How, you might ask, can there be any rationale for combining Mexican, Moroccan, French, Thai, and Oklahoma down-home recipes in one cookbook? The answer is family. The Rick Bayless family in this case, he of the PBS cookings, of Chicago's Frontera Grill fame, and author of the enlightening Authentic Mexican, Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, and Mexico One Plate at a Time.
Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures is the combined kitchen and culinary wisdom of a father/chef and daughter/teenager who has grown up in restaurants (much as her dad grew up in a barbecue restaurant in Oklahoma) and has traveled with her parents throughout the world, meeting chefs, exploring markets, tasting exotic treats. Some of those treats were rejected in ways only children can reject foods. Others came home and were folded into the foods a family calls its own and serves again and again. So, the first thing to keep in mind about Rick and Lanie's Excellent Kitchen Adventures is that it is family-tested as well as home kitchen tested.
There are two voices in this book: Rick's (a modulated voice of authority) and Lanie's (the teenage voice of reality). And there are five basic sections that reflect the travels and broad culinary interests of the Bayless Family: Mexico, France, Morocco, Thailand, and Oklahoma. You'll find Huevos Rancheros in Mexico and Dutch Babies in France; Chicken Pie in Oklahoma, and Beef or Lamb Kebabs in Morocco. The Red Curry with Duck (Pork or Chicken) brought home from Thailand looks like a winner. These are do-together recipes, as in work together in the kitchen. Bayless sets apart the do-ahead tasks, then presents the recipe instruction in simple blocks. This dance has been well-choreographed. And what's a dance without a little music. You'll find suggestions for playlists while cooking, as well as suggestions for special treats to find while you are shopping in ethnic markets, things you might otherwise overlook. And then there are the stories. You can taste this cooking experience, and you can read about the life experience, through both the father's and the daughter's lens, of traveling and cooking together. It's the together part that makes this cookbook so special and so encouraging. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Of the myriad lessons to be found here, the most resounding is this: to be the teenage daughter of an internationally known chef is a very good thing. Proud papa Bayless takes his family to Mexico, the land that launched his culinary success via cookbooks (Mexico: One Plate at a Time, etc.) and a PBS series; to his Oklahoma barbecuing roots; and farther afield, to France, Morocco and Thailand. Both writers prepare each recipe, though rarely together, and commentary from the two highlights the pleasures of cooking from the opposite perspectives of seasoned master and joyful rookie. W.C. Fields disliked performing with children for fear of being upstaged, and Mr. Bayless might be wise to take heed. His travelogues are at best ho-hum next to Lanie's, which brim with brutal honesty. "Morocco is a spectacle of wind-swept deserts," he proclaims, while for Lanie, "It was kind of like everywhere else we visited. Except that you had to wash your hands in front of everyone." Recipes for Kebabs and Paella arise from this trip. In Thailand it's Red Curry with Duck and Street Vendor Pad Thai. Dad and daughter tackle Red Mole with Chicken in Oaxaca, assuring readers that multiple ingredients don't always make for a complex challenge. "I really don't know what the big deal is," says Lanie. Photos.
See all Editorial Reviews
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.