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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 54.
- Review Date: 2006-10-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Four-time coauthor Green (including the James Beard Award–winning Cocktails with a Latino Twist with Chef Guillermo Perriot) has aimed for the stratosphere with her first solo book. Green is a chatty expert who makes you feel she's in your kitchen; unfortunately, pedestrian prose mutes her apparent enthusiasms. Still, the book is a dazzling compendium of food history, food safety tips (don't keep garlic in oil unless you add acid to cut the risk of botulism) and resources. The book offers a hundred chapters in alphabetical order, Almonds through Zucchini and Other Summer Squashes: some categories are wide-ranging (Beans: Dried and Fresh-Shelled) while others narrow (Ugli and Other Unusual Fruits—seemingly chosen to fill a gap in the alphabet). Bakers will appreciate recipes that offer both scratch and shortcut versions, but perhaps best of all, the book reflects perceptive appreciation of cooking the world over; in its broad embrace, it evokes the hopeful ethos of using food to open doors and build bridges. (Nov.)
Even heftier, with more than 1,000 pages, Starting with Ingredients: The Quintessential Recipes for the Way We Really Cook is Aliza Green's magnum opus and entry into this year's capacious cookbook sweepstakes. Green, an award-winning cookbook author, has organized her new book into 100 chapters, each devoted to a single ingredientfrom almonds to zucchini, with stops for beef, baccalà, mangoes, mozzarella, mussels and more. Each one receives a thorough background check, revealing its history, quirks and varieties. And each ingredient struts its stuff in a range of recipes inspired by varied ethnic traditions. For example, the ordinary cucumber sings when sautéed with classic French fines herbes; an unusual combo of lentils and chestnuts stars in a thick Neapolitan zuppa. It's a great way to get up-close and personal with the building blocks of cuisine.