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Eat St. is the companion cookbook to the television show, featuring more than a hundred recipes from food trucks and food carts throughout the United States and Canada (and even a few from the UK). Although warmer climates and bigger cities are the best represented, Cunningham doesn't ignore the little guys.
I love the colorful, clean design of Eat St. and its fun, appetite-inducing photographs of the finished dishes. I also like the behind-the-scenes spotlight included with each recipe. Some of these sidebars feature the hardworking cooks; others tell us a story about the menu, the inspiration behind the flavors, or a history of the food truck.
The book is organized by types of food, such as snacks, wraps, burgers, and desserts. As you can imagine, there are quite a few recipes that call for deep-frying. But what I wasn't expecting was how many recipes (especially in the snack chapter) would call for prepared ingredients, like refrigerator biscuit dough, frozen potato nuggets, and canned fruits.
It's always a challenge to convert recipes scaled for restaurant service and relying on professional equipment for use in a typical home kitchen. In Eat St., the most successful dishes for the home cook, well for the way I usually cook at home, are the pizzas, sandwiches, soups, and salads. For example, there is a slow cooker pulled pork sandwich that I definitely plan on making this summer, and we loved the lamb sausage on greens salad, which I found easy to make. And, although my homemade pizza crust is a winner, I can't wait to try some of the variations given in the cookbook.
Unfortunately, I found the overall feel of the recipes to be uneven. Some didn't provide directions for major components of the finished dish. For example, a nacho recipe calls for prepared chili, but there is no recipe for that chili, making it impossible to replicate the original dish at home. Yet (proving that I'm hard to please), other recipes, like one for spicy chicken in a cone, consist of seven subrecipes! Yes, most of those subrecipes are for spice mixes and toppings, but I'm likely to flip on by that dish for something a little more time efficient.
Fans of the television show and of Cunningham will love this cookbook as will those of you who are lucky enough to live in a city with an abundance of food-truck dining. If you are planning a trip to southern California, New Orleans, or Vancouver, BC (among other cities), you should definitely take a look at Eat St. before you leave home; you wouldn't want to miss out on some of the tastiest quick meals around.
Late-Summer Harvest Salad
Purple Carrot in Lansing, Michigan
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups watermelon balls
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup shelled unsalted pistachio nuts
- 2 Honeycrisp or Fuji apples, julienned
- Smoked salt or other coarse sea salt
For the salad, in a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, watermelon, cheese, and nuts with vinaigrette to taste. Serve topped with the apples and smoked salt.
Buy Eat St. at an Indie or other bookstore near you.
Penguin USA / Pintail, 2013
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright 2013 cbl for www.BethFishReads.com