas, Hashes and Chilies, Sausage, Sauces and many more.

I think you probably get the idea: without exaggeration, From the Ground Up is THE authoritative work on ground meat dishes of all kinds. Any recipe you've ever had -- or wanted to have -- with any type of ground meat is likely to be found here. And what's more, the recipes are the kind you will actually make, over and over again, with many sure to become family favorites. Now to get busy making Meatballs Stroganoff with that ground round in the fridge... My family is going to love it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By George Erdosh on December 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
//From the Ground Up// would benefit any cook's kitchen library, novice to advanced. Though it has no illustration, it is a handsome trade paperback with clear, large prints and 210 recipes using ground meats of every possible kind. The book is well written, the head notes are excellent and worth reading (even for those who never bother reading them). The introduction is thorough telling you everything you need to know about ground meats. The recipe writing is equally good using logical steps (some of which many recipes writers neglect) and the ingredients are mostly easily available. The serving sizes indicated are designed for very large eaters--in most you can multiply the number by one-and-half and will still have leftovers.||The variety of recipes are astonishing and taken from cuisines around the world; ranging from simple like American hamburgers to complex French pâtés. Occasional recipes (like Coney Island Dogs) don't use ground meat but includes it in the pre-processed ingredient. The type of preparations also covers the cooking spectrum from appetizers to hashes and chilies, even forced meats and sausages. Layout could've been better though most recipes are placed on single or facing pages. The well cross-referenced index is perfect.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By tomiswho on December 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seller performed very well, it's just the book that disappoints. I was hoping for a large collection of casseroles, meat balls, meat loaves, and slow cooker recipes for ground beef and pork. Instead this book is a collection of around the world recipes with ground up everything for all different courses.
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