There is nothing amateurish about Stop and Smell the Rosemary
, which won first prize in the McIlhenny community cookbook competition for 1996. (McIlhenny are the folks from Louisiana who bring you Tabasco sauce.) The theme of this handsome book is food suited to today's style of entertaining. Dishes are classy and simple. Most are familiar, but with a twist that works. It's hard to go wrong with Ginger Shrimp Toast, any of the fine roasts and stews, or desserts like Pecan Chocolate Chunk Brownies. Recipes are supposedly quadruple-tested and it looks like the Houston Junior League has a passel of good cooks based on the useful hints and technical tips they pass along in side notes. There are recipes with local character, like Texas White Chili and Fried Okra, and distinctive dishes like $10 Hamburgers and Mangaspacho. Think of this book when you need to give a gift.