New Cookbooks

A quick survey of the new bookshelf this morning reveals more cookbook gems. From the trendy (ice cream & sushi), to the traditional (Italian grandmas & cakes).

Sushi: Taste & Technique This is a hugely-informative, intensely-illustrated, lovely little book of everything sushi. Who knew there was so much to say about wrapped-up raw fish and rice? You can impress your friends with this one as your guide.

The Baker’s Appendix: The Essential Kitchen Companion, with Deliciously Dependable, Infinitely Adaptable Recipes Long title, small book, but packed with references to refine your baking skills. Big on conversions (of measurements and ingredients), substitutions, decorations, do-it-yourself and how-to tips, and resources, the recipes are pretty basic and classic. This is more about the ‘how’ of baking skills, and the intricacies of mastery.

Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop There are five components of ice cream: ice, fat, protein, sugar, and can you guess the fifth? (Read to the end of the blog to check your answer.) This book deconstructs each element and gives you the theoretical foundation for transforming, basically, cream, eggs, a sweetener, and some flavorings into what we all scream for. The recipes range from the ordinary (vanilla), to the creative (lemony lemon crème fraiche), to the indulgent (chocolate - peanut butter - brownie crunch), to the positively weird (popcorn), and include sherbets and frozen yogurts.

Cooking with Nonna: Celebrate Food & Family with Over 100 Classic Recipes from Italian Grandmothers This book features actual Italian grandmothers, and do they know their way around food? You bet. It begins with pasta and sauces, (what else?), and then ranges from appetizers to dessert, through sides, pizzas, soups, first and second courses, the whole orecchiette con braciole. And, best for last, it ends with a culminating chapter on biscotti – Italian cookies – my fave. Interspersed with profiles and reminiscences of the little Italian super-cooks who supply all the recipes, this is the next best thing to learning at your grandma’s knee.

And, finally, to answer the question about ice cream, the fifth component of ice cream is air.