This is not a new cookbook, but there is a reason why it is has remained popular since it first appeared in 1982. As far as I’m concerned, the main reason is the cakes. Yes, the ratatouille is wonderful, and the Tarte Saint-Germain is delicious, but who offers cake recipes like this in these calorie conscious times? That is to say, it does not exactly seem like you could eat a lot of their cakes without showing some effects, but if you just exercise self-control (ha ha, a little humor there) you won’t regret it!
For example, ordinarily, I wouldn’t pick banana cake out of a pile of cake. But their banana cake is moist and lush and covered in scrumptious cream cheese frosting. The same frosting goes on their carrot cake, which is the best I’ve ever had, even though I omit two of the ingredients, coconut and pineapple. (You can easily find the recipe from the cookbook for this popular cake online, such as at this site. And by the way, it calls for pureed carrots. As if I would use, and therefore have to wash, the food processor. I buy baby food carrots. That counts as pureed, right?)
Most of the recipes are accompanied by something extra: a color photo, a suggested menu, or a quote (“…I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread” from William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost” and my sentiments exactly. Well, maybe not the sharing part, but definitely the gingerbread part.) There are also intermittent sections with background information about food, such as an explanation of the different kinds of olive oil, or a review of the differences among various mushrooms or salad greens. Occasionally there are anecdotes by the authors about a recipe or advice on cooking techniques, such as cooking bacon or making the perfect omelet.
Evaluation: There is a wealth of information in this colorful cookbook, and everything I have tried in it has been outstanding.
Twenty-FifthAnniversary Edition Published by Workman Publishing, 2007
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