- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743236815
- ISBN-13: 978-0743236812
- Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cooking for Comfort: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes That Are as Satisfying to Cook as They Are to Eat Hardcover – April 1, 2003
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In Cooking for Comfort, New York Times food-columnist and cookbook writer, Marion Burros, brings her sure taste and rock-solid technique to revisit simple dishes like linguine with red clam sauce, fried chicken, and quiche Lorraine. Burros knows when a good thing isn't quite good enough, tweaking some recipes (her shortbread features blueberries and lemon curd); upgrading ingredients (a Cobb salad made with arugula); or simply doing a major overall (introducing wine to her cream of tomato soup). As someone concerned about health matters, she's also "streamlined" a number of recipes, like coleslaw and potato salad, which can be made with light mayonnaise without compromise. (She also knows when to leave well enough alone, as with her classic coconut cake recipe.) The 100-plus recipes--all approachable--range from breakfast and brunch dishes to desserts, and includes an extended selection on cookies, cobblers, cakes, puddings, and delicious refrigerator sweets like Apricot Mousse and Terrine of Summer Fruit. With chatty recipe introductions and short-take formulas for the likes of Toasted Cheese Sandwiches and Make Ahead Risotto, the book is a welcome addition to the everything-old-is-new-again canon. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
We live in "a time of enormous uncertainty," writes Burros (The New Elegant But Easy Cookbook; Eating Well Is the Best Revenge) in the introduction to her latest cookbook, but "dinner can help us forget about that." After September 11, Burros says, people reevaluated the pleasures of homey comforts, and they longed for old-time favorite foods like Sloppy Joes, Chicken Cacciatore, Twice-Baked Potatoes and Lemon Meringue Pie. The veteran chef and New York Times columnist polled family, friends and foodies to offer recipes for cozy carb-filled foods to remind us of simpler days. Even finicky cooks will delight in dishes long on the Grandma-factor with a dash of nouvelle cuisine for good measure-chives instead of onions in the Matzo Balls; portobellos or shiitake in Mushroom Barley Soup, phyllo crust for the Chicken Pot Pie. The slim volume is packed with stick-to-your-ribs dishes, and while Burros does take care to include ways to lighten some of the recipes ("streamlined versions," she calls them) this is not a book for dieters. It's too bad the book has no pictures, but blithe prose detailing each recipe largely makes up for the lack. (In addition to dishes for which she provides actual recipes, she also gives directions sans ingredients lists-for Toasted Cheese Sandwiches, Cheese Omelet, the Perfect BLT, etc.) A giddy collection of appetizers, entrees and desserts, this book includes dishes destined to cheer up chefs or armchair culinary enthusiasts, no matter how world-weary. Wine suggestions and a sources list round out the offerings.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Burros' anecdotes and recipe history notes prove that she is a born writer and editor with thorough research and appropriate accreditation with the added style of her own familial stories.
The help notes, step by step instructions and substitution sidebars can turn any kitchen neophyte into a chef! She even shares restaurant secrets (these are the secrets & hints restaurant chefs won't even write in their own cookbooks.)
Having a party and want easy, delicious recipes that have your guests humming or just a good old fashioned dinner that reminds you of Grandma? Cooking for Comfort is your answer.
This has all that covered in addition to clear instructions, aids and source helps if needed.
The selection is sure to deliver many of your favorites and then some from a wide selection of ethnic groupings, course offerings, and tastes. There are some Tex-Mex, Italian, Hungarian, etc.
Personally, those for "Cocktail Sauce for Shrimp; Maryland Crab Cakes; Lobster Roll; Jim Brady's Prize-Winning Goat Gap Chili; Chicken Potpie with Phyllo Crust; Lemon Meringue Pie; Caramel Apple Tart and Pineapple Upside Down Cake" got my comfort attention and appetite to come um up.
This is down to earth cookbook to benefit all who want to cook up some pleasing recipes that will not strain wallet or cooking skills, yet provide bounteous, good food.
Nice to have had some photos, but recipes themselves conjure up great mental feasting.
Would make great gift for new bride or college bound.
There may be a sense in which the limelight for culinary journalism has passed from the New York Times' printed word to the hotter TV Food Network with its stable of star hosts. In most direct competition to Ms. Burros would probably be `Gourmet's' Sara Moulton, Ina Garten, or the spectacularly prolific Rachael Ray. What is unfortunate is that a cursory look at this book's title gives the impression that it is addressing the same interests as Ms. Ray's '30 Minute Meal' rubric. The fact that Rachael actually wrote a book entitled `Comfort Food' strengthens this association. This is not, however, the case. Ms. Burros has created a very special type of cooking perfectly evident when one pays close attention to the title. Her point is not to give us a book of recipes for comfort food, but a book of recipes that are comforting to make.
It is not too hard to appreciate that a dish that appeals to none of your family will not be too comforting to make. Therefore, almost all of the classic `comfort foods' will also be comfortable to make. That is, a dishes popularity will contribute to the comfort one experiences in the act of making it. A second characteristic of foods which are comforting to make are those which require a fair amount of effort, producing a dish in which one can take great pride in having successfully made this food. It follows from this that these recipes are NOT about quick cooking. A third characteristic I gather from Ms. Burros' selection of recipes is that the dishes are either familiar to American amateur cooks (blueberry pancakes, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, spaghetti with marinara sauce) OR the dishes are interesting selections from world cuisines (Spanish tortilla, Onion soup, Greek Salad, polenta).
In fact, as I look through the list of recipes, I get a strong sense of similarity between this book and two recent `Most Famous Recipe' books, `the greatest dishes!, around the world in 80 recipes' by Anya von Bremzen and `The Cook's Canon, 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know' by Raymond Sokolov. Oddly, I think that while these two books are great for foodies, Ms. Burros' book is specifically written for non-foodies. In this regard, she does share some common ground with the prolific Ms. Ray. Another way in which they differ, however, is that Ms. Burros' directions are much more meticulous, with lots of helpful hints on technique, serving, and wine accompaniments.
I think Ms. Burros' biggest problem, aside from the perceived or actual competition from both Food Network luminaries and New York Times colleagues is that her subject is so ordinary. Why in the world do I want to pay even $20 for a book of 100 recipes, 70% of which can be found among the 4500 recipes in the `Joy of Cooking' or the 2500 recipes in `James Beard's American Cookery'. Any American who cooks probably owns one or the other of these two volumes. In the end, it is probably her one big idea that makes the book interesting. The book is important because it can inspire one to get more enjoyment from your cooking and it gives recipes to help you do that.
Overall, I thing the selection of recipes is excellent, making this a great book for those who endorse that other great non-foodie doctrine of the importance of finding `a few good recipes' and learning them well and doing them well. One problem I believe most amateur food enthusiasts may experience is that they may not appreciate the pleasure in repeating a recipe and doing it well because you have done it before and have gotten all the kinks out of your technique. They are much more interested in tracking down and trying a new Thai recipe using lemon grass or galangal rather than making that same old James Beard London Broil recipe again, regardless of how good it tastes or how easy it is to make.
Ms. Burros' recipe for chili, for example, may not be quite as elaborate as a prize winning recipe reported by Robb Walsh, it is, I believe, a much tastier chili than the Pierre Franey recipe I did for many years before the foodie bug got me and I saw other approaches which used cubed rather than ground meat. Just one example of how well thought out is Ms. Burros' presentation of these recipes can be found in her suggestion to adjust the seasoning of the chili after it has been retrieved from the deep freeze. Another insider's tip is to check the heat in the Jalapenos to see if more or less are needed to suit your taste.
If I were to offer any ideas for Ms. Burros' next book, I would suggest she leave out the food processor and any other high end equipment from her recipe procedures. As I believe her primary audience is the occasional cook, I suspect people in this group may not have $300 food processors. And, if they do have them, they probably don't use them often enough to get the best use out of them. At the very least, I would offer an alternative to the food processor method.
I would also leave off or improve the list of sources in the back of the book. I have to love a list that cites Lou DiPalo and his Manhatten Little Italy store, but DiPalo's is best known for its fresh mozzarella and ricotta, for which Ms. Burros gives a different source. You can get good Parmigiano-Reggiano in any megamart.
Strongly recommended for non-foodie weekend cooks.