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Book Review: Small Victories

February/March 2017 Issue
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If you cook from Julia Turshen’s first solo cookbook (the writer and recipe developer has co-authored many cookbooks), there will be triumphs. Dishes like Roast Chicken with Fennel, Rosemary + Lemon, Ribs with Gochujang, Fish Sauce + Honey, Crispy Fish with Bacon + Chives, and Peach + Bourbon Milkshakes come loaded with exciting, surefire flavors. Turshen’s recipes, a pleasure to read, come with parenthetical asides that sound like advice from your more culinarily advanced best friend. Her “spin-offs,” a feature of every recipe, offer multiple ways to tweak a dish’s flavor, different ways to use the dish, or how to use the same basic technique with other ingredients. Beyond the usual chapters (Soups + Salads; Meat + Poultry), there is a chapter on breakfast, one featuring drinks (Paloma Slushies sound especially fun), and one called Seven Lists, which is comprised of seven lists of seven things to do with such ingredients as mussels, pizza dough, and leftover roast chicken, a great reference for home cooks. At times, the “small victory” conceit feels contrived; the phrase appears in boldface in every recipe intro and often just refers to a kitchen tip, but the rest of the book, including 160 photos, is so lovely that that’s a small price to pay.

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