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Books for Cooks

Fine Cooking Issue 79
Photos: Scott Phillips
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Keep it Seasonal: Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches
by Annie Wayte
(William Morrow, $29.95)

London and New York chef Annie Wayte’s first cookbook is so gorgeous—with spectacular photographs and clean, airy graphics—that it would grace any coffee table. But it’s also so jam-packed with enticing recipes that it can motivate even the laziest of cooks to throw on an apron and get cooking.

Wayte encourages the use of fresh, locally grown ingredients at the peak of their season, when they’re at their flavorful best. And she provides a happy collection of approachable soups, salads, and sandwiches that put each season’s crops to delicious use. From Thai Soup with Lemongrass, Coconut & Ginger, to Swordfish with Spicy Red Lentils & Zucchini Salad, to a Warm Sandwich with Eggplant, Mozzarella & Pesto, Wayte’s dishes are eclectic and tempting. While some are easier and quicker than others, all are fresh, distinctive, and never too fussy for the home cook. The book has four parts, one for each season, and contains tips for choosing ingredients and extra ideas for cooking with fruits and vegetables. It’s hard to believe this book could linger on anyone’s coffee table for too long.

The Family Kitchen: Easy and Delicious Recipes for Parents and Kids to Make and Enjoy Together
by Debra Ponzek
(Clarkson Potter, $25)

Cookbooks for kids always make me think of colorful little volumes packed with smiley-faced food and endless variations on macaroni and cheese. This one is different. Debra Ponzek wants to make the entire family happy with recipes that are simple enough for kids to enjoy and help prepare, yet satisfying and intriguing enough to keep adults interested. Skeptical, I brought the book home for a spin.

It worked. There’s nothing juvenile about pan-seared Pork Chops with Green Apple- Cranberry Compote, Yellow Tomato Gazpacho, or Grilled Shrimp Satay with Ginger & Lime. Sure, there are familiar foods like blueberry pancakes and chicken potpie and things to make on snow days and for bake sales, but the book makes room for more than a few adventurous combinations. Many recipes are quick—perfect for everyday meals—and Ponzek dishes out tips on how to get kids involved in the process, including ideas for child-friendly tasks in each recipe. This may be the perfect book for those who want to share their love for cooking with the whole family without giving up on flavor and creativity.


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