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    $16.47 $14.99 list($24.95)
    1. Take Big Bites: Adventures Around
    $153.30 $122.50 list($210.00)
    2. The Cambridge World History of
    $10.50 $8.60 list($14.00)
    3. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures
    $21.00 list($35.00)
    4. On Food and Cooking : The Science
    $16.50 $12.95 list($25.00)
    5. Dishing : Great Dish -- and Dishes
    $10.36 $5.50 list($12.95)
    6. Like Water for Chocolate : A Novel
    $10.17 $5.75 list($14.95)
    7. Tender at the Bone : Growing Up
    $10.46 $7.49 list($13.95)
    8. Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures
    $37.80 $13.15 list($60.00)
    9. Michael Broadbent's Vintage Wine
    $17.00 $16.48 list($25.00)
    10. A History Of The World In Six
    $20.47 $20.46 list($32.50)
    11. I'm Just Here for the Food: Food
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    12. In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy
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    13. American Pie: My Search for the
    $28.35 $25.99 list($45.00)
    14. Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary
    $17.13 $14.95 list($25.95)
    15. What Einstein Told His Cook 2:
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    16. A Cook's Tour : Global Adventures
    $32.97 list($49.95)
    17. Crave: See Touch Smell Hear Taste
    $18.87 $17.25 list($29.95)
    18. Becoming a Chef
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    19. Eating My Words : An Appetite
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    20. Schott's Food and Drink Miscellany

    1. Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table
    by LindaEllerbee
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0399152687
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
    Publisher: Putnam
    Sales Rank: 127
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The celebrated journalist, producer, and bestselling author takes us on a remarkable culinary journey through "a life lived interestingly, if not especially intelligently."

    Linda Ellerbee's first two books were instant classics: And So It Goes, a hilarious, unblinking look at television journalism that spent months as a bestseller; and Move On, a wry, intimate look at a woman in her time that became a milestone in autobiographical writing. Now she takes us both farther afield and closer to home in a memoir of travel, food, and personal (mis)adventure that brims with warmth, wit, uncommon honesty, inspired storytelling . . . and a few recipes as well.

    In Vietnam, preconceptions collide with the soup. . . . In France, lust flares with the pbti and dies with the dessert. . . .In Bolivia, a very young missionary finds her food flavored with hypocrisy . . . while at the bottom of the Grand Canyon an older woman discovers gorp is good, fear is your friend, and Thai chicken tastes best when you're soaked by rain and the Colorado River.

    From Italy to Afghanistan, from Mexico to Massachusetts, Ellerbee leads us on a journey of revelation, humor, and heart."What can you say about Linda Ellerbee?" Ted Koppel once wrote. "The woman is raucous and irreverent and writes like a dream." Take Big Bites proves it again.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A spectacular tour de force
    It is rare to stumble on a book that you know is going to be a classic. Linda's latest reminds me of A J Liebling's already-classic saga of Paris dining, Between Meals. Liebling, too, was a journalist-gourmet. But Linda's book is possibly greater than Liebling's (and his is one of my favourites). Ellerbee has been everywhere and tasted everything. A Texan who was "going large" long before it was fashionable, and who has probably the most interesting address book in the world, her amazing empathy for people and her eye, ear and tastebuds all become the grist for some exquisite writing. Her respect for others, self-mockery, love of adventure and occasional sharp tantrum makes Take Big Bites a genuine literary achievement. Dare I propose that Ellerbee should be taken more seriously as an important American writer(I write this as a Brit). If Ellerbee had not become a TV star, she would have made plenty of reputation for herself with words alone. The charm of her TV scripts was always her clarity and precision - something not common in that industry. This book shows Ellerbee once again in perfect command of her stories. It is a memoir, a cook book, a statement of love for the world and its people, toldin a unique voice. Buy this book and you will feel happier. This is not really a five-star book by the somewhat devalued standard of these evaluations, it is a perfect 10. Did I mention that I love this book?

    3-0 out of 5 stars Small Bites Are OK, Too
    I remember Linda Ellerbee on Overnight, a late-night TV newscast that was considered ground-breaking at the time, before CNN. The news was serious, but she and her co-anchor, Lloyd Dobyns, seemed to be taking it all with a grain of salt, enjoying their gig while all the grown-up anchors were asleep. It was fun to watch reporters who weren't taking themselves too seriously.

    For the most part, Ellerbee maintains that attitude in Take Big Bites, but it's a bit difficult when you've been through a few marriages, breast cancer, and reporting from war zones. Take Big Bites isn't exactly a memoir, it's a collection of essays and memories of places she's been, people she's met, food she's eaten. You can take it in order, or skip around, as Ellerbee has done.

    I suggest small bites, contrary to Ellerbee's advice. A little bit of Ellerbee goes a long way. Her first encounter with pho,Vietnamese noodle soup is amusing, and so is her reaction to Singapore. But there is a bit too much homespun philosophy for my taste, as well as James Taylor lyrics. I like JT as much as anyone who came of age in the Seventies, but quoting him this much seems like an odd 'blast-from-the-past'.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A delicious must read!
    Ellerbee's escapades as she dines her way around the world is hysterically funny. It is a laugh-out-loud read about the life of one of Amercia's great journalists and greater writer.Her personal observations and honesty touch your heart and give a compelling insight into what makes this woman an icon. ... Read more


    2. The Cambridge World History of Food (2-Volume Boxed Set)
    list price: $210.00
    our price: $153.30
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0521402166
    Catlog: Book (2000-11-14)
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Sales Rank: 34094
    Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Have the French always enjoyed their renowned cuisine? When did Russians begin to eat pirogi? What was the first Indonesian spice to be cultivated elsewhere in the world? Questions such as these make for good Jeopardy material, but they're far from trivial--just ask anyone with a passion for good food and a curiosity for where that food originated. That person will know instinctively that the best way to approach a culture--and, indeed, the human animal--is through the stomach. For this individual, The Cambridge World History of Food will be something of a bible, and the best of gifts.

    A massive scholarly tome in two volumes and more than 2,000 pages, the CWHF encompasses a wealth of learning that touches on nearly every aspect of human life. (It also reveals the answers to the three earlier questions: No, French cuisine as we know it is a 19th-century development; in the 16th century, following the conquest of the Volga Tatar; ginger, in colonial Mexico.) Thoroughly researched and highly accessible despite its formidable layout, the set addresses a groaning board of topics past and present, from the diet of prehistoric humans to the role of iron in combating disease; from the domestication of animals to the spread of once-isolated ethnic cuisines in a fast-globalizing world. Of greatest interest to general readers is its concluding section--a dictionary of the world's food plants, which gives brief accounts of items both common and exotic, from abalong to Zuttano avocado.

    The product of seven years of research, writing, and editing on the part of more than 200 authors, The Cambridge World History of Food promises to become a standard reference for social scientists, economists, nutritionists, and other scholars--and for cooks and diners seeking to deepen their knowledge of the materials they use and consume. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not quite all the world
    If you are hardcore into food history this book is for you. The articles are done in a dry academic style but are absolutely full of information. Folks who are into nutritional or food anthropology will have hours of reading before them. Be prepared, the articles are long.

    The food dictionary section is not as detailed as say the Oxford Dictionary of Food but it is still good.

    The main complaint that may be raised is the fact that there are some foods that are ignored or not given their own specialty article. I was surprised to see only wine was covered for alcoholic beverages in great detail while a general article on "distilled beverages" covered the rest of the alcohol world. Folks hoping to find a detailed discussion on beer or other grain based drinks wil have to look elsewhere.

    Do not expect any recipes. Instead, you will find academic articles on a variety of topics all related to food. It is not as comprehensive as one may think but it is very WIDE none the less. It is a monumental work and deserves a great deal of praise.

    Highy recommended for the collection, but you will think that there should have been more. Buy other great reference books as well to round out your collection and your information.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Truly Awesome Resource
    These two hefty volumes comprise on the most useful generally-accessible material history resources I have ever seen. It contains dozens of articles on just about every aspect of food in cultural history. The entries range from essays on what early human begins ate to essays on specific foods (Oats, Chili Peppers, Soybeans, Ducks, etc.) along with some entries on foods that are somewhat surprising (Algae, Dogs, etc.). There are entries on vitamins, on beverages, on food deficiently diseases and eating disorders. On top of that, there are articles on the foods of different regions around the world. There are entries on nutrition, on fads and on the political implications of foods. There really just aren't any angles these volumes have overlooked.

    The articles are written by different contributors, so there is not much consistency from piece to piece, but overall they are well written, engaging, informative, and generally lots of fun. I can't recommend this book strongly enough.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Taking a class with the editor
    Argghhhh I have Kenneth Kipple for a teacher, arghhhhh. The greatest use of this book is in the bibliographies at the end of the chapts. Skip the articles and look for the books in the bibliography.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Food for thinking with
    Part of the dissatisfaction among some reviewers is that this book is not a light, cheerful cook-book/dictionary. For those who want something more along those lines, there are plenty of light-weight volumes that purport to tell the story of this or that cooking tradition with lots of nice glossy pictures and maybe more than three accurate facts if you're really lucky. Try Jane and Michael Stern's road trip food voyages for example.

    This two volume set is not for the faint of heart. It is a book for the enthusiast and the professional food historian alike: people who are looking for the social, biological and historical context to the food they enjoy. It is not completely encyclopaedic and there are a few inaccuracies in the identification of plant names and such but these are minor quibbles in the face of the sheer comprehensiveness of the work and the undoubted scholarly care that has gone into its preparation.

    I for one appreciated the early chapters on the archaeology of food. People tend to forget the time depth that surrounds eating as a human activity. This is not surprising in a modern world that emphasizes fast food over aesthetics or knowledge. It's my observation that those who are most interested in food purely as a consumable item seem to have little interest in where it really comes from. For example, one of the great tragedies of modern industrial living is the increasing absence of knowledge of or even respect for the fact that real animals died to provide you with your McChicken Burger, or your Poached Sole in Tuscan Orange Sauce.

    This book is an invaluable reference. I recommend it to all my students in my Anthropology of Food and Eating class, and I myself use it all the time. The Oxford Companion to Food is also a fine volume, and while it is sometimes more useful with regard to specific foods, it is much lighter on analysis and unneccesarily flippant in places. I would recommend that you buy both the Cambridge volumes and the OCF. Together they almost completely fill the reference spot on the bookshelf of the serious student of food.

    To dine well is to touch the face of God

    3-0 out of 5 stars A warning note
    This is a bumper book, stuffed with good articles by leading authorities in the field. As other reviewers have pointed out, this is a relatively dry volume that concentrates overmuch on archaeology and evolution (well documented elsewhere) and not enough on food history, on which there is a huge amount of misleading literature.

    Sadly these volumes require a warning notice for their dictionary of plant foods (a hefty part of the book: pages 1711-1889). Evidently a last-minute attempt to widen the appeal of the book, this is woefully and grossly inaccurate. For example, pink peppercorns are wrongly identified as Piper nigrum, rather than Schinus terebinthifolius (and their mild toxicity is not noted either). Almost every entry in the directory is wrong or questionable. There is further evidence of underinvestment in editing elsewhere in the book; for example, botanical names are not consistent between chapters.

    Most readers would fare much better with Alan Davidson's amusingly written, comprehensive and (above all) accurate "Oxford Companion to Food". This Cambridge volume belongs on library shelves - where it will occasionally be very useful. ... Read more


    3. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
    by Anthony Bourdain
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060934913
    Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
    Publisher: Ecco
    Sales Rank: 1035
    Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Most diners believe that their sublime sliver of seared foie gras, topped with an ethereal buckwheat blini and a drizzle of piquant huckleberry sauce, was created by a culinary artist of the highest order, a sensitive, highly refined executive chef. The truth is more brutal. More likely, writes Anthony Bourdain in Kitchen Confidential, that elegant three-star concoction is the collaborative effort of a team of "wacked-out moral degenerates, dope fiends, refugees, a thuggish assortment of drunks, sneak thieves, sluts, and psychopaths," in all likelihood pierced or tattooed and incapable of uttering a sentence without an expletive or a foreign phrase. Such is the muscular view of the culinary trenches from one who's been groveling in them, with obvious sadomasochistic pleasure, for more than 20 years. CIA-trained Bourdain, currently the executive chef of the celebrated Les Halles, wrote two culinary mysteries before his first (and infamous) New Yorker essay launched this frank confessional about the lusty and larcenous real lives of cooks and restaurateurs. He is obscenely eloquent, unapologetically opinionated, and a damn fine storyteller--a Jack Kerouac of the kitchen. Those without the stomach for this kind of joyride should note his opening caveat: "There will be horror stories. Heavy drinking, drugs, screwing in the dry-goods area, unappetizing industry-wide practices. Talking about why you probably shouldn't order fish on a Monday, why those who favor well-done get the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel, and why seafood frittata is not a wise brunch selection.... But I'm simply not going to deceive anybody about the life as I've seen it." --Sumi Hahn ... Read more

    Reviews (390)

    4-0 out of 5 stars He's become what he disdains
    I enjoyed most of KC, including the childhood reminisces, the cooking tips, and the dining hints. As with other reviewers, I know when not to order fish, what kitchen tools are truly essential, and, most importantly, what goes on behind the kitchen doors (at least at some restaurants).

    Two things grated on me, however (pun sort of intended). First, Bourdain has obviously read a lot of Hunter S. Thompson, and tries to style his writing after the original Gonzo journalist, but it's very difficult to mimic Thompson. The references to whacked-out, drug abusing, thieving kitchen staff were entertaining for awhile but began to wear thin 2/3 of the way through the book.

    Second, Bourdain expresses contempt for a particular celebrity chef. Although he never mentions Emeril Lagasse's name, we know who he's talking about. He never gives a basis for such contempt, however, and fails to give credit where it is due. Before they were celebrity chefs, Lagasse and a few of the other Food TV folks spent years and years honing their craft and doing perfectly legitimate and respectable work.

    The kicker, however, comes when I see advertisements for -- you guessed it -- Anthony Bourdain on Food TV! I saw the first of his Cook's Tour series. It was mildly interesting. But the irony was more than delicious -- the Emeril-basher doing a 22-part celebrity chef series on television!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Marvellously informative, hysterically witty!
    I laughed out loud at least ten times while reading this book. Tony Bourdain is SO very witty and has such an amazingly conversational style of writing, it's like sitting around having drinks and swapping anecdotes with a very funny old friend. I have a friend who is a chef in San Francisco and I always thought that it was just *him*, but now I realize that most, if not all cooks are like him! I can't wait to give him this book. He's a filthy-mouthed pervert who speaks constantly of sex and drugs, dishes out the crudest Spanish slang I've ever heard from a white guy, works six days a week, changes restaurants every few months, dresses like a pirate, has a shaved head, usually *stinks* of onions and body odor, and makes the most wonderful food I've ever tasted. He has more knowledge of, and passion for good food, than anyone I've ever met. So it was with him in mind that I read Tony Bourdain's account of his life, the kitchens he's worked in, the characters he's met along the way, how things *really* work behind the kitchen doors of most restaurants. Absolutely fascinating read. I give the book 4 stars, not 5, simply because the chapters are kind of schizophrenic at times, though all are good. One is about a friend of his, the next will be about kitchen slang, the next about some other seemingly unrelated subject. It's all kind of thrown together hodge-podge, but it never annoys,and it all does work quite well in the end. A definite recommendation.

    3-0 out of 5 stars those crazy cooks
    I just finished this book and really couldn't put it down, but at the same time I thought the author came off as really pompous: 'I've had the most interesting life and I just feel like talking about myself.'
    I've worked in restaurants before and to tell you the truth, I really wasn't all that shocked by the behavior of his degenerate kitchen staff. Guess what? Kitchens all over the world are plagued by these oddball screw-ups, so tell me something I don't know! And it was rather annoying how the author kept throwing out names all over the place. I got the feeling he was trying to make me feel inadequate because I have never heard of some of the famous chefs he refered to. Well, mission accomplished. I wonder who this book is directed at? It obviously is an ode to the restaurant industry. But I think people who haven't worked in the industry will no doubt pick it up and be lost at sea.
    At times I could not ignore the Lou Reed-ishness of this guy: A bad, don't-mess-with-me attitude but at the same time he's hoping people will read his book and propel him to greatness... but it was well-written and interesting, just like any Lou Reed song.
    A pet peeve: Pay a good editor to weed some of your commas out; there are only so many of them in the earth's atmosphere.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great stuff!
    This book recapitulates the life of Anthony Bourdain, a New York City chef. Bourdain describes how he decided to become a chef, and his training, from washing dishes for a Provincetown surf-and-turf, to studying at the Culinary Institute of America, to boot camp with Bigfoot, an unnamed New York City restaurateur from whom he learned how to survive in the big leagues. He introduces us to the backrooms of a busy restaurant kitchen, where we meet the people who prepare the fabulous food, learn about their tools and slang, and begin to get an inkling about the daily responsibilities of a head chef.

    Thanks to his French heritage, Bourdain had learned to appreciate superb food as a youngster, and his parents had the resources to send him to any college he chose. Bourdain, however, likes to live on the edge, and his desire to live life to the fullest and push the limits soon led to multiple drug dependencies and heavy alcohol usage that kept steady employment difficult to maintain for a time. Remarkably, though not detailed exactly how in this book, Bourdain managed to beat his addictions, and has gone on to become not only a talented executive chef, but also a successful novelist and writer in his spare time. How anyone could even find spare time in a chef's life as he describes it is unfathomable- -Bourdain obviously thrives on stress and challenges.

    The pace of the book is relentless- -it's one of those volumes that you can race through in a single day, not allowing anyone to interrupt you. Bourdain's language is not for everyone though- -he accurately records the words that are said behind the kitchen doors, so if you are squeamish about sex or take offense easily, this book is not for you.

    This book confirms the importance of knowing who is cooking your food. After all, food is something you put inside your body, so it is a real act of trust to consume something that someone else has prepared. It's remarkable that many people are quite content to let total strangers prepare their food. Why would anyone frequent fast food restaurants where most of the cooks are teenagers with no talent or interest in food preparation, doing it all for minimum wage? At least in kitchens like Bourdain's, although some of the cooks may be oversexed drug addicts with filthy mouths, only those who can consistently achieve high cooking standards manage to stay on. Bourdain also reminds us to use our heads when placing our orders. After all, when you tell the waiter what you want, the food isn't just going to appear on the plate out of thin air when the cook snaps his fingers. If the fish market isn't open on the weekend, then Monday isn't a great day for ordering fish. Today's luncheon special may indeed contain leftovers from last night's menu. Some items take longer than others to prepare- -hence shouldn't be ordered at five minutes before closing. This book provides a fascinating perspective on what it's like to study at the CIA, how an executive chef spends his time, and what may be happening behind those closed doors at your favorite restaurant.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Much more than "No Fish on Mondays"
    Reading Tony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" for restaurant tips is like reading Hemingway for travel pointers---by focusing on the mundane, you'd be missing a lot. Bourdain is not only a fascinating character, he is also one hell of a writer, and maintains a delicate balance between outrage and outrageousness at all times. He's one of my favorite writers, period, and I've never paid more than $50 for a meal in my life. Not that Bourdain doesn't write expertly about food and especially the emotional and sensual joys of eating-he's among top modern food writers like Ruth Reichl and Jonathan Reynolds in combining expertise and literary skill. But unlike many upper-crusty food journalists, he also gets into the polyglot and hedonistic culture of the kitchen, an often hysterical portrayal that rings true to this former dishwasher. If you've ever spent time in a restaurant in any capacity, you owe yourself this book. ... Read more


    4. On Food and Cooking : The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
    by Harold McGee
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $21.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0684800012
    Catlog: Book (2004-11-23)
    Publisher: Scribner
    Sales Rank: 23
    Average Customer Review: 4.73 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is a kitchen classic. Hailed by Time magazine as "a minor masterpiece" when it first appeared in 1984, On Food and Cooking is the bible to which food lovers and professional chefs worldwide turn for an understanding of where our foods come from, what exactly they're made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new and delicious.

    Now, for its twentieth anniversary, Harold McGee has prepared a new, fully revised and updated edition of On Food and Cooking. He has rewritten the text almost completely, expanded it by two-thirds, and commissioned more than 100 new illustrations. As compulsively readable and engaging as ever, the new On Food and Cooking provides countless eye-opening insights into food, its preparation, and its enjoyment.

    On Food and Cooking pioneered the translation of technical food science into cook-friendly kitchen science and helped give birth to the inventive culinary movement known as "molecular gastronomy." Though other books have now been written about kitchen science, On Food and Cooking remains unmatched in the accuracy, clarity, and thoroughness of its explanations, and the intriguing way in which it blends science with the historical evolution of foods and cooking techniques.

    Among the major themes addressed throughout this new edition are:

    • Traditional and modern methods of food production and their influences on food quality
    • The great diversity of methods by which people in different places and times have prepared the same ingredients
    • Tips for selecting the best ingredients and preparing them successfully
    • The particular substances that give foods their flavors and that give us pleasure
    • Our evolving knowledge of the health benefits and risks of foods

    On Food and Cooking is an invaluable and monumental compendium of basic information about ingredients, cooking methods, and the pleasures of eating. It will delight and fascinate anyone who has ever cooked, savored, or wondered about food. ... Read more

    Reviews (44)

    5-0 out of 5 stars On food chemistry
    This is a remarkable book on why and how foods react the way they do. Though chemistry plays a large part in the understanding of food that McGee imparts (it has to), it is very basic and a short primer in the appendix tells you all you'll need to know. Because cooking and food underlie our very existence, and also because they are great sources of pleasure, the topic cannot but be fascinating. However, the mystification of food abounds, and the facts are hard for most people to verify. ON FOOD AND COOKING is a book that can be read straight through or as a reference, but will always increase your knowledge of how foods work.

    It is comprehensive, historical, and scientific, and McGee's aim is to inform the reader enough so that s/he can cook, and also so that s/he can make decisions about food that are intelligent. Not only does he discuss pretty much any type of food you can think of, he also discusses artificial additives, nutrition, and digestion. And although the book was written in 1984, the advice he gives is always sound and cautious. Food is understandable. If you love watching PBS cooking shows, this book will enhance your knowledge of what the cooks are doing. If you love watching the food network... well, there is probably less to understand, but it will still enhance your viewing. In any case, if you love cooking and food, it is difficult to overlook a book of this magnitude.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The bible of food science
    First and foremost: this is NOT a cookbook. Do not buy this book if you are looking for casserole recipes. But, if you are interested in the science of why food does what it does, this book is indispensible. It is rather dense, and is difficult to read straight through, but if you ever wonder, say, what the difference between AA and A grade eggs is, and why the white turns from clear to opaque when you apply heat, On Food and Cooking is well organized and makes a great reference. Considering its low price, every cook should have it around. It will change the way you think about cooking. It includes some interesting historical tidbits as well.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Dense, but worth the effort
    I purchased this book on the tangential advice of Michael Ruhlman's "The Making of a Chef" -- it was one of the three Bibles of Cooking, if I remember correctly. As a scientist and a foodie/gastronome, I found this book fascinating and worth the effort of slogging through the tougher, denser, meatier bits.

    Mmmm, collagen.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A textbook on cooking
    This is an excellent book on the science of cooking, for those interested in learning the reason behind cooking. If you want to a reference book for your cooking and baking, get this book. I am sure this is in Alton Brown's library. It is fascinating just to thumb through it and read various sections just for the trivia value.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Essential reading
    Anyone who is serious about the craft of cooking needs to read this book. Anyone else will find it dreadfully irrelevant. This book is best explored as a cover-to-cover read, in my opinion, but seeing as there's not much of a plot to pull you along (duh), only those with a keen interest in food and/or science will be able to make it to the end. ... Read more


    5. Dishing : Great Dish -- and Dishes -- from America's Most Beloved Gossip Columnist
    by Liz Smith
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743251563
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 1649
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    Book Description

    This juicy extravaganza of a book is at once a star-studded memoir, a mouthwatering reminiscence about great food and great meals, and a very special kind of cookbook by Liz Smith, bestselling author and surely America's most beloved gossip columnist (indeed, perhaps the only gossip columnist ever to be universally beloved). Here, great dish and great dishes are artfully blended with anecdotes and spiced with Liz's inimitable sense of humor, instinct for a great story, and joie de vivre to produce a life-loving, sometimes bawdy, and always utterly captivating read.

    As everybody knows, nothing goes better with a good meal than a little juicy gossip, and no one puts the two together better than Liz Smith, the acknowledged grande dame of gossip, who traces here her gradual education in haute cuisine, as well as her unashamed taste for down-home, stick-to-the-ribs cooking.

    When it comes to food, Liz Smith has seen it all (and eaten much of it). She has watched Nicole Kidman devour a basket of bread before a full dinner at New York's glamorous Four Seasons restaurant and not gain an ounce. She has eaten al fresco off the hood of a car with Mike Nichols. She has been tempted by fattening cookies sent by Renée Zellweger. She has talked biscuits and gravy with Julia Roberts and eaten Elizabeth Taylor's trademark Jailhouse Chili and Chipped Beef à la Krupp Diamond.

    No food snob, Liz Smith revels in such dishes as Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich (peanut butter and banana) or Frito Pie (you'll love both these once you've tried them). But she is equally fond of haute cuisine, of four-star restaurants, and of great gourmet experiences. She shares with the reader all this and much, much more, eating, as she puts it, "high and low on the hog," from her favorite Chicken-Fried Steak recipe to Deep-fried Turkey (real men deep-fry a turkey, they don't roast it) and her classic Lobster Rolls recipe, with a pause for her advice on how to make the perfect margarita to wash it all down. From Kate Hepburn's brownies to pigs' feet, Liz not only names names but shares their most treasured recipes, as well as taking the reader on a gourmet tour of great meals.

    As Liz herself says, "Reading about food is the next best thing to eating it. People seek companionship, comfort, reassurance, a sense of warmth, and well-being from food. Maybe they can get some of that from this book." ... Read more


    6. Like Water for Chocolate : A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies
    by LAURA ESQUIVEL
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $10.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 038542017X
    Catlog: Book (1994-02-01)
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 5972
    Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in tum-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. ... Read more

    Reviews (359)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Secrets of Romance and Tasty Tit-Bits
    Like Water For Chocolate is an enchanting, wondrous novel set to capture the heart of the reader. The secrets of the life of young, mexican woman Tita De La Garza are revealed in funny, romantic and tasty ways. When Tita and Pedro set eyes on each other it is love at first sight, but as the air to a cruel family tradition Tita is denied the right to marry. A forbidden love between the two forces bossy, selfish Mamma Elena to act fast. For the next 22 years Tita and Pedro are condemmed to hover in a forbidden love. With the help of metaphors the novel paints the developement of a young wild teenage girl to a young woman wallowing in romance, magic, food and irresistable characters. Set on a typical ranch in Mexican history revolving around family, weddings, food and men on horseback. An easy to follow book presenting magical ideas, jogging the imagination. Worthwhile to read as you get lost in the plot and the muddled life of the De La Garza family.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The power of emotions
    "Like Water for Chocolate" combines the techniques of magical realism with sensual romance and magnificent cooking to create a truly unique novel. We are taken through the life of Tita De La Garza, the passionate woman stuck between a forbidden love and the wrath of her traditional mother. We follow her through her struggle to find love and individuality while balancing her extraordinary gift to enchant the kitchen. Through the monthly installments in the novel you will get a small taste of what life was like in the twentieth century in Mexico yet also see the world through the intense emotion that guides you through the pages. The vivid symbols of heat and fire permeate the novel and arouse strong emotions of lust and love. If the intensity of the novel does not keep the pages turning then the recipes that are uniquely woven into the story surely will. I recommend this novel to anybody who is interested in a quick read that keeps you coming back every time you put the book down.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a feast of the 5 senses, come to life
    besides the excellent recipes wholly printed in the book version, here is my review of the movie, which is not as detailed nor able to be prolonged but is true to the book (unlike other movie versions of books in which some stuff is changed):

    after you watch this movie, you will either want to eat, cook (preferably one of the mentioned recipes), make love or all three! i saw the version dubbed in spanish, and also read 3 selected chapters from the book, for spanish class. it's a work of art and genius, and it must be watched all the way through without stopping. the characters are excellently portrayed, and it combines love, feminism, drama, sensuality, lust, hope, passion, and humour, topped with cultural tradition and folklore. i don't know which one is better, the book or the movie. all of the 5 senses are provoked on a deep and perhaps even primal level, especially taste and smell, feverishly yearning for a sum greater than their overall parts (gestalt) - which brings up the sixth sense, intuition.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Book To Read
    Like Water For Chocolate is a good book to read because of the unique way of story telling. The characters in the book are very interesting. Tita is the youngest child of her family and tradition has it that she may not marry and that her duty is to take care of her mother until she dies. Tita falls in love with a young man in her local community, but can't stand the fact that she cannot do any thing about it. Titas mother (Elena) a very religious person who is very strict about following religious believes and following all the rules and traditions, prohibits Tita to see or have relations with Pedro the man of her dreams. The story takes the character Tita through many difficult struggles, and hard decisions. The story has many twist and turns and the ending has a more significant meaning than other stories. Furthermore I though the writing was well done with good understanding by the narrator. I thought It was a clever and brilliant idea to include a recipe of a food item described in that chapter for every chapter, not only that but the chapters are organized by the mouths in a year, from chapter 1 (January) to chapter 12 (December). The author does a great job incorporating the mouth and recipe into each chapter. Another notable aspect of this book is the use of magical realism or exaggerated symbolism. There are many examples of this throughout the whole book. The ending of the story also incorporates the use of magical realism. Overall this is a great book that you can come to enjoy and appreciate. I strongly recommend this book for a good relaxing afternoon reading.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Water and Chocolate-easy to swallow
    Like Water for Chocolate combines a mystical tale of family legend and lost love with intriguing recipes and stories of Tita's life and love. Laura Esquivel tells the story of Tita through the narrator, Tita's great-niece, and by choosing to divide the chapters into monthly increments, each with a recipe that corresponds to that chapter, she created a book that was not only easy to read, but very hard to put down. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys tales of family, love, growing up, and learning to be your own person while still remaining a part of your past and your heritage. The book was very entertaining and both avid readers and the inexperienced, young and old, male and female would find it a pleasure to read. ... Read more


    7. Tender at the Bone : Growing Up at the Table
    by RUTH REICHL
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0767903382
    Catlog: Book (1999-03-02)
    Publisher: Broadway
    Sales Rank: 4482
    Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    At an early age, Ruth Reichl discovered that "food could be a way of making sense of the world. . . . If you watched people as they ate, you could find out who they were." Her deliciously crafted memoir, Tender at the Bone, is the story of a life determined, enhanced, and defined in equal measure by a passion for food, unforgettable people, and the love of tales well told.Beginning with Reichl's mother, the notorious food-poisoner known as the Queen of Mold, Reichl introduces us to the fascinating characters who shaped her world and her tastes, from the gourmand Monsieur du Croix, who served Reichl her first soufflé, to those at her politically correct table in Berkeley who championed the organic food revolution in the 1970s.Spiced with Reichl's infectious humor and sprinkled with her favorite recipes, Tender at the Bone is a witty and compelling chronicle of a culinary sensualist's coming-of-age. ... Read more

    Reviews (83)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A delicious autobiography
    In this autobiography, Ruth Reichl, the longtime food critic for the NY Times, now the editor in chief at Gourmet, explains how she came to love food. The book weaves a tapestry of stories, including some about her mother (dubbed the Queen of Mold for serving completely unpalatable dishes) and her early childhood (how an early trip to Paris and her time spent at a French-Canadian boarding school influenced her tastes) to her adulthood, working in a collaborative kitchen and becoming friends with influential foodies.

    The stories are often laugh out loud funny, and some are very touching (her mother's manic behavior is explained later in the book). The book allows the reader to see Reichl's influences and her deep love of food through the stories, without Reichl ever coming out and saying "these are my influences."

    Food lovers in particular will probably adore this book, but lovers of autobiographies will probably also enjoy it. The book is not about food, exactly, but about a woman's coming of age (and part of that coming of age is that she simply loves food and the art of its creation).

    A delicious read--I couldn't put it down.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A lovely souffle of a book
    Light, yet rich and tasty. Restaurant critic Ruth Reichl's memoir is all of these. Easy to read, yet filled with insight and well-rounded characters. The author's mother suffered from manic depression, and one way it manifested itself was in bizarre - and often downright poisonous - culinary creations. The author describes herself as having been shaped by her mother's handicap, beginning at an early age to use food as a way of making sense of the world. She effectively conveys this food-sense in a series of funny and poignant tales that take us from her childhood in New York up through young adulthood in California. She lovingly introduces the significant people in her life, revealing them to us in how and what they cooked. Her stories are punctuated by recipes (I didn't cook any of them, but they look like they should work).

    The author is equally effective when she moves away from the table to tell more directly of her relationships with friends and family. She describes some episodes that could be seen as time-bound clichés - living in a commune, working in a collectively managed restaurant - with a perspective sometimes lacking in baby-boom memoirs. She brings similar good-humored perspective to her mother's mental illness and her own struggle with anxiety attacks, never wallowing in graphic description of symptoms. You don't have to be a "foodie" to enjoy TENDER AT THE BONE, just a lover of warm, tender memoirs.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Disturbing!
    I found the authors travels more interesting than her descriptions of eating or cooking. Much of her cooking tales personally turned my stomach. I suppose I'm glad that I'm not familar with her New York Times reviews. The recipes included in the book were either bizarre sounding or rather simplistic. Save for the soufflet recipe, I'm really not tempted to try any of them.

    It took until page 54 for me to really get into the book. I had five abortive attempts at starting the book before I finally got to a point where I was interested enough to keep reading. It was at the point that she went to the boarding school that I wanted to continue. Again it was for the traveling and not the food.

    To top things off I had the joy of reading this book while traveling for the holidays. My mother-in-law and mother both did things that reminded me of Ruth's mother. In the case of latter, it was to see if years old preserves that no longer had the consitency of preserves were still etible. For the former, it was to cook a meat dish that smelled okay but was gray in color. She also then made a strange vegetable dish that had all sorts of things mixed together that just don't seem like they should go together. Both dishes actually tasted fine but they sure looked strange! Perhaps if I hadn't been reading Tender at the Bone at the time I wouldn't have been so put off by them. In the case of the preserves, my mother in law came to her senses before actually eating any.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Worth a read
    A memoir about a food writers coming of age through her experiences with food. Her descriptions of food are tantalizing and the recipes sprinkled throughout tempting. I enjoyed reading about the variety of her exposures to food and found it a well written and easy to read memoir. However, the parts about her early life were much more interesting and engaging. She seems to back off on detail and engagement as she grows older and her adult wanderings and accidental entry into the world of food writers is less interesting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars First of Two Scrumptious Memoirs. Highly Recommended
    Ruth Reichl is one of the most influential figures in American culinary journalism today, as Editor in Chief of 'Gourmet' magazine for the last several years. Her influence may not be as great as that of Craig Claiborne, but that was probably a once and gone opportunity. The American culinary scene is too big for any one or two people to dominate it the way Claiborne and Beard did in the 1960's, 70's and 80's.

    This book, 'Tender at the Bone' is the first of two memoirs by Reichl. Their charm will be eagerly anticipated by anyone who reads Reichl's monthly editor's column in 'Gourmet'. These two books are cut from the same primal stuff, with the additional spice of material too personal to warrant the pages of a national magazine.

    Reichl grew up with a mother with habits which offer as compelling a motive to land in the food business as the very skillful cook / hospitality businesswoman who bore James Beard. In Reichl's case, her mother was just the opposite. She was quite capable of serving food so poorly preserved as to poison her guests. Reichl, as a little girl, had to become skillful in preparing food just to protect her own life and the lives of visitors to her family's house.

    In many other regards, as one reads this tale of Ruth's life as a small girl in the early 1960s through her start in culinary journalism in San Francisco in 1977 just at the time when the zeitgeist was leading people such as Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower to create California Cuisine at Chez Panisse and other venues.

    Two fascinating questions are raised in my mind by this book and its sequel 'Comfort Me with Apples'. The first is what it is about Reichl that compels her to reveal so many intimate details about her life and family. I am wondering if there is a writer's gene that propels one to lie out for all the world to see what an odd life one has lead. In spite of the wonder, I am immensely grateful that Ms. Reichl has done so, as the revelations are immensely entertaining. The second question is the wondering of how I may have turned out with the same experiences.

    I encourage you to bring Ms. Reichl and her very odd family into your experience. You will be richer for the encounter. Since I regret I cannot know Ruth personally, this is the next best thing. Like many other culinary memoirs, this book includes recipes to highlight incidents in Ms. Reichl's life. As Ruth also happens to be an excellent cook, the recipes simply spice up an already very filling meal. ... Read more


    8. Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table
    by RUTH REICHL
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375758739
    Catlog: Book (2002-04-09)
    Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 10182
    Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In this delightful sequel to her bestseller Tender at the Bone, Ruth Reichl returns with more tales of love, life, and marvelous meals. Comfort Me with Apples picks up Reichl’s story in 1978, when she puts down her chef’s toque and embarks on a career as a restaurant critic. Her pursuit of good food and good company leads her to New York and China, France and Los Angeles, and her stories of cooking and dining with world-famous chefs range from the madcap to the sublime. Throughout it all, Reichl makes each and every course a hilarious and instructive occasion for novices and experts alike. She shares some of her favorite recipes, while also sharing the intimacies of her personal life in a style so honest and warm that readers will feel they are enjoying a conversation over a meal with a friend. ... Read more

    Reviews (71)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing honesty, incredible book
    It seems to me that if you're going to write a memoir, you need to be prepared to offer your readers a "warts and all" account instead of whitewashing your life. Ruth Reichl does that here -- obviously a lot of people were upset by her revelations of extramarital affairs (and don't forget, her first husband played around even more than she did), but she is honest with her readers, and I admire that.

    I was a big fan of Reichl's first volume of memoirs, TENDER AT THE BONE, and this continuation of her story captivated me from start to finish with its beautifully written accounts of great meals, wonderful chefs (including Hollywood star Danny Kaye), and Reichl's personal ups and downs. I loved the chapters set in exotic locales like China, Thailand and Spain, as well as the stories about Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters. The story ends with Reichl's pregnancy as she is living in L.A. and working as the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times. Obviously much has happened since then, including her stints as a reviewer for the New York Times and her current position as editor of Gourmet magazine. That leads me to hope that there will be a third volume of memoirs before too long -- I can't wait!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Delicious
    Thank goodness the waiter slipped coffee into my decaf. Yes, I was up all night, but it gave me time to read "Comfort Me With Apples" in one huge, delicious sitting. If you read and liked Ruth Reichl's previous memoir, "Tender at the Bone," then run out and get this one--it's better. And if you haven't read Tender at the Bone, then get this anyway, or just make your life better and get both.

    I'd initially shied away from reading this book because sophomore efforts are rarely as good as the originals, because the first few pages, when I scanned them, looked awfully dreary (all those Berkeley folks giving Reichl a very hard and preachy time of it, complaining that her new job as a restaurant reviewer means selling out), and because of some negative reviews on Amazon. Now that I've reread those reviews, I'm surprised--some people seem to have read such a different book than I did.

    But I just figured out what the problem must be. Reichl is a devoted foodie and food writer, but she is also an eloquent and moving memoirist. If you've come to her work looking for insight only about food, go elsewhere (I suggest Jeffrey Steingarten's The Man Who Ate Everything, or AJ Liebling's Between Meals). But if your interested in lives--women's lives especially--and how they intertwine with careers and passions (Reichl's passion being for food among other things), get this. Reichl is definitely and consciously writing in the tradition of MFK Fisher, who used food as a prism to write about a thousand other things.

    Reichl's chief story line is about her career as a restaurant critic and a reporter on the scene of the great revolution in Californian (and hence American) cuisine. Contrary to one reviewer, I didn't think she's telling this story to show off; her insights about Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck, Fisher, and others are worthwhile and fascinating. Her subplot is her personal life--divorce and remarriage, the death of her father, the adoption and loss of one child and the birth of another. In the hands of another writer these personal details might be mawkish or dreary; I found them wonderfully engrossing.

    Of course there are problems with the book. I agreed with many others that tales of trips to China, Thailand, and Barcelona at times seemed more like magazine articles than a coherent part of a memoir. Unlike others, I didn't like the recipes at the end of each chapter; I found it intrusive to go from an emotionally wrenching description of the end of an affair, for example, into chirpee cookbookese ("count on a pound of asparagus per person. Buy the fattest stalks you can . . . ") The memoir parts of the book could have been slightly more self-reflective; Reichl needn't show regret she doesn't feel for the affairs she had during her marriage, but it would seem natural to acknowledge them as something the merest bit more troublesome than the decision about which main course to choose at La Tour d'Argent. Nevertheless, the book overall was wonderful, warm, lusty, passionate, filling, generous, and evocative. I recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in food, life, or love.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
    I was SO disappointed-- this woman, for all her publishing credits, does not write well about food! All those descriptions of how cheese and foie gras "explode" in her mouth (as if to emphasize that the author is a "sensualist", sensualist with a capital S-- yeah, we get it, especially after she describes how she passionately falls in and out of affairs...) By the last hundred or so pages I was skipping over all the meal descriptions because I knew what was coming: first, surprise; then, the feeling of something exploding in your mouth; then, either a fight or a love interlude...

    I was also wondering whether, in the food publishing world, it is considered OK to sleep with your editor--? And she was getting really plummy assignments from him. This DID bother me...

    Oh well, at least she was honest. I hope the editor was apprised that his role in her career was going to be laid out for all to see in the pages of her "memoir"...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Reichl imparts hope and inspiration
    This book is beautifully written. The honesty with which Reichl shares the joys and pains of her early professional career, and her ongoing exploration of food and of herself, will offer comfort, hope and inspiration to any reader, regardless of their understanding or passion for food. This is a book that reaches beyond the kitchens' of "foodies" and into all of our lives to offer us an outlet to contemplate the place of confusion, pain, and longing that so often co-exist along side happiness, excitement and fulfillment. Through Reichl's writing, readers are offered an example of how to look inwards at ourselves, and outward at the world, with compassion.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Well, at least she cooks
    Tender at the Bone was a good book. Comfort Me with Apples was not. I finished Bone wanting more, and finished Apples wishing I'd stopped after one course. ... Read more


    9. Michael Broadbent's Vintage Wine
    by Michael Broadbent
    list price: $60.00
    our price: $37.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0151007047
    Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
    Publisher: Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 55024
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Unquestionably unique, demonstrably delightful, Michael Broadbent's Vintage Wine is the culmination of one of the most extraordinary careers in the world of wine. Michael Broadbent quite possibly knows more about fine, old wines than anyone else alive, and he writes about them with unparalleled expertise.
    Hired by Christie's in 1966 to revive their wine auctions, Broadbent threw himself into his work, searching out great collections of the world's finest wine--and keeping meticulous tasting notes. Here are evocations of Chateau d'Yquem from 1784--one of Thomas Jefferson's favorites--and hundreds of vintages and thousands of wines right up to the present.
    Years of "cellars visited and pillaged, involving the checking and packing of dust- and grime-laden bottles in distinctly dank and chilly conditions," jet-set auctions around the world, legendary tastings and society events, have all helped to create an unrivalled store of vinous anecdotes as well as an unsurpassed wine-tasting history.


    EXCERPT

    From a tasting of 1784 Chateau Yquem:
    "The most renowned vintage of the late 18th century and well-documented thanks mainly to the original copies of the letters and orders of Thomas Jefferson. . . . Jefferson did not trust wine merchants and insisted on bottling at the chateau. . . . The wine has a warm mahogany-amber colour with a pronounced yellow-green rim. Initially, the nose, unsurprisingly, was creakingly old but after fifteen minutes settled down to reveal a remarkably rich, tangy, honeyed scent."
    ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of Wine's Grand Old Men
    By Bill Marsano. We can divide wine drinkers into three classes. Ordinaire Joe, who'd rather drink wine than talk about it, is here advised to flee: This book will bore him stupid. The Wine Geek is just the opposite; for him wine is an excuse to prattle about clonal selection and hints of toffee on the nose. He'll love this book--will take it to bed with him. It is a gold mine of tasting notes covering many decades and innumerable wines from most regions of the world. The emphasis is on France, with Germany a distant third (there is no second), Italy a distant fifth (there is no fourth) and everybody else reduced to odds and ends. There's lots of stuff on champagne and port, too--a quintessentially British slant.

    Never mind: The author, Michael Broadbent, is British, and the British have always leant that way. He is also one of the Great Men of Wine: revitalizer of Christie's wine auctions since 1966, writer, advisor, globe-trotting taster and collector of anecdotes and memories. In Japan such a person is officially labeled a Living National Treasure.

    That makes this book of value and interest to the third class of wine drinkers--the Sub-Geek (or perhaps wannabe) who recognizes that his enjoyment of wine can be enhanced by a little more knowledge of its history and traditions, its lore and learing, its famous places and personages. There's a lot of that in this book, and it's always modestly and charmingly delivered. The reader must patiently winkle it out, however. It's all wrapped up in sidebars among those endless pages of tasting notes (about 500 of them) and is sometimes hidden inside individual tasting notes themselves.

    This is the sort of book that will grace a shelf for a long time. There's no possibility of reading straight through it, and that's the wrong approach anyway. This book sits and waits for those late evenings with a last glass and an inquiring mind. It is to be leafed through for the pleasure of Broadbent's company.
    --Bill Marsano is a wine and spirits writer who has won a James Beard medal and other awards.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A reading indulgence.
    Even if you haven't / will not try most of the wines tasted by MB, the mere description of the wines in his unique British style will make your taste buds shiver. A pleasure for all wine lovers - everything else put excellently well by the previous reviewer.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sweet Dreams are Made of These
    I first fell under Mr. Broadbent's spell during my earliest days as a fledgling sommelier. His slender volume, Michael Broadbent's Complete Guide to Wine Tasting and Wine Cellars (1982) has long been, like they say about middleweight boxers, pound-for-pound the best book I've ever read about appreciating wine. When the wine auction scene arrived in Chicago in the mid-eighties. I can still remember attending some of the first few events at the University Club, sponsored by Christie's and conducted by the legendary MB. I was overwhelmed watching him lead auctions, but way too shy and in awe of him to introduce myself.

    Because MB is a wine tasting hero. He's quite possibly the most accomplished wine taster in the world, certainly when it comes to Bordeaux, and heir to centuries of Britain's dominance as the arbiter of European and thus the world's best wines. This book, Vintage Wines, is a compilation of tasting notes spanning his career. It presents notes on thousands of wines in MB's impeccable, staccato style in which he is often able to elucidate the innate character or value of a wine in a few succinct phrases, along with his 0-5 star rating system. It also weaves in wonderful details of vintages, wines, and people he has known and loved.

    Mr. Broadbent is a classicist, by which I mean his definition of quality predates Robert Parker's arrival on the wine scene. Inconceivable as it may be to many Americans, good wines were both made and enjoyed before Parker redefined the terms. Which is not to say that Parker adds no value to the debate, it's just that more modest authorities like Mr. Broadbent advocate a traditional style of wine making in which the individual character provided by soil and climate is given its expression rather than the creation of souless fruit-bombs. Finesse, breed, elegance, typicity, potential to improve with age, but most of all drinkability and compatibility with food are the hallmarks of great wines for Mr. Broadbent.

    Nothing illustrates the comparison better or helps you understand why you would want to consult MB's notes more than a look at the ratings of the same wines presented by MB's Vintage Wines, the Wine Spectator, and the Wine Advocate.

    Chateau Pavie, 2000. Very deep, velvety; tobacco-like, sweaty tannins;sweet ,full-bodied, charred and tarry taste. Impressive, but I much prefer the late Jean-Paul Valette's Pavie, which was so much more drinkable. For me. **. For wine competitions and our American cousins, (*****). (Michael Broadbent)

    "2000 Chateau Pavie (St.-Emilion): This is a super model of a wine. Super grapey, with red licorice and perfumed aromas. Full-bodied and very tight, with racy tannins and a sleek finish. Best wine of the hillsides of St.-Emilion. Lasts for minutes." 95-100 Points - Wine Spectator, March 30, 2001

    "2000 Chateau Pavie (St.-Emilion): With no shortage of confidence, Gerard Perse feels the 2000 is the greatest Pavie ever produced. Premature you say? Don't discount the proprietor's rhetoric. A blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, it is a backward, super-concentrated effort displaying an inky purple color, and a thrilling bouquet of minerals, black fruits, vitamins, and toast. It possesses a wealth of fruit, glycerin, and extract as well as high levels of tannin, and a finish that lasts nearly a minute. It will undoubtedly close down after bottling, and not be close to prime time drinking until 2010 or later. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2050." 96-98 Points - Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s, The Wine Advocate, Issue 139

    Are they all talking about the same wine? Who is right? Only you can be the judge. While this happens to be a wine that MB doesn't much care for, you can get a good feeling for how his notes work. It's important to point out that he is definitely willing to call a spade a spade when he doesn't like a wine and the book has many such graceful and witty putdowns.

    Back to the book itself. The book is arranged by wine growing region, and while it touches all corners of the wine world, the pages devoted to each area are a telltale sign of where Mr. Broadbent's passion and experience lie. For example, here are the regions with the most notes, with pages in (): Red Bordeaux (150), White Bordeaux (46), Red Burgundy (58), White Burgundy (29), Germany (50), Italy (18), California (35). Each chapter starts out with a few paragraphs of background and then presents the notes, all arranged by vintage from the oldest to the most recent. Fortunately, the book was published in time to allow him to include some notes from the heralded 2000 Bordeaux vintage.

    I think it would be fair to say that Mr. Broadbent has access to and gets to taste a lot higher quality of wine than most of us, so many of the reviews are probably for wines that we will never see let alone get a chance to try. He starts each Bordeaux vintage with the first growths and the Burgundy vintage with DRC wines, such that if I bought a single bottle of each in one vintage it would cost more than I spend on wine in total in a good year.

    So that brings us to the downside of this wonderful compendium. What is it good for? If you're a die-hard MB fan like me, it's a treat to enter his world and vicariously taste yourself through his lifetime in wine. For others, it will prove valuable if you've got the money and inclination to buy great wines at auction (and avoid some over-rated clunkers). Even then, it's not by any means exhaustive, and if you're buying anything but the best of the best you can't always find what you want. For many of us it's a little like having your nose pressed against the glass, wishing that just once we'd get to taste (or even smell!) the 1945 Latour that MB has tasted and dutifully logged 28 times.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Vintage Wine Guide
    This is indeed Broadbent's best work to date. He combines his 50 years of experience to rate wines from the 17th century to 2001 Vintages. Each page includes everything from average price to serving suggestions for dinner. This is a great book for the aspiring beginner as well as the seasoned expert. ... Read more


    10. A History Of The World In Six Glasses
    by Tom Standage
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $17.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0802714471
    Catlog: Book (2005-06-01)
    Publisher: Walker & Company
    Sales Rank: 453
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    From beer to Coca-Cola, the six drinks that have helped shape human history.
     
    Throughout human history. certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period.

    A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.

    For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.
    ... Read more

    11. I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking
    by Alton Brown
    list price: $32.50
    our price: $20.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1584790830
    Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
    Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang
    Sales Rank: 91
    Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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    Alton Brown, host of Food Network's Good Eats, is not your typical TV cook. Equal parts Jacques Pépin and Mr. Science, with a dash of MacGyver, Brown goes to great lengths to get the most out of his ingredients and tools to discover the right cooking method for the dish at hand. With his debut cookbook, I'm Just Here for the Food, Brown explores the foundation of cooking: heat. From searing and roasting to braising, frying, and boiling, he covers the spectrum of cooking techniques, stopping along the way to explain the science behind it all, often adding a pun and recipe or two (usually combined, as with Miller Thyme Trout).

    I'm Just Here for the Food is chock-full of information, but Brown teaches the science of cooking with a soft touch, adding humor even to the book's illustrations--his channeling of the conveyer belt episode of I Love Lucy to explain heat convection is a hoot. The techniques are thoroughly explained, and Brown also frequently adds how to augment the cooking to get optimal results, including a tip on modifying a grill with a hair dryer for more heat combustion. But what about the food? Brown sticks largely to the traditional, from roast turkey to braised chicken piccata, though he does throw a curveball or two, such as Bar-B-Fu (marinated, barbecued tofu). And you'll quickly be a convert of his French method of scrambling eggs via a specially rigged double boiler--the resulting dish is soft, succulent, and lovely. But more than just a recipe book, I'm Just Here for the Food is a fascinating, delightful tour de force about the love of food and the joy of discovery. --Agen Schmitz ... Read more

    Reviews (116)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best
    Alton Brown is the mastermind behind the Food Network's show, "Good Eats". As "Good Eats" success began to blossom, Alton decided to try his hand at a book. As fans began to wait in anticipation of "I'm Just Here For The Food: Food + Heat = Cooking," it was assumed that this book would be a take off from his show "Good Eats". However, it is not, but does show you what Alton enjoys most of cooking - the science, the understanding of what goes on in the kitchen.

    The book's chapters are divided into cooking processes, such as grilling, braising, microwaving and more. In each chapter, he explains the type of heat, what method is best for applying this heat and some recipes as examples. By understanding the heating process, and thus, the science behind cooking, the more in control of each meal or recipe you will be.

    He explains scientific terms in a manner in which a layman can understand. He also explains those unspoken rules to cooking that most cookbooks do not explain, either from the assumption that you went to culinary school too, or because the writer did not know these rules either.

    His usual humor and wit is ever present in this book. In fact, you feel like Alton is actually reading the book to you! He uses his own terms for things, such as "software" (food), "hardware" (pots, pans, and utensils) and "application" (cooking process). He even has funny diagrams and photographs in case you wanted an extra chuckle.

    Also included in this book is an explanation of ingredients, such as the varieties of butter: unsalted, clarified, whipped, buttermilk and margarine. So, if you were at all confused, you will no longer be.

    At the end of the book, he includes recommended reading, so we can be just as smart as he is, plus places to purchase our food and supplies!

    And not only was this a great book, it received a James Beard Award in 2003 for the Best Reference Book! So, you just have to buy it now, because! Seriously, if you want to understand more about what is going on in your kitchen, and how to enjoy your cooking, buy this book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Funny & Informative Read on the Hows & Whys of Cooking
    Sure, you can follow a recipe, but did you ever wonder why it says to "rest" a cut of meat after cooking? Or how exactly to properly sear or saute something? Or do you follow instructions and end up with dry, overcooked, or otherwise inedible food nonetheless? Then Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking is definitely for you.

    Alton's tone makes the book a quick and enjoyable read. Capturing the essence of his Food Network program "Good Eats" in printed form, the book's text is often funny and always informative. Illustrations accompany the text in strategic locations, including one particularly funny one demonstrating the consequences of poor safety when deep frying.

    The book covers the basics from searing to grilling to broiling to cooking with water (steaming, simmering, etc.) and frying. Each section explains the processes at work and the reasons each technique should be used and why they work. Whereas other texts do cover the same techniques as this book--and some even delve into the hows & whys behind the various methods of cooking--Food + Heat = Cooking makes the explanations readable and memorable without coming across like a textbook.

    Fans of Brown's show on Food Network will certainly want the book. However, don't buy this book if you're looking for lots of glossy, yummy photos of food. Do buy it if you can't get recipes to work correctly or find their directions unclear or just want to improvise on occasion and have your dishes turn out great. Although the book does contain quite a few recipes, its true value is in the techniques and the whys & hows of cooking.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and Entertaining
    I don't consider myself a chef, but I love to cook, and people love what I cook. This wasn't the first cookbook that I read from cover to cover either. However, I have never enjoyed a cookbook quite so much. It is very entertaining and informative. I've been cooking for years, and yet, I learned so much from this book. I learned some new cooking techniques, and although I was already familiar with quite a few of the techniques that Alton Brown uses, I learned why I do it that way. My picata recipe only varied slightly from Alton's but his was definitely an improvement! I really think men would read and use this cookbook more than any other. I will probably be getting a copy for my son. There are a few typographical errors that I've discovered as a transcribe some recipes into my recipe program, such as 1/4 tsp ground in the Marinated Flank Steak Recipe. I decided to ignore that ingredient, and my recipe still turned out fine. I don't think he meant dirt...did you, Alton? Anyway, I still give it 5 stars and recommend it highly!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hey, Alton, where's the sequel?
    Really great book, one that everyone should own. Fans of "Good Eats" will appreciate it even more. I have two complaints: The book is very big and heavy, so I had to make a special place for it on one of my cookbook shelves; a lighter book would be easier to handle. I also would love to see Mr. Brown write a similar book that focuses on the many sweets he has done on his program: ice cream, pie, fudge, etc.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This books makes curious people better cooks
    If you better understand *how* when you know *why*, and you learn best when entertained, I'm Just Here for the Food is your cookbook. It's actually better stated as a how-to-cook book organized by method of heat transmission, with some exceptions such as the chapter devoted to eggs. All the publishing details are done right here also, such as the index, bookbinding, color, readable typeface, and useful appendices and equipment and safety.

    Using sound science sugar-coated with humor, I'm Just Here for the Food aims to fulfill the adage that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for day; teach him to fish, and you've fed him for a lifetime. Alton may not teach you how to fish, but count on learning how, when, and why to grill, braise, fry, bake, poach and more.

    This book is a perfect companion to his "Good Eats" TV show, as he uses and recommends the same techniques and tools throughout without being redundant on the recipes. Unlike some of his TV chef counterparts, Alton generally employs ingredients and utensils found well within a modest budget, and he doesn't clown around with flashy but impractical dishes meant to delight barking-seal audiences.

    Beyond an excellent introduction to the culinary arts, this book is a flat-out milestone achievement in creative interdisciplinary education. If food and science were taught like this in US schools, America would be a nation of genius gourmands. Most importantly, however, it will arm you with the knowledge to cook up some seriously Good Eats. ... Read more


    12. In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin
    by Cara Desilva, Bianca Steiner Brown, Michael Berenbaum, Cara De Silva
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $25.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1568219024
    Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
    Publisher: Jason Aronson
    Sales Rank: 109794
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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    Of all the documents of the Holocaust, this cookbook compiled from memory by the female prisoners at Terezin, a way station to Auschwitz, may be the most remarkable. The Terezin prisoners recalled and wrote down their recipes for chocolate torte, breast of goose, plum strudel, and other traditional dishes not because they thought they might ever need them--they were surviving on scraps and potato peels at the time--but as a testament to the future, so that their grandchildren might receive a fragment of their inheritance. The manuscript found its way in 1969 to Anny Stern, the daughter of Mina Pachter, whose poems on barracks life are also included. ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Awful, awful, and even more awful.
    This is hands down the worst book I have ever purchased. It is neither a cookbook, nor a historical portrayal. It seemingly cannot make up its mind on what it wants to be.

    There are about 50 "recipes" if you can call them that. None have been updated, and none are complete. Measurements are in grams and 99% have absolutley no instructions - the "recipe" is just a list of ingredients. For the few that do have instructions, those consist of comments like "make like dumpling" as the ONLY instruction for the entire recipe. Do not purchase this book if you are looking for a historical cookbook, as not one single recipe is useable.

    There are plenty of good historical cookbooks. This is not one of them. There are also plenty of good history books, which this is also not one of - unless you count about 35 pages of poorly written drivel a history lesson. This book has absolutely no direction, and no value. Could not be more disappointed...

    5-0 out of 5 stars from Terezin concentration camp
    This book is a testimony to the towering reaches of the human spirit. In the midst of the horrors of Terezin, surrounded by suffering, deprivation, and death, hungry women recorded recipes of warmth, comfort, and abundance. They remembered cooking delicious meals, serving delicacies and caviar, making aspic, cooking many varieties of dumplings. The hand-written cookbook they put together demonstrates that although the Nazis held their bodies captive, their spirits remained free, drawing strength and nourishment from their memories of happy days and fully-laden tables. Despite the wretched conditions of the camp, these women dared to hope for a time when they could return to their kitchens and once again rejoice in feeding their families.

    This haunting book will bless your life. ... Read more


    13. American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza
    by Peter Reinhart
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1580084222
    Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
    Publisher: Ten Speed Press
    Sales Rank: 7542
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Baking bread is mysterious enough. But creating truly great pizza--the transformation of next to nothing into something extraordinary--is downright alchemical. It is for no small reason that there are distinct words in Italian for those disciples of these mystic arts who bake pizza and focaccia, pizzaiolo and focacciaiolo. Peter Reinhart, he who gave us Brother Juniper's Bread Book and the multi-award winning The Bread Baker's Apprentice, takes the reader of American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza right into the heart of the matter.

    Reinhart begins his inquiry into pizza with his baseline palate memory for what a great pizza should be. As a teenager he had worked in a pizzeria, Mama's, and instinctively knew this pie to be the best. Returning as an adult years later, he discovered otherwise. Had he changed, or had the pizza changed? Both, it happened, were true.

    So what is the nature of perfection, and where do you go to find it? In the case of Peter Reinhart, this journey includes travels through Italy and across the US. This is Part One of the book, called The Hunt. It's not the most enlivening travel writing, which would have helped elevate the insights into the nature of great pizza and the people who make it happen. But it's only a third of the entire package. The best is yet to come. In Part Two: The Recipes, Reinhart comes entirely into his own. Here is the master at work. Chapters include "The Family of Doughs", "Sauces and Specialty Toppings," and "The Pizzas." Reinhart gives you the building blocks, no matter what your kitchen, tools, and oven might be like. And then he unfolds the roadmap--pizzas from the strictly classical to the strictly whimsical.

    Work diligently with American Pie and in time you will be able to call yourself, without hesitation or rising color, pizzaiolo and focacciaiolo. --Schuyler Ingle ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The perfect book for perfect pizza
    I have loved pizza for more than 50 years and Peter Reinhart's American Pie is nearly as good as any pizza I've had from San Francisco to Naples. His recollections of pizza from his youth to his travels around the U.S. and Italy in search of the best pizza kept me turning the pages while my mouth watered for another "perfect" pizza. I learned of new pizza destinations, even nearby, and new versions to try at home. But most important I learned what it takes to make great pizza. It might be the reason why so many people who make their own in my backyard wood-fired oven say it is the best they've ever eaten.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Master Pizza cookbook
    Peter Reinhart became my baking idol after baking from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice". I couldn't imagine that he could write a book that could top that one, but he did with "American Pie".

    Once you try grilling pizza you'll never go back to spending 1 hour preheating your baking stone. It is the best way to make a pizza. Don't let it intimate you...the dough want fall into the fire. I was able to achieve great results with a gas grill.

    Everything that I've tried was delicious and can't wait to try the rest of the recipes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Peter Reinhart is THE best!
    After reading and using the recipes in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, Peter Reinhart became one of my favorite cookbook authors. American Pie is a beautiful book, with entertaining stories about his quest for the perfect pizza, and the best recipes for pizza you can hope for. Reinhart is "the" father of Bread, and all his books are masterpieces not to be missed by serious or amateur bakers wishing to accomplish the very best results.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A quest for pizza perfection
    Pizza. Short word full of memories. Peter Reinhart brings us along his culinary journey to find the perfect pizza. Travelling through Italy and the US he lets us sample the different types of pizza: Roman, Napoletana, New York style, etc. As a keen reader of his other works I know that this guy knows what he is talking about. It is hard not to dribble over the pages! The book instructs you on how to make the different types of pizza crusts, sauces and toppings, as well as how to get the best results out of your oven. Highly recommended for anyone that loves simple food made with love!

    5-0 out of 5 stars pizza feelings put into words..............
    I'm a pizza fan (eater and amateur baker) and I've endlessly explored the possibilities of reinventing pizza at home. I thought I was doing a pretty good job until I made the pizza crust Peter Reinhart has in his book "the bread bakers apprentice". I was hooked on pizza. After that, I bought a couple of books including Pizza Napoletana, American pie, Figs table...in view of further expanding my knowlege. What I love most about this book is that Peter Reinhart gives you an incredible overview about the different aspects of regional pizza. I've learned to appreciate and respect all tipes of pizza while conserving my favorites. With this book, you learn that the important thing is to respect each countries version of pizza, the quality of the ingredients and the feeling you put into it. Tradition and memories play an important part in the liking of any pizza. I strongly recomend this book. I do put in a note of warning: don't expect to find a picture book. You'll have to rely on the authors colorful narrating to create the picture in your head. At fist, when I flipped the books pages, it was a drawback, but when I started reading it........ Wow.... I realy don't miss the pictures all that much....To resume my comment: If you're realy into pizza, the technical and philosophical aspect of it all, this book will be a treasure of your library..........buy and enjoy ... Read more


    14. Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia
    by Jeffrey Alford
    list price: $45.00
    our price: $28.35
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1579651143
    Catlog: Book (2000-10-02)
    Publisher: Artisan
    Sales Rank: 13466
    Average Customer Review: 4.95 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    The Mekong region, which extends south from China through Laos and Thailand to Cambodia and Vietnam, offers extraordinary food. Hot Sour Salty Sweet, which takes its name from the principal taste sensations of the region's cooking, provides an unparalleled culinary journey through this fertile land. Though the book contains a wealth of anecdotal material, its great strength lies in its 175 recipes, explicit formulas for the likes of Shrimp in Hot Lime Leaf Broth, Lao Yellow Rice and Duck, and Hui Beef Stew with Chick Peas and Anise. The breadth and substance of this authentic yet approachable collection is truly exciting; readers who cook from the book (not difficult to do once ingredients are assembled and techniques understood), as well as those searching for the best kind of armchair travel, will be delighted.

    Beginning with a discussion of the Mekong region, its people (a complicated mix, among them the Kai, Akha, and Cham), and their characteristic foods, the book then provides recipes organized by ingredients, dish types, and topics such as "Everyday Dependable," "One-Dish Meals," "Kids Like It," and "Vegetarian Options." This latter style of division helps define and "domesticate" a vast array of cooking, often enjoyed at times and places foreign to Westerners. Chapters devoted to such sweets as Tapioca and Corn Pudding with Coconut Cream, grilled specialties, and fare for adventurous cooks, such as Aromatic Steamed Fish Curry (more painstaking technically, though not truly difficult) further widen the book's scope. Illustrated throughout with 150 color photos and containing a comprehensive ingredient glossary, the book is a definitive point of entry to a mostly unexplored culinary port of call. --Arthur Boehm ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Five Star Flavour Hits!
    If you love flavour, you have to have this book. Thai food introduced many of us to that culinary balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet, which gives this book its name. Alford and Duguid reveal the similarities and differences in the cuisines of neighbouring worlds along the Mekong.

    I've been fortunate to help test for the authors, and this collection is my favourite so far. Many of the recipes are now in my daily repetoire, to the delight of family and guests. Choose a spice paste or sauce to transport a simple meal into another realm. That's not to say it's all complex; recipes such as Yunnan greens, or Dali Cauliflower satisfy with a few well chosen ingredients, simply prepared. I had to resist the urge to jazz it up, and was glad to have followed the recipe and learned something new.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Culinary Experience!
    If anyone out there is looking for quality and exquisite taste in Southeast Asian cooking, this is the book for you. Excellent instructions, very flavorful recipes and beautiful photographs. This book has it all. A must have in your kitchen. The experience in cooking these recipes is outstanding. A remarkable book. Buy it and see for yourselves what this book has to offer. AMAZING!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great text and recipes!
    We own two other very good Asian cookbooks - and think this is a great cookbook - wonderful text that is fun to read on its own, and then also good recipes. The recipes are easy to follow and are accompanied with beautiful pictures that whet the appetite. We have some favorite meals from the book that we make regularly. Only caveat - we love our food hot, so we always at least triple the chile the recipes ask for.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
    This is a terrific book. I own so many cookbooks I don't use that generally before I buy a new one, I get a library copy and test some recipes. Prior to borrowing this book, I tried out 3 different Thai/SE Asian cookbooks, and rejected them all for being either too complicated for everyday cooking, or not "authentic" enough. One look at this book and I ordered it. The recipes have been uniformly excellent-- the grilled chicken with hot and sweet dipping sauce and several of the vegetable dishes introduced me to delicious taste combinations that I have never experienced in Thai restaurants. More common dishes such as the stir fried chicken with holy basil and the pad thai are as good as-- or better-- than most of the restaurant Thai that I have had. I can't wait to try more. The ingredients are relatively easy to find, and they do suggest substitutions in many instances. On top of all that, it is a beautiful book to own. I am definitely buying multiple copies of this book to give as holiday gifts this year.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not Just Another Gorgeous Cookbook
    With most cookbooks, you have to make a choice between style and content: it's either for the coffee table or the kitchen shelf. This book is different. It keeps going back and forth between my living room and kitchen.

    The authors stay true to their subtitle, and take you on a seductive journey down the Mekong. The text features diary-like entries and beautiful photographs that make reading the book such a great experience. But the carefully-written and reliable recipes are the true stars, and yield terrific results.

    Using the glossary at the back to help me stock up at local Asian groceries, I find I can just come back from the store with basic ingridients, page through the book to find a recipe that sounds good, and I'm off. ... Read more


    15. What Einstein Told His Cook 2: The Sequel: Further Adventures in Kitchen Science
    by Robert L. Wolke, Marlene Parrish
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393058697
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-18)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 5448
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The scientist in the kitchen tells us more about what makes our foods tick.

    This sequel to the best-selling What Einstein Told His Cook continues Bob Wolke's investigations into the science behind our foods—from the farm or factory to the market, and through the kitchen to the table. In response to ongoing questions from the readers of his nationally syndicated Washington Post column, "Food 101," Wolke continues to debunk misconceptions with reliable, commonsense answers. He has also added a new feature for curious cooks and budding scientists, "Sidebar Science," which details the chemical processes that underlie food and cooking.

    In the same plain language that made the first book a hit with both techies and foodies, Wolke combines the authority, clarity, and wit of a renowned research scientist, writer, and teacher. All those who cook, or for that matter go to the market and eat, will become wiser consumers, better cooks, and happier gastronomes for understanding their food. 20 illustrations. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Foodie Read plus Superior Explanations.
    `What Einstein Told His Cook 2, The Sequel' by retired chemistry professor and columnist, Robert Wolke is in the same format as the first volume, of which I said:

    "This book of what science can tell us about working with food. It is one answer to my wish that every TV chef who is attempting to teach cooking to us foodies take a two semester course in chemistry. The book is not a rigorous approach to the chemistry of sugars, salt, fats, chemical leavenings, heat, acids, bases, and the like. Rather, it is a collection of enhanced answers to questions posed to the author in a regular newspaper column. This makes the book more interesting to read, if a little less available as a resource to applying its teachings to new situations."

    This statement is equally true of the second volume. And, I must believe Professor Wolke has read this comment in my review or elsewhere. In his introduction he recognizes that his little columns are all answers to specific questions; however, science, by its nature, is `all tied together' in theories which enable its predictive and explanatory powers. Thus, Wolke says that in order to explain the answer to two related questions, we may find him repeating himself now and then, as he does over and over when he invokes how proteins denature by unwinding themselves and wrapping themselves into tight knots, leading to, for example, cooked eggs or tough cooked meat. I have absolutely no problem with that within the context of his format of question and answer.

    On the other hand, this format does not lend itself to be used as a source for looking up specific answers to questions that were not asked by the people writing into Dr. Wolke at the Washington Post. This is a small but real problem, made all the more frustrating because buried in the answers to some questions are some real gems of wisdom such as Table 5 on page 222 which gives the best kinds of sauces for various shapes of hard pasta. As good as the battalions of Italian cookbook writers are in covering their field, none of them has, to my recollection, put things quite so succinctly. This illustrates that genius in writing about cooking is not so much in what science you use, but in how well you present the answer. And, with a few small reservations, it is in this talent where Professor Wolke is a champion. While I may still vote for Alton Brown as my favorite TV foodie, Wolke has mastered the connection between Science, English, Food, and his audience.

    One of my favorite examples of how Wolke successfully addresses an issue is on the matter of cutting onions and tears. For starters, he corrects Alton Brown's error in attributing the tearing to sulfur trioxide dissolving in the moisture in your eyes, thus creating a weak sulfuric acid solution. In fact, if any sulfur oxide gas is involved, it is much more likely to be sulfur dioxide which, when dissolved in water, creates the much weaker sulfurous acid. Wolke goes on to say that the phenomena is due to a number of different causes, which makes absolute sense, because if there were a single cause, then the chances of finding relief would be much higher. Wolke goes on to show the problems with all the various remedies. He and Alton agree on the importance of a sharp knife, although I use an extremely sharp Japanese vegetable knife when dicing onions, and I tear like a two-year-old on a jag. Sticking with onions, Wolke gives an excellent explanation of the French vintner's notion of `terroir' and how it relates to the lower bite of Vidalia onions. And, he correctly points out that it is fewer nasty compounds rather than more sugars which make the Vidalia and its cousins milder.

    There are three general areas where Wolke could stand some improvement. While I was a journeyman chemist, I was an expert on linguistics and linguistic philosophy so, first, I find Wolke is occasionally a bit inconsistent in his use of works such as alkali (the opposite of acid). Early in the book, he says that alkali should be reserved for the extremely strong bases such as sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide, yet I see him frequently using `alkali' for things that are just a tad over pH 7. The second quibble is that while science and the arts have long ago come to a détente and science and religion seem to be at an armed truce, Wolke constantly takes potshots at aspects of legal and political practice. It in incredibly easy for someone schooled in the doctrines of science to take pleasure at the apparent foibles of political practice, yet the people in the political world have problems of entirely different nature than either science or art, so cheap shots at food regulations, for example, are just that, cheap. The last problem I see is with Wolke's humor, especially in his little `Foodie's Fictionary' blurbs. I'm afraid I found not one of them very funny. Sorry. I think most of the humor in his main text is pretty basic and certainly welcome, but Alton Brown does not need to fear his position as the leading culinary class clown. The book would have been just a wee bit better with a good bibliography on food science references.

    New in this sequel are sidebars on various scientific issues. Most of the really valuable reference stuff is in these sidebars. What you may wish to do is stick some of those cute little post it note tabs on the sidebarred pages and write a word describing the topic.

    This is a really great book to take to your armchair and read from cover to cover. If you liked the first, you will definitely like this one as well or better. If you have read neither and you have an interest in food, buy both now!

    1-0 out of 5 stars What Einstein Told His Cook #2
    If you are looking for useful information to cooking questions you've always wondered about, look elsewhere.Harold McGee's "On Food & Cooking" and Shirley Corriher's "Cookwise" are both full of useful and interesting stuff.Wolke tries to be cute, and some may like his sophomoric style, but I couldn't get past the first chapter.Now who do I know who is dumb enough to like this drivel?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Worthy Sucessor to the first book!
    As a big fan of the first book in this series, I was glad to see another one pop up and quickly put it on my wish list. I was also glad to see that it was even longer than volume 1, with an extra 110 pages. The style is great -- well paced, well laid out, with the 'harder' science very skimmable and yet approachable to non-chemists. I particularly like the way he challenges conventionally held assumptions by, in many cases, doing simple experiments that seem to answer things conclusively. The inlined recipes (by his wife, Marlene Parrish) look delicious and provide a nice break to the flow of questions. Some of my favorite answers:
    Why does iced tea turn cloudy? Will coffee stay hotter if I put the cream in right away or only when I'm ready to drink it? Why are there sulfites in wine? How can I get a red wine stain out of a tablecloth? Why do onions really make me cry? Why are "sweet" onions sweet? When an banana ripes and gets sweeter, does it contain more calories? What is a free radical? What makes mashed potatoes gluey? How can I best match a pasta shape with a sauce? Does marinating work? (suprising!) What's the difference between browning and caramelizing? Why do we cook with wine?

    And so on. If you like cooking and like knowing more about what's going on inside the pan and aren't afraid of a few polysyllabic words (mmmm, alpha-galactosidase... don't worry, they are defined in context) then grab this book. I couldn't put it down! ... Read more


    16. A Cook's Tour : Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines
    by Anthony Bourdain
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060012781
    Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
    Publisher: Ecco
    Sales Rank: 4371
    Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    A Cook's Tour is the written record of Anthony Bourdain's travels around the world in his search for the perfect meal. All too conscious of the state of his 44-year-old knees after a working life standing at restaurant stoves, but with the unlooked-for jackpot of Kitchen Confidential as collateral, Mr. Bourdain evidently concluded he needed a bit more wind under his wings.

    The idea of "perfect meal" in this context is to be taken to mean not necessarily the most upscale, chi-chi, three-star dining experience, but the ideal combination of food, atmosphere, and company. This would take in fishing villages in Vietnam, bars in Cambodia, and Tuareg camps in Morocco (roasted sheep's testicle, as it happens); it would stretch to smoked fish and sauna in the frozen Russian countryside and the French Laundry in California's Napa Valley. It would mean exquisitely refined kaiseki rituals in Japan after yakitori with drunken salarymen. Deep-fried Mars Bars in Glasgow and Gordon Ramsay in London. The still-beating heart of a cobra in Saigon. Drink. Danger. Guns. All with a TV crew in tow for the accompanying series--22 episodes of video gold, we are assured, featuring many don't-try-this-at-home shots of the author in gastric distress or crawling into yet another storm drain at four in the morning.

    You are unlikely to lay your hands on a more hectically, strenuously entertaining book for some time. Our hero eats and swashbuckles round the globe with perfect-pitch attitude and liberal use of judiciously placed profanities. Bourdain can write. His timing is great. He is very funny and is under no illusions whatsoever about himself or anyone else. But most of all, he is a chef who got himself out of his kitchen and found, all over the world, people who understand that eating well is the foundation of harmonious living. --Robin Davidson, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

    Reviews (81)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Read
    Anthony Bourdain has fallen pray to the same trap as Bobbie Flay and Emeril Lagasse (as he will remind readers of the book throughout in small segments describing the pains he went through to help the TV series), but at least he is honest about it.

    The premise of this book, and the TV series that it is a companion to, is for Bourdain to travel around the world looking for the perfect meal. His travels take him throughout asia, into Europe, Africa and even parts of the US, as he looks for culinary delight. He describes with admirable detail the food, people, and culture of the places he visits, often with vary favorable comparisons to our own culinary culture. He regrets the US' "refridgerator culture" and how we have lost track of where our food comes from. Mixed in with the food talk is some other random rantings and ravings, as can be expected from him. The paragraphs on Henry Kissinger, and the comparison of Cambodia to Vietnam are probably the most off topic in the book, but you can tell that he wrote them which a lot of personal feeling.

    Bourdain is a pretty engaging fellow, and his writing, while not some stellar example of perfect prose, has a very personable feel to it that makes the book quite the pleasant read. What comes out more in the book than the TV series, was that this was his plan to exploit his fame from "Kitchen Confidential". He knows full well that he has become that which he has professed to despise, but his open and honest acknowledgement of it deserves some respect. It's hard to fault the guy for taking this opportunity when he could, for it's plain that he truly enjoyed touring the world, and most of the food that he found.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the vegan potluck alone
    Anthony Bourdain admits cheerfully to selling his soul to the devil [television] in order to carry out his childhood James Bond world adventure fantasies. Along the way he experiences joy, fear, awe, and nausea. Those looking for recipes will be disappointed: those looking for hilarious and insightful descriptions of how food is cooked and served around the world will be thrilled. Bourdain never forgets the importance of food culturally; he packs the book with interesting tidbits on how a cuisine is shaped by necessity [what kind of livestock can you raise in an enclosed town?] Many of his experiences, particularly in Mexico and Vietnam, leave the reader with a feeling of loss. Food in the United States frequently consists of a fast food hamburger eaten alone in front of a television set. The "third world" may be poor but they haven't lost the ability to make food a source of shared joy.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Judgemental and tasteless
    The author's lack of open-mindedness made this book very judgmental. I was very disappointed because there was little information on the food he ate. Instead, the pages are filled with cliches and stereotypes (many of these have nothing to do with food), but little insight is presented because he only sees things through his pre-conceived notions. This book is highly recommended if you want to learn how to feel good by making fun of other cultures and peoples, but for those who want to learn a bit about different culinary traditions, reading this book is a waste of time. The book can be cut down to 50 pages if these cliches are removed. I am more interested in what he ate or observed (descriptions!) rather than his explanations on why these people came up with these customs and dishes (sort of cultural determinism). Many people should have helped him in these countries he visited, but I wonder whether he has the nerve to translate the content of this book into their native languages. The author should be able to criticize if he wishes, but it is not fair to make fun of the people who helped him in a book which, he knew, they would not read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and hunger inducing or stomach churning
    I thought Kitchen Confidential was a good read but this book is even better.

    The details he gives you on the food he tries all over the world either make you salivate or want to vomit depending on what he is tasting.

    Half the fun of the book, however, is anthony's take on the countries, people, culture and adventures he has while in the countries. Some were so frightening it was like a suspense book. Others were endearing.

    At times I wished I were there with him and at others so glad I was not.

    Definately a fun read but also deeper than that. His chapter on going to France with his brother is more about the loss of their father and not being able to "go back home" again than about food. There are lots of chapters with similar hidden themes about life and human nature.

    Pick this one up!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed & Bored
    We read this book for book club and I have to say the best review out of the group was that it didn't put them to sleep. Most of us found it boring and disgusting. I felt like the food choices were determined based on shock value. I had a hard time finishing it and would NOT recommend this book to friends when there are so many choices out there. I do not understand the hoopla around this book and the majority of my book club would agree.... ... Read more


    17. Crave: See Touch Smell Hear Taste
    by Ludovic Lefebvre, Martin Booe
    list price: $49.95
    our price: $32.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060012854
    Catlog: Book (2004-06)
    Publisher: Regan Books
    Sales Rank: 1732837
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    18. Becoming a Chef
    by AndrewDornenburg, KarenPage
    list price: $29.95
    our price: $18.87
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0471152099
    Catlog: Book (2003-10-06)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 8043
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The updated edition of the book Julia Child called "a 'must' for aspiring chefs"-the James Beard Award-winning guide to one of today's hottest careers
    With more and more chefs achieving celebrity status, interest in the exciting world of today's leading chefs is higher than ever. Essential reading for anyone who loves food, Becoming a Chef gives an entertaining and informative insider's look at this dynamic profession, going behind the scenes to look into some of the most celebrated restaurant kitchens across the nation. More than 60 leading chefs-including some of the newest up-and-coming-discuss the inspiration, effort, and quirks of fate that turned would-be painters, anthropologists, and football players into culinary artists.
    Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page (both of New York, NY) are the authors of the bestselling titles Culinary Artistry, Dining Out, Chef's Night Out. Dornenburg has cooked professionally at Arcadia, Judson Grill, and March in New York City and Biba and the East Coast Grill in Boston. Page, the recipient of the 1997 Melitta Bentz Award for Women's Achievement, is a graduate of the Harvard Business School.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in the culinary arts
    This book takes the reader beyond the glamour of the celebrity chef and into the fire. Anyone considering entering the culinary feild must read this book. The authors speak with passion about the food culture and what is required to acheive success.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever written about the restaurant biz.
    The back cover of this James Beard Award-winning book, which is out in a great new expanded edition, says it all:

    "Excellent." -THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

    "Illuminating." -THE NEW YORK TIMES

    "Insightful." -THE DETROIT NEWS

    "Fascinating." -THE VILLAGE VOICE

    "Inspirational....Well worth giving or receiving." -GOURMET

    "If you're thinking of pursuing a career as a chef, aspiring to become a better one at home, or just curious about some of America's top chefs, you will love the new book Becoming a Chef." -MATT LAUER, NBC'S TODAY SHOW

    "Not for would-be chefs only....Contains tidbits of wisdom for all business warriors." -JUDITH DOBRZYNSKI, THE NEW YORK TIMES

    "I love Becoming a Chef." -DANA COWIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, FOOD & WINE

    "One of the top 5 Editors' Choice cookbooks of the year....Eye-opening, charmingly written...terrific reading." -SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

    "Intriguing....Fascinating....This is a cookbook where the text is the best part. It is a very important book." -ANTHONY DIAS BLUE, WCBS RADIO

    "An extraordinary book....There's never been a book like this before." -DAVID ROSENGARTEN, ON THE FOOD NETWORK

    "Its insight into the philosophy of chefdom today is invaluable." -ALISON ARNETT, THE BOSTON GLOBE

    "Becoming a Chef is as thoughtful, eclectic, and enjoyable as Andrew Dornenburg's cooking. Which is to say, very." -ROBERT B. PARKER, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE SPENSER SERIES OF NOVELS

    "Entertaining and enlightening....A must-read." -RESTAURANT HOSPITALITY ... Read more


    19. Eating My Words : An Appetite For Life
    by Mimi Sheraton
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.76
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 006050109X
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
    Publisher: Morrow Cookbooks
    Sales Rank: 3558
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    What's it like to be a food writer? What's it like dining at some of the world's best restaurants, as well as some of the worst? What's it like to share your opinion about food and restaurants with readers around the world?

    Mimi Sheraton is one of the most renowned food writers and restaurant reviewers in the country. And perhaps the most frequently asked question is, How did she do it? Her response is simple: "Live my life." Now, in this entertaining and candid memoir, the doyenne of food critics provides a heartfelt and poignant look at the events of her extraordinary life.

    A devoted journalist, Mimi's engaging style and meticulous research have made her the standard by which restaurant reviewing and food criticism in the United States is measured. In Eating My Words, she describes how she developed her passion for writing about food and travel. Witty and straightforward, Mimi takes you on an engrossing journey of memorable meals, unforgettable people and outrageous experiences. Travel with Mimi from her childhood growing up in a food-loving Brooklyn family with a very demanding mother ("You call that a chicken?") and a father in the wholesale fruit and vegetable business, through her college years in Manhattan and her rise to fame.

    Best known for her work as the restaurant critic at the New York Times, Mimi relates her experiences from how she landed the job there to why she left eight years later. As a journalist, she has tasted and reported on some of the world's finest cuisine, including three-starred French restaurants, and on some of the most dismal food imaginable, from hospital and public school meals to the often unrecognizable fare served in airplanes and fast food chains.

    Forthright and never afraid to be controversial, Mimi talks about the importance of a reviewer's anonymity and the excitement of making a new culinary discovery like the now notorious Rao's, and then sharing it through her writing. She reveals some of her most challenging moments, right down to a masked appearance on French television with several well-known French chefs that ended in a mini-brawl.

    Fueled by her passion for food, wine and travel, Mimi Sheraton's memoir is a degustation that is as engaging as it is enlightening. A true reflection of this bon vivant's voracious appetite for life, Eating My Words is an irresistible treat you will savor word by word ... and will feel utterly satisfied.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Sharp, Short and Witty Delight
    By Bill Marsano. Years ago, in the slim hope of making myself useful on a certain magazine, I often volunteered to edit Mimi Sheraton's column. She was counted a tough cookie by the other editors, who preferred saps. My stock did in fact rise through self-sacrifice, and so did my free time, for the fact was her column was a breeze.

    Of course, if an editor mucked around with her copy (and that, I can say without exposing any trade secrets, is what editors generally do), then it wasn't a breeze. So after reading her tight-knit prose, her well-reasoned judgments, her lucid thoughts, I'd call her about a couple of minor points and we'd agree on changing or not in about ten minutes. Then, with my door shut and no one in any case daring to approach Sheraton Control, I had the afternoon free. (Later, when other editors asked how it had gone, I just rolled my eyes.)

    Keys to Sheraton's style were sticking to the subject and not showing off. Her judgments were measured, not designed to become sound bites; the meal was the star, not the reviewer. Here she does write about (among many other things) herself, and what an interesting self she turns out to be. She covers a lot of ground, including childhood before the war (i.e., World War II); college-girl adventures in New York City (especially funny: her story of breaking up with a civilian boyfriend while being attached to two other guys in the armed services); early work in home-furnishings journalism; plunging into food writing through a passion for travel; her ups and downs as a nationally known food critic for the New York Times (and other publications) and her attempts at improving what professionals call "volume feedings and mass management" and the rest of us call jail, airline, school and hospital food.

    Sheraton has a fine line in dry wit and is always informative: Most readers will learn some surprising things about restaurants and reviewing. She lists the 20 most-asked quiestion and answers every one, and provides a good idea of the pressures applied to a critic by big-name restaurateurs--and by people who think they're critics just because they run a newspaper. (Odd--but I don't think the Times has reviewed her book. Odd.) But she isn't dishy. Anyone looking here for gossip, innuendo and the settling of scores has come to the wrong place. Sheraton conquers but she does not stoop.

    And she does it all in 240 pages. One reason is that she writes tightly and tartly. (At least one other well-known "foodie" has published two books, totaling nearly 600 pages, and isn't finished yet.) Another is that she speaks often of wonderful dishes but gives no recipes. Good for her. Recipes are turning up in lots of places they don't really belong these days, including mysteries and popular novels. I usually suspect that means the author hasn't really got the goods, and knows it, and hopes I won't notice. (For much the same reason I resist nutritional puns traditional in this sort of review. I refuse to call this a "bubbling bouillaisse of a book.") The only time she comes close to such nonsense is with her brisk instructions (maybe a dozen words?) for how to make a Jewish chicken--or a chicken Jewish.

    Sheraton's 240 pages go rattling by--there's no padding--and because even now I read as an editor, I ticked a few things: I disagree with her use of "ascribe" and "masterful," and former New York City Mayor John Lindsay would, if he could, on personal orthography. Once where she says Michelin I'm almost certain she means Gault-Millau, but that's about it. (Come to think of it, where was the copy editor?) In all, the experience was like those long-gone magazine days: great reading and effortless, too.--Bill Marsano is a professional writer and editor.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Insights: Serious and Fun
    Why hasn't the New York Times reviewed this book?

    Here's why:

    Ms. Sheraton is a former NYTimes employee; the Times even published her restaurant review book.

    She tells a lot-not all, I'm sure, -but enough to learn about how newspaper management attempts to influence a journalist even on the level of restaurant reviews.

    Very interesting; but here's the real point of the book:

    Ever wanted to enjoy "behind the scenes" anecdotes direct from, quite probably, the nation's most famous restaurant critic?

    Great foodie stories; learn some interesting dining, cooking ideas and definitely get a few chuckles.

    This book just inspired my dinner this evening! ... Read more


    20. Schott's Food and Drink Miscellany
    by Ben Schott
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1582344205
    Catlog: Book (2004-08-21)
    Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
    Sales Rank: 575
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