28 January 2017

Weekend Cooking: A Quartet of Books

Sprializer CookbooksNew Gadget News: A couple of weeks ago I broke down and got myself a spiralizer. I bought one with just three blades and have been having a blast. Because my gadget cost under $30, I decided even if I use it infrequently, I'll likely get my money's worth.

Even before my spiralizer arrived on my doorstep I had already checked two cookbooks out of the library. Boy am I happy I didn't buy one. If you're spiralizer naive (like I was), then here's what you need to know: It's just a way to cut veggies in a fancy way. You do not need a cookbook. I was pretty much chuckling at myself once I started playing with my sprializer and realized the obvious. Just throw those zucchini noodles into the pasta sauce and let them cook until your desired doneness. Nothing magical at all.

So, although I'm sure the books shown here are fine cookbooks, I never used them. Save yourself some time and money and leave the specialty cookbooks on the library or bookstore shelf. Our favorite things so far are the vegetable (summer squash) noodles and curly (baked) fries.

Nonfiction Food Books

Review: Mincemeat by Leonardo LucarelliIn Mincemeeat, Leonardo Lucarelli shares the story of his unconventional path to becoming a professional chef. He was born in India to Italian hippie parents but was raised in Italy. He began cooking at a young age and worked in a series of restaurants to help pay for his college and graduate school. Unlike celebrity chefs, Lucarelli did not end up on television, but instead continues to work in the very tough restaurant business. There wasn't a lot new in this memoir--except it mostly takes place in Italy--and I was annoyed that Lucarelli described every woman in sexual terms or by her looks. The audiobook was read by Will Damron, who put in a clean and clear performance (full audiobook review is available through AudioFile magazine). [Print: Other Press, 2016; Audiobook: Random House Audio, 2016]

Review: A Square Meal by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew CoeA Square Meal, by Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe, examines the American diet from World War I through the Depression to the start of World War II. Diet trends, nutritional standards, government programs, sociopolitical issues, and environmental factors all played a part in how the nation fed itself (or not) through tough times. Especially interesting is the beginning of food advertising and lobbying and the fictional women (Aunt Sammy and Betty Crocker) who influenced how and what American women cooked. I enjoyed Susan Eriksen's expressive reading of the audiobook, though she could have distinguished quotes from narrative text a little more strongly (full audiobook review will be available through AudioFile magazie). [Print (with photos and recipes): Harper, 2016; Audio: Tantor Audio, 2016]

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


Mae Travels 1/28/17, 7:24 AM  

"A Square Meal" is on my long list, and your review reinforces my plan to read it eventually.

I liked Coe's earlier book on Chinese food in America, but did not like Ziegleman's earlier book, "97 Orchard." And reviews made "A Square Meal" seem very similar to the two books by Laura Shapiro, "Something from the Oven" and "Perfection Salad," which both deal with the history of American food. Have you read any of these for comparison?

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Tina 1/28/17, 7:36 AM  

Ive been curious about the spiralizer. Deb at Kahakai Kitchen has been posting and using hers for a awhile and I also checked out some cookbooks, just in case I bought one. I haven't broken down yet, sounds like fun!

The Candid Cover 1/28/17, 7:50 AM  

I have often thought about purchasing one of these as well! I am glad that you found it both useful and simple to use without the use of a cookbook! My sister loves to make noodles from spaghetti squash and this would be a great tool for making them. I will have to get her one as a gift some day. Thanks for sharing this tool with us! :)

jama 1/28/17, 8:34 AM  

Good to know no special cookbooks are needed for the spiralizer. I've hesitated getting one because I don't see myself using it often enough.

Katherine P 1/28/17, 9:08 AM  

I agree on the specialty cookbooks. I do like to get cookbooks from the library or find some recipes on Pinterest but I typically find I don't need a whole cookbook. The Square Meal book is on my TBR. I love food history of any kind!

Claudia 1/28/17, 10:28 AM  

Well, thanks for the spiralizer info, though don;t think I really need another appliance. I'm dipping around in "Whole" right now, which includes quite a bit of history on the food industry, and is convincing me to eliminate meat. Maybe.

Jackie McGuinness 1/28/17, 10:39 AM  

A Square Meal interests me, I'm going to check the library.

On another topic completely, I can across a great book watching morning TV the other day. Cookbooks are really the only "hard" books I buy nowadays. It is called The Complete Gut Health Cookbook by Pete Evans (who is very easy on the eyes)!!!

I was going to buy the e-version since we are still away but sadly I guess due to publishing rights I couldn't buy it because I have a Canadian address.
Will pick it up in hard copy when we come back to the States in March.

Deb in Hawaii 1/28/17, 11:04 AM  

I do love my spiralizer and use it frequently. I like the cookbook--more for inspiration and different ideas beyond zoodles than a how-to, but there is enough online to not have to buy them.

I have been wanting to read A Square Meal but I may see if the library has the audio book now. Thanks for sharing!

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 1/28/17, 11:24 AM  

I checked out Inspiralized from the library and found a couple of things to try, and like you, I don't feel the need to buy the book. I had already played with spiral food in a few salads but the one thing the book showed me is that I could use it for so much more. I have some sweet potatoes, oven fried would be fun, we have the granddaughter here for a few days.

Vicki 1/28/17, 3:10 PM  

Even though I'm a kitchen gadget junkie, I've never been tempted to buy a spiralizer. I am going to buy a Cuisinart egg cooker though, thanks to your post a couple of weeks ago.

La La in the Library 1/28/17, 5:37 PM  

I am so happy you posted about your spiralizer! I have gotten three or four free ebook spiralizer cookbooks and have wanted to buy one. I am definitely goung to get one now. I saw the Square Meal book somewhere recently. I does sound interesting. I will have to check it out. Have a fabulous weekend!

Esme 1/28/17, 8:57 PM  

I love my spiralizer-however the W and S cookbook is a bit disappointing. You will have lots of fun with it.

Laurie C 1/29/17, 1:45 PM  

Would love to know what brand and model you bought that is working so well for you! I am so behind the times that I'm just acknowledging the joys of spaghetti squash to take the place of pasta or noodles, but I've been considering getting a spiralizer. I wasn't sure I would use it enough, but a $30 price isn't as much of a risk as I had been thinking!

(Diane) bookchickdi 1/29/17, 4:28 PM  

A Square Meal looks like something I would enjoy, thanks for bringing it to my attention. enjoy your spiralizer!

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