General cookbooks like Mitchell Davis's 600-recipes-packed Kitchen Sense can't help but raise a question--in a world with The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything, to name two such tomes, is another such book wanted? On the yes side, Davis has provided a nicely edited selection of homey, easy-to-do recipes--old favorites like baba ghanoush, tuna casserole, frisée aux lardons, and chicken cacciatore, plus more unusual formulas, such as Seared Scallops with Warm Pomegranate Vinaigrette, Chipotle-Rubbed Turkey Breast, and Grilled Lamb Chops with Salsa Verde. Sweets include the likes of Bourbon and Bread and Butter Pudding, Salty Chocolate Sablés, and Peach Galette and Pumpkin Chiffon Pie, as well as old standbys like strawberry shortcake and chocolate chunk cookies. Kitchen Sense's well-written recipes might easily form the backbone of any cook's repertoire. Present also are notes to help readers better understand ingredients and techniques, as well as advice on advance preparation and what to do with leftovers, among similar matters. Davis's approach is both casual and informed, which is exactly right for the kind of book he's aimed to write.
On the no side--well, we've visited many of the book's recipes many times before, and in versions that could be called, to the extent that it's possible, definitive. It remains for the reader to decide which book and author he or she feels most comfortable with--whose recipes jibe most closely with personal liking. For many, Kitchen Sense will offer just the right combination of good taste, technical ease, and recipe soundness to make it a trusted kitchen helper. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
A labor of culinary love is evident from beginning to end in this thorough and inspiring collection of recipes written by Davis, a professor of food studies at New York University and on staff at the James Beard Foundation. Chapters are arranged by subject (such as "Grains," "Poultry" and "Meat") and include enticing and well-explained dishes that run the gourmet gamut from American comfort foods such as Macaroni and Cheese to ethnic fare such as Shu Mai (dim sum dumplings) and Pastitsio. Baked goods include Scones, Eggplant Focaccia, and Lavender Cookies. Useful features include "Kitchen Sense" (concise highlighted boxes covering such topics as party planning, ingredient measuring and artichoke trimming); advance prep and leftover tips, which accompany recipes; and an enlightening section on how to read recipes. Even with the noticeable absence of illustrations, this is a timeless and solid collection cooks of all levels will want within easy reach in the kitchen. (June)
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