Mark Bittman, award-winning author of such fundamental books as Fish
and Leafy Greens
and food columnist for the New York Times
("The Minimalist"), has turned in what has to be the weightiest tome of the year. There are more than 900 pages in this sucker--over 1,500 recipes! This isn't just the big top of cookbooks: it's the entire three-ring circus. This isn't just how to cook everything: it's how to cook everything you have ever wanted to have in your mouth. And then some.
Bittman starts with Roasted Buttered Nuts and Real Buttered Popcorn, and moves right along, section by section, from the likes of Black Bean Soup (eight different ways), to Beet and Fennel Salad, to Mussels (Portuguese-style over Pasta), to Cream Scones--and he hasn't even reached seafood, poultry, meat, or vegetables yet, let alone desserts. There are 23 sections in this cookbook (!) that reflect directly on the how-to of cooking, be that equipment, technique, or recipe.
Every inch of the way the reader finds Bittman's calm, helpful, encouraging voice. "Anyone can cook," he says at the beginning, "and most everyone should." More than a few college kids are going to head off to their first apartments with Bittman's book under arm. More than a few marriages will benefit with this book on the shelf. And anyone who loves cooking and the sound of a great food voice is going to enjoy letting this book fall open where it may. No matter what the page, it's bound to be a tasty and rewarding experience. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
There's a millennial ring to the title of Bittman's massive opus of more than 1000 basic recipes and variations as the widely known food writer ("The Minimalist" is a weekly column in the New York Times) and author (Fish) contributes to the list of recently published authoritative, encyclopedic cookbooks. He concedes that most accomplished cooks will find little new here, and indeed the recipes can be as simple as how to pop corn. His voice is a comfortable one, however, so the tone is less tutorial than, say, that of the newly revised Joy of Cooking. While much of the ground covered is familiar, Bittman offers inventive fare (Kale Soup with Soy and Lime) and reclaims formerly abandoned territory?his Creamy Vinaigrette calls for heavy cream. Pastas range from Spaghetti and Meatballs to Pad Thai. Similarly, sandwiches include both old favorites and fresh combinations, e.g., Curried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich with Chutney and Arugula. Bittman's friends, he says, praise his Chicken Adobo as the best chicken dish in the world. He doesn't linger too long with beef because Americans are eating less of it; he remarks that a well-done hamburger is not worth eating. Vegetables are comprehensively addressed from Artichokes to Yuca, with attention paid to buying, storing and cooking methods well suited to each. Desserts are mostly homey, like Apple Brown Betty and Peaches with Fresh Blueberry Sauce, but there is also a Death-by-Chocolate Torte. The enormous breadth of recipes, the unusually modest price and Bittman's engaging, straightforward prose will appeal to many cooks looking for reliable help with?or reference to?kitchen fundamentals. Illustrations not seen by PW. 250,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo; simultaneous CD-ROM; 15-city author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.