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I’m a sucker for regional cookbooks (see regional Chinese cookbook review from 2 weeks ago).  I love learning about the nuances of a country’s many rich subcuisines – who eats bread, who eats rice; who grazes cattle and eats dairy, who doesn’t mind pork.  I feel like I’m getting some value, as if I’m going to a seminar or at least a weekend workshop to learn something a little more lasting than usual.

But ultimately,  it comes down to the recipes.  It’s often the case that international buy-ins are hard to use, as cookbooks.  The conversions hold endless possibility for typos and in a book of some 300 recipes, how likely is it that the Americanized versions were all tested?  So there are some snafu’s.  But the exhaustive step-by-step photos help, and more often than not the flavors hit it out of the park.

Click here to read today’s review of ‘The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook’ in the Boston Globe.   Hit the paywall?  Click here for the PDF version

On  Cookbook Finder, my cookbook-rating app, you’ll find write-ups of 250+  of the latest cookbooks, and regular cookbook news.  It’s the only up-to-the-minute cookbook app anywhere!

What, you say you’re already too much of a cookbook addict?  Ah, but you see, Cookbook Finder will help you get control of your problem.  Now you’ll only buy the good ones.

Available for  iPhone/iPad and Android devices.

“A Cookbook of Big Flavors!” shouts the cover – and boy, is that true.

It was a week of sheer adrenaline and constellations of flavors I’d never tried together before:  Dill yogurt – lemon-apricot-harissa! Lamb-scallions-Coke!  Coffee-sun dried tomato-currants!!  And all of them worked!

As flavor combinations, anyway, they worked.  But a lot of them broke my heart anyway for other reasons, as you’ll see.

I found great consolation in the splendid backstories, tips, and history scattered throughout the book.  But I still hope they fix the heartbreak in the reprint.

Click here to read today’s review of ‘Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors’ in the Boston Globe.   Hit the paywall?  Click here for the PDF version

On  Cookbook Finder, my cookbook-rating app, you’ll find write-ups of 250+  of the latest cookbooks, and regular cookbook news.  It’s the only up-to-the-minute cookbook app anywhere!

What, you say you’re already too much of a cookbook addict?  Ah, but you see, Cookbook Finder will help you get control of your problem.  Now you’ll only buy the good ones.

Available for  iPhone/iPad and Android devices.

recipe testing bw

Behind the scenes at Roundup Testing Central.

Thrilled to report that the NPR Summer Cookbook roundup is back! I’m deep in testing right now. Keep an eye on this space for the announcement and link, first week of June.

If you haven’t tried a Terry Tan cookbook before, you could do worse than to try this series finale (it follows books on Shanghai/East China, Sichuan/West China, and South China).

I don’t suggest you drop your Grace Young and Fuchsia Dunlop books and rush to buy the complete set.  The recipes are not foolproof, and there is some loss in translation from international metric.  But with their lavish photography, carefully curated recipes, and good production values, the Tan books are worth considering as an addition to your Chinese regional cooking collection.

Click here to read today’s review of ‘Mandarin Food & Cooking’ in the Boston Globe.   Hit the paywall?  Click here for the PDF version

On  Cookbook Finder, my cookbook-rating app, you’ll find write-ups of 250+  of the latest cookbooks, and regular cookbook news.  It’s the only up-to-the-minute cookbook app anywhere!

What, you say you’re already too much of a cookbook addict?  Ah, but you see, Cookbook Finder will help you get control of your problem.  Now you’ll only buy the good ones.

Available for  iPhone/iPad and Android devices.

A cookbook might be the nicest thing you can give for Mother’s Day – it lasts longer than flowers or dinner, it’s less expensive than a trip to a spa, and it’s not as hard to pick as a scarf.  Chances are, if you have a mom who loves to cook, you already know what kind of cooking she likes.  So you might already have a sense of what kind of book she’d appreciate.

Just in case you’re stuck, though, I’ve compiled a list of hard-to-resist books in various categories.  Beautiful books, books that read as well as cook, books that are just plain fun are all good choices.  Steer clear of diet books (unless specifically requested) or books that basically say, “Feed Me” – most entertaining books; in short, or anything that might make Mom feel overworked or resentful.

Visual Feasts: You can’t go wrong with a beautiful book – especially these days, when food photography has gotten so phenomenal you can practically eat the dishes with your eyes.  Books like Canal House Cooks Every Day ($45) and David Tanis’  One Good Dish ($25.95) make you want to catch your breath when you open them, and linger for an hour to browse before you rush to the kitchen.

Armchair Traveler:  Charm,  out-of-the-ordinary flavors, clear instructions – well-edited ethnic and regional cookbooks have it all,  bringing the world’s table to your doorstep. The Little Paris Kitchen ($35) offers up sweet chic, Indian Cooking Unfolded (19.95) is colorful and accessible – and then there’s always the ever-popular Jerusalem ($35).

Tell Me A Story: Sometimes you just want to read a cookbook for its anecdotes and tales, its glimpses of culinary mishaps or delicious adventures.  I’m partial to the quirky Southern charm of Screen Doors and Sweet Tea ($32.50), but who can resist a chicken romance? like Janice Cole’s Chicken and Egg ($24.95).

Down the Garden Path – For moms with green thumbs, a handful of cookbooks make great garden companions: the lavish and handsome Grow Cook Eat ($29.95) has seed-to-harvest guidance and lots of wise tips, while Eliot Coleman’s and Barbara Damrosch’s  4-Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook ($22.95) offers up two lifetimes’  worth of cooking and growing expertise.

Treats: Some like diamonds, some like candy, but everyday indulgences like drinks and desserts make any evening a treasure as far as I’m concerned.  An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails ($20)is a lighthearted guide filled with graphic flair, while Faith Durand of the Kitchn’s Bakeless Sweets ($29.95) offers a summer’s worth of cool temptations.

For lots more Mother’s Day cookbook recommendations, check out  Cookbook Finder, my cookbook-rating app.  You’ll find write-ups of the latest cookbooks and regular cookbook news, and links to all my Boston Globe reviews.  It’s the only up-to-the-minute cookbook app anywhere!

Now cooking

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