Gift guide

Central Market Cooks

edited by Mary Cummings & Jane Hinshaw

H.E. Butt Grocery Company & Favorite Recipe Press, 192 pp., $24.95

For some of us now completely spoiled, it's hard to remember what grocery shopping was like BCM (before Central Market). Did we really not know what a fingerling was? Were fresh shittakes really not always available? Visiting out of state (for Central Markets have sprung up all over urban Texas), it's a rude shock to be faced with grocery shopping at soulless supermarkets filled with tasteless produce, plastic encased meats, and fish with freezer burn. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Central Market has issued its first cookbook, a collection of recipes from partners, "Foodies" (food information specialists), and cooking school chefs. It's impossible to know how long the book was in the making, but it has the look and feel of a project that may have been rushed along. Cover art is limited to the Central Market logo found on all paper and plastic bags at the store. The photography is fine, but it's printed on flimsy paper. And while the collection of recipes is a nice sampling of the glorious food available at the store, a far better collection can be found on the Central Market Web site. In the introduction, preface, and dedication, much is made of the people who make up the Central Market experience, but we can't help noticing one glaring omission: Roger Mollett. Mollett was with Central Market at the beginning, serving as its first Foodie, heading up the cooking school, and instituting the "Good Cooks" series, which allowed students to learn all aspects of basic culinary expertise. All this and no signature recipe?

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