The Splendid Table's How To Eat Weekends: New Recipes, Stories & Opinions From Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show
2011 Texas Book Festival cookbook reviews
Reviewed by Claudia Alarcón, Fri., Oct. 21, 2011
The Splendid Table's How To Eat Weekends: New Recipes, Stories & Opinions From Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Showby Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift Clarkson Potter, 352 pp., $35
Readers familiar with the popular radio show The Splendid Table will relish the publication of this second book by creators Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, which focuses on cooking for the weekends when we generally have more time to prepare slow, elaborate meals. The book starts off with five ethnic cuisine menus comprised of recipes from the book, describing basic ingredients from each cuisine (Mexican, Vietnamese, Italian, Indian, and Chinese), tips for finding little-known ingredients, and how to shop at ethnic markets. Three subsequent timely menus are holiday-inspired, including a vegan Thanksgiving menu. The recipes that follow are arranged in familiar sections: starters and snacks, soups and salads, pasta and grains, casseroles, main dishes, and sweets. The main dishes range from vegetarian and vegan to fish, fowl, and red meat. In general, the dishes are meant for slow cooking rather than quick-fix meals; some recipes require various components, such as a rich stock from scratch, homemade ricotta, a specific sauce, or a 20-ingredient ragout. But that is precisely the point of the book: It is meant to entice you to take pleasure in your time in the kitchen and try something new. Every recipe includes a preparation tip or a suggestion for turning the leftovers into a new dish that can become a weeknight dinner in no time.
The book is peppered with bits of kitchen wisdom, tips for the cook, food facts, anecdotes, and the witty humor that longtime listeners have come to associate with The Splendid Table. It also includes suggested reading and essential cookbooks for "building the library." The ubiquitous quotes spread throughout the book, from Popeye to Carl Sandburg to Robin Williams, seem like a distraction rather than an addition; I would have preferred more facts than fluff. Regardless, the book is well-written, interesting, and beautifully illustrated, and it will be appreciated and consulted on leisurely days when I feel like getting adventurous in the kitchen.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper will appear at 12:30pm Sunday in the Cooking Tent.
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