Man Made Meals: the Essential Cookbook for Guys.



Man Made Meals: the Essential Cookbook for Guys.
Steven Raichlen. Workman, $22.95 (656p) ISBN 978-0-7611-6644-3

Raichlen’s 30th cookbook is not exactly reaching out to a new audience. Over the past 16 years, with tomes like The Barbecue Bible, and TV shows like Primal Grill, his masculine sensibility of cooking with fire has been hard to miss. However, give or take a blowtorch, there is little here that would be deemed inappropriate for a miss, though he does pump up his prose with references to, or recipes from, V for Vendetta, Oliver Platt, Eisenhower, Stanley Tucci and Chairman Mao. With over 300 recipes, it would be easier to list what is not offered: doughnuts and sushi, which Raichlen deems “better at bakeries and restaurants,” and also cupcakes which he somehow believes “aren’t really guy food.” That means a hungry man is left to choose from an armada of burgers, chops and steaks, as well as chili, fried turkey, five hour duck, pasta, soups, seafood, quinoa pilaf, and candied bacon sundaes. Interviews with major foodies of the male persuasion are sprinkled throughout the text. Despite bearing the unfortunate slug, Food Dude, these are easily digestible and provide the reader with, for instance, Michael Pollan’s favorite go-to dish, and Thomas Keller’s first food memory. (June)

The Pizza Bible



The Pizza Bible
Tony Gemignani. Ten Speed Press, $29.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60774-605-8

With resume credentials such as Guinness Book of World Records holder for creating the largest pizza, and president of something called the World Pizza Champions, it would be easy to not take Gemignani seriously. But, given the content of this collection of over 100 recipes, this would be a mistake. He approaches the craft of making pizza dough with the same intelligence and expertise as that of a pro brew master concocting an artisanal ale. In the first 35 pages, he teaches a master class of crust, exploring everything from the proper flour and yeast, to kneading and fermenting, to the correct technique for moving a pie from countertop to oven. He makes no apologies for the precision found in weighing ingredients using metric measurements, though he is perhaps owed one from the designer who decided to list recipe ingredients in  narrow, left-hand margins that sometimes, confusingly, run on for more than one page. Pizza styles from across the country and around the world are touched upon, so there is plenty to love and to hate. Beyond the classic opposites, New York thin crust and Chicago deep dish, there are sweet California options like a multigrain white pie that is drizzled with honey, and a Monterey Jack pizza topped with figs and roasted almonds. The sauce for a Barcelona pie contains Spanish saffron threads, and his Sardinian recipe calls for a regional pecorino cheese, yet not a single sardine. (Oct.)

International Night



International Night
Mark Kurlansky, Talia Kurlansky. Bloomsbury, $29 (400p) ISBN 978-1-62040-027-2

In addition to his formidable writing credits (including a James Beard award for the 1999 fish biography, Cod), Mark Kurlansky approached this project with a specific toolset: a globe and a young daughter. Once a week he would spin the former, and, with the poke of a finger, the latter would pick a locale at random upon which to base their Friday night dinners. The result is this collection of 52 meals, comprised of over 250 recipes. Restricting themselves to this procedure results in a broad survey of ingredients, but a limited choice of flavors within any one cuisine. An Indian night that centers around a single appetizer, a lamb entrĂ©e, and two vegetable sides, is barely representative, and if one’s idea of a New Orleans dinner is not crab etoufee and Swiss chard, then it is best to move on to some of the more obscure regional delicacies. But here, too, the younger Kurlansky’s finger of fate pointed to both hits and misses. Touching down on Tanzania  results in spicy coconut soup, well-seasoned duck, and mango cashew pudding. But landing on Cornwall means sardines, crab soup, beef and rutabaga pastries, and lemon pudding. Both teens and adults will find the brief country profiles enlightening, and a bibliography of international cookbooks provides fine fodder for a family library. (Aug.)

The Banh Mi Handbook



The Banh Mi Handbook
Andrea Nguyen. Ten Speed, $16.99 (132p) ISBN 978-1-60774-533-4

Nguyen, a San Francisco food writer who came to the U.S. from Vietnam as a child, has been publishing with Ten Speed Press since 2006, dissecting one foodstuff at a time. A 2009 cookbook explored Asian dumplings and in 2012 the focus was on Asian Tofu. Now the author offers a bite-sized exploration of banh mi, the cold cut sandwiches which are a street food favorite in Ho Chi Minh City. Over the course of nine chapters and 50 recipes the sandwich is broken out into its component parts. Bread, of course, is half the battle and Nguyen provides both a guide of what to look for when buying the perfect loaf, as well as a fast-rising recipe to create a baguette-like roll. Indeed, if there is a French sensibility to some of what is offered, it is due to the fact that, as explained in the introduction, France “ruled Vietnam from 1883 to 1954, but arrived as early as the seventeenth century.” So, there is a classic mayonnaise, with Dijon mustard, in the sauces chapter and pork liver pate among the cold cuts. Beyond the Francophilia, there are tangy sauces like sriacha aioli and curiosities like silky sausage, which turns out to be a rather romantic name for a Viet bologna made of ground chicken or pork. There are plenty of hot sandwich fillings as well, some of which borrow from American comfort foods; notably, the lemongrass Sloppy Joe, seasoned with star anise, ginger and fish sauce. (Jul.)

The Meat Hook Meat Book



The Meat Hook Meat Book
Tom Mylan. Artisan, $37.50 (344p) ISBN 978-1-57965-527-3

If Brooklyn is fast becoming a borough of sustainable hipster-ism and farm-to-studio dinner partying, much of the thanks must go to Mylan. As executive chef and co-owner of The Meat Hook, his butchering skills and business savvy has transformed a former bowling alley supply shop into the must-go spot in Williamsburg for the purchase of grass-fed chops and steaks. Hoping to keep up the momentum, his first book is fast paced and covers a lot of ground. Primarily, it is an instructional guide on the butchering of seven different animals, free-ranging in size and degree of difficulty from duck to chicken to pig to cow. The photography is both useful and quirky. Each butchered carcass shows off its legs, ribs and shanks in a two page color spread with all the cuts labeled and floating against a background of the cosmos. A sheep among stars. Pigs in space. There are also a large handful of recipes to make use of once the cutting is done. Classics include pastrami, chili, and various sausages, but most of the options are more daring. The cannibal sandwich is an uncooked hamburger with raw ground round, raw egg, and hot sauce. Inside-out chicken pot pie is a whole, boneless chicken stuffed with a gravy-like vegetable filling. Tips and tool talk round out the work, the most brilliant tip being a solution for keeping grilled steaks from releasing their liquid while resting: immerse them in a container of warm duck fat until ready to eat!  (May)

D.O.M. Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients



D.O.M. Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients
Alex Atala. Phaidon, $49.95 (320p) ISBN 978 0 17148 6574 4

It’s not every cookbook that includes a meditation on death, but Phaidon strikes again in its continuing effort to reimagine the genre. This time they call upon Atala, a magic realist of a chef whose D.O.M restaurant in Sao Paolo is one of the most important culinary outposts in South America, if not the world. He explores 45 Brazillian foodstuffs, and one universal state of non-existence, in this captivating volume. For each ingredient, such as lamb, sea fish, or cocoa, there is a page of exploratory text, followed by a beautiful and brooding full-page photo shot against a black background, followed by one or more recipes. Some offerings are absurdist. The instructions, in full, for ants and pineapple are, “Place a piece of pineapple on top of a serving dish and top with an ant. Serve immediately.” Others are significantly more involved, reflecting the chef’s classical training and obsession with Brazillian flavors and textures. There is sea snail with wakame and tangerine foam112, lime and banana ravioli, and heart of palm brandade with anchovies.  Death makes its entrance between chapters on game meat and shellfish, three pages of text and 15 pages of photos that are as dark a paean to sustainable eating as one is likely to find, pointing out that, “We are, indeed, omnivores, murderers and selfish. We are human.” (Oct. 2013)