We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557


Food Authenticity and Traceability by Michèle Lees (CRC Press), written for professionals working in food safety and quality, reviews current and emerging techniques in food authenticity and traceability.  

The ability to trace and authenticate a food product is of major concern to the food industry. This timely and important topic is reviewed extensively in Food Authenticity and Traceability, an authoritative text on current and emerging techniques. Written by Dr. Michèle Lees, Director of Collaborative Research at Eurofins Scientific Laboratories, internationally know for its work on food analysis and authentication, the book explores

  • The importance of food traceability and authentication to the food industry.
  • Established and developing techniques such as spectrometry, chromatography, and data handling.
  • Traceability and authentication of GMOs.
  • The development of efficient traceability systems and their application in practice to areas such as animal feed and fish processing.

The first part of the book deals with analytical techniques applied to food authentication. There are chapters on both establishing and developing technologies, as well as discussions of chemometrics and data handling. Part II relates these methodologies to particular food and beverage products, such as meat, dairy products, cereals and wine. Finally, the area of traceability is reviewed in detail, looking at the development of efficient traceability systems and their application in practice to such areas as animal feed and fish processing.

Part I: Methods For Authentication And Traceability includes the following chapters: Advanced PCR Techniques in Identifying Food Components. DNA Methods for Identifying Plant and Animal Species in Food. Enzyme Immunoassays for Identifying Animal Species in Food. Proteome and Metabolome Analyses for Food Authentication. Near Infra-red Absorption Technology for Analysing Food Composition. NMR Spectroscopy in Food Authentication. Using Stable Isotope Ration Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) in Food Authentication and Traceability. Spectrophotometric Techniques. Gas Chromatography. High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) in Food Authentication. Enzymatic Techniques for Authenticating Food Components. In-line Sensors for Food Analysis. Chemometrics in Data Analysis.

Part II: Authenticating And Tracing Particular Foods includes the following chapters: Species Identification in Processed Seafoods. Meat and Meat Products. Milk and Dairy Products. Cereals. Herbs and Spices. Identifying Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs). Wine Authenticity.

Part III: Traceability includes the following chapters: Traceability in Food Processing: An Introduction. Developing Traceability Systems Across the Supply Chain. Developing and Implementing an Effective Traceability and Product Recall System. Traceability in Fish Processing. Safety and Traceability of Animal Feed. Geographical Traceability of Cheese. Advanced DNA-based Detection Techniques for Genetically-modified Food.

Food Authenticity and Traceability will be an essential reference for all those concerned with food safety and quality.

The Herb Garden Cookbook: The Complete Gardening and Gourmet Guide, Second Edition by Lucinda Hutson, illustrated by Melody Brayton ( University of Texas Press )

"Lucinda Hutson's garden is something of a legend in Austin . An invitation from Lucinda, an authority on ethnic herbs and an accomplished cook, to sample a new dish or special punch in her flamboyant setting is a guaranteed fiesta. . . . And her gusto for entertaining and cooking is exemplified in her recipes [in] The Herb Garden Cookbook." – Southern Living

The Herb Garden Cookbook is a classic cookbook for contemporary tastes with the lively flavors, vivid colors, and tantalizing aromas of fresh herbs. This comprehensive guide by Lucinda Hutson, a nationally celebrated food, garden, and lifestyle writer, covers creative, festive recipes, emphasizing Oriental and Mexican flavors as well as valuable gardening information.

With Lucinda Hutson's expert advice the reader discovers how to:

  • Grow robust and flavorful herbs using organic gardening techniques.
  • Harvest and store herbs.
  • Prepare more than 150 recipes.
  • Create intensely flavored herb butters and savory vinegars.
  • Garnish and flavor recipes with beautiful edible flowers.
  • Grow and use exotic herbs from Mexico and Southeast Asia .
  • Design menus for special occasions such as a fiesta for friends or a feast for two.

The Herb Garden Cookbook helps readers find the best sources, including websites, for buying plants, seeds, and gourmet products. Recipes include the Tuscan-inspired Panzanella, the continental Celebratory Niçoise Salad, and the Southwestern-spirited Pollo Picado. Lucinda's suggested recipe variations turn every reader into a kitchen quick-change artist. Photographs from Hutson’s own Texas gardens and kitchen inspire ideas for dazzling presentations and make meals as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. From rosemary and thyme to Mexican mint marigold and Thai basil, The Herb Garden Cookbook is a useful guide for both cooks and gardeners.


Are You Really Going to Eat That? by Robb Walsh (Counterpoint, The Perseus Group) Over his years as a food critic for publications large and small, Robb Walsh has traveled to the most remote corners of the globe to taste obscure local delicacies that others might pass up. In Are You Really Going to Eat That?, this two-time James Beard Award winner serves up a whirlwind tour of the best food the world has to offer, complete with recipes to help the home cook fully experience his tales.

Far from eating weird food for weird food’s sake, Walsh is more interested in the food that tells the story of a culture or the history of a people. Whether it’s finding the fluffiest wild rice Minnesota has to offer, fishing for exotic Chilean seafood off the country’s southern-most coastline, or chowing down on prickly pears in Mexico City , Walsh writes engagingly about the people, customs, and traditions that make us all what we eat.

In this collection of 40 articles and 20 recipes, Robb Walsh takes his readers along on more than a decade’s worth of his sometimes esoteric, sometimes peculiar culinary expeditions—from the surprisingly fantastic pizzerias of Buenos Aires to the soul of sauerkraut in Alsace . In this collection, he recounts years of seeking out savory adventures. But whether dining in the Deep South or amongst "those Cranky Europeans," Walsh finds that understanding the people and culture behind the dishes is often more challenging than simply digesting the food. For example, while traveling in Mexico , Walsh discovers that the Day of the Dead festival isn't so much about the bread, the pan de muerto or the sauce, mole Negro, as it is a day to symbolically celebrate a meal with their deceased family members. Walsh proceeds to plan his own Day of the Dead celebration, in which he will share a meal with his late father and his own stillborn son.

And as cities across America become increasingly multicultural, one need not even leave town to unearth the most unusual international cuisine. Walsh explores food phenomena on the home front and discusses authentic Mexican food with Mexicans, halal organic ranching with Muslims, the war in Vietnam with Vietnamese-American kids, and even gets screamed at by a New Yorker.

Robb Walsh’s experience is unmatched, his knowledge vast and his stories truly memorable. Seasoned by his open mind and sly humor, Are You Really Going to Eat That? is an ode to the power of food to communicate and to bring people together. But even more, it is a book of essays on the anthropology of food.  

Disney Recipes by Ira Meyer, edited by Marcello Garofalo (Disney Editions) From short movies to full-length feature films, characters from the great Disney movies are often seen sipping soups, consuming cakes, or sampling any number of gastronomic delights. One hundred and one delectable recipes, based on favorite food scenes from the films and created by award-winning chef Ira Meyer, are collected in this colorfully illustrated cookbook of Disney Recipes.

Savor such inventive and unique recipes as:

  • Appetizers and Condiments: Ariel’s “Under the Sea” Tempura and The Big Bad Wolf’s Dream Barbecued Spareribs with Blackberry Sauce
  • Pastas: Lady and the Tramp’s Spaghetti Bella Notte and Stromboli ’s Penne with Grilled Vegetables
  • Soups: Merlin’s Magical Broth and Madam Mim’s Dragon Soup
  • Entrees: Mulan’s Mahogany Chicken and Captain Hook’s Codfish Fillets
  • Salads: Alice ’s Warm Mushroom Salad and Lilo & Stitch’s Hawaiian Sandwich
  • Desserts: Goofy’s Birthday Cake and Snow White’s Gooseberry Pie
  • Baked Goods: Aladdin’s Rice Pudding and The 101 Puppie’s Kanine Krunchy Dog Biscuits

Dishes have been created by Ira Mayer, graduate of Culinary Institute of America, who has been a chef at Café des Artistes and The Russian Tea Room in New York . The book is edited by Marcello Garofalo, a journalist and film critic based in Italy .

Disney Recipes is a treat for the entire family, with easy-to-follow instructions including tips for involving kids in the preparation. Sprinkled throughout with original art work and beautiful stills from the films, this volume is a tasty treat.

Cooking With the Firehouse Chef by Keith Young (HP Books, The Berkley Publishing Group) It’s a tradition that dates back as long as anyone can remember: sharing meals at the firehouse. Ask a fireman and he’ll tell you that it’s one of the pleasures of the job. Shopping, preparing the food, and eating together builds a unique camaraderie among the “brothers”—and provides a chance to blow off some steam when not fighting fires and saving lives.

And firehouse chefs are known for their hearty meals and open hearts. But Brooklyn ’s FDNY Ladder 156 is really lucky—they get gourmet dishes from Keith Young, an award-winning chef. For these gutsy guys, battling blazes and saving lives is all in a hard day’s work. So when the going gets tough, Young gets cooking – feeding his company the healthy, flavorful fare he loves. In his first cookbook, Cooking With the Firehouse Chef, Young takes the unique camaraderie of firehouse dinners to readers’ kitchens across the country.

The food that fuels the FDNY, Cooking With the Firehouse Chef features 50 photos and profiles of firefighters as well as fun firehouse facts. Along with his recipes, Young shares anecdotes that take readers behind the scenes to a world seldom revealed. He has merged his culinary skills with the budget constraints and the less than state-of-the-art kitchen the firehouse has to offer, inspiring him to create savory, easy-to-prepare dishes made with readily available ingredients.

More than 100 recipes are included, for example:

  • Baked Chopped Clams with Fresh Herbs
  • Pasta y Fagioli
  • Mike “Squarehead” Henry’s Barbecued Pizza
  • Steak Salad
  • Braised Brisket of Beef with Gravy
  • Katch’s Fish and Chips
  • Shrimp Scampi over Linguini
  • Smoldering Crème Brulee
  • Garlic Ginger Teriyaki Shrimp
  • Braised Short Ribs
  • Rigatoni Bolognese
  • Chorizo with Chickpeas
  • Stuffed Rice
  • Timmy Boy’s Chopped Salad

These delicious American classics are sure to find a place in readers’ family cookbooks for generations to come. So light up the stove, start busting chops, and bring the spirit and camaraderie of a New York City firehouse right into the kitchen with Cooking With the Firehouse Chef.

The Way We Cook : Recipes from the New American Kitchen by Sheryl Julian & Julie Riven (Houghton Mifflin) Although The Way We Cook is a first book for Julian & Riven, two friends who love to cook together & have a wildly popular Boston Globe food column, it addresses what busy people need: easy meals for the time of day when we’re most exhausted, impressive yet relaxed dinners for company, slow-cooked suppers, weekend breakfasts that leave plenty of time for reading the paper, and desserts anyone can master. More

The Anatomy of a Dish by Diane Forley  (Artisan) is the kind of cookbook my boyfriend would like to read; it seems to be written especially for the person who loves to walk in the woods and learn the names of wildflowers. You get the idea starting with the cover illustration, a totem pole made out of a pepper, an eggplant, a tomato and a potato: a monument to vegetables. What this chef at Verbena Restaurant does is weave together her knowledge of food and botany. And, contrary to expectations, The Anatomy of a Dish is not short on meat.

Then again, maybe it’s for the designer. Diane Forley shows us first how to build a dish – and a menu – from the vegetable on up in this innovative cookbook that looks at flavors through a botanical prism. Forley's fascination with the properties and groupings of fruits and vegetables - in the garden, in the kitchen, and on the plate - suffuses The Anatomy of a Dish, a classic collection of recipes that is interspersed with botanical information and charts. 
For Forley, vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes define flavor, texture, and sensibility in cooking. The progression of recipes reflects this attitude. 

There are three basic sections to the book: Building a Dish, Developing a Menu, and Concluding with a Sweet. These sections are further subdivided into more traditional chapters on breads, salads and the like. The first part looks at vegetables one at a time, and details some of Forley's favorite ways to prepare them. All are wonderful dishes on their own, but they also form a foundation for the rest of the book. For example: Simple lentils are served with vinaigrette or made more substantial with the addition of shredded duck comfit and diced, roasted sunchokes, or paired with roasted monkfish. Other recipes include Baby Lamb Chops with Roasted Eggplant Salad with Sesame Dressing, Apple and Leek Hash, Roasted Winter Vegetable Stew, and Sautéed Salmon with Corn Sauce. 

The dishes we end up with are elegantly simple.
The Anatomy of a Dish is a beautifully designed, unique cookbook, with over 200 exceptional recipes. While not for the faint of heart or the new cook, The Anatomy of a Dish
is ideal for the creative and aspiring cook who wants to go deeper into food and learn from the botanist/chef herself.

Hawaii Cooks: Recipes from Roy 's East-West Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi with Joan Namkoong (Ten Speed Press) For 10 years, Roy Yamaguchi, one of Hawaii ’s most celebrated chefs, has explored the ingredients and growers of Hawaii on his public television show, Hawaii Cooks with Roy Yamaguchi. Now, in Hawaii Cooks he brings his rich culinary discoveries to home kitchens.

In Hawaii Cooks, Yamaguchi presents a comprehensive pantry, describing his favorite ingredients in detail and carefully explaining how flavors, textures, and colors play off and complement each other on the plate. He then puts this knowledge to use by presenting a large selection of the recipes featured on the TV show.

Yamaguchi calls his food “Hawaiian fusion cuisine.” This chef’s cooking is greatly influenced by both the Hawaii and the Japan he knew as a child. As a classically trained French chef, he has also been shaped by his culinary education and early professional career working with restaurants. So Yamaguchi combines fresh, Hawaiian-grown ingredients with French cooking techniques to produce a mouthwatering collection of recipes with eastern and western influences. Recipes such as Crab and Taro Cakes with Béarnaise Sauce, Lamb Steaks with Sweet Potato Mash and Apple-Curry Sauce, and Crab with Vanilla Sauce pack an unexpected punch in every delicious bite, bringing out the flavors of ingredients in ways that only Yamaguchi can.

Most of the book is devoted to recipes, with an outsized portion of entees. Some examples from each section include:
Appetizers: Spicy Chicken Wings, Molded Sushi with Unagi and Spicy Crab, Chuck’s Lamb Chops, Pupu Salads: Seared Scallop Salad with Mangoes and Fruit Vinaigrette
Entrees: Grilled Chuck Steak with Pad Thai-Style Noodles, Pan-Seared Chicken with Honey Sauce, Couscous and Vegetables, MediterAsian Saffron Chicken, Lemon Grass-Crusted Hawaiian Shutome and Thai Peanut Sauce, Shrimp and Clam Linguine with Chile, Lemon Grass and Black Bean Sauce
Desserts: Lilokoi Pudding Cake, White Pirie Mango Tart Flavors, 
Core ingredients and basics, like how to make chicken stock, toast sesame seeds, and make teriyaki sauce are also covered. Many unusual ingredients, like kaiware and corn sprouts, are illustrated and nearly every page has tips to the cook.
In Hawaii Cooks, Yamaguchi leads from the heart; all chefs have a generous spirit & he shares himself through his food. The best cuisine is created when you put a part of yourself into it, and this glimpse into Yamaguchi’s flavors and foods, handsomely illustrated with full-color photos, may inspire you to share a bit of yourself in your next culinary endeavor.


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