December 22, 2003 | Ask Gael
Are too many cookbooks just barely enough?
Even as I deaccession my cookbook overload, I can’t resist the new. The Maccioni Family Cookbook (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) is a keeper, if only for Mama Egi’s ingenious and wonderfully moving memoir. Simple is this year’s mantra—pure, real, no fuss—and Rozanne Gold has found yet another 500 three-ingredient recipes for Cooking 1-2-3 (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), the latest collection of her popular haiku. As scandalous as it is to find canned broth in Tom Valenti’s Soups, Stews and One-Pot Meals (Scribner), I forgive him, since I do, too. And Valenti’s recipes always work. Here his mythic lamb shanks go Moroccan. Just when it seemed Madhur Jaffrey couldn’t squeeze one more thrill out of India’s cookery, she comes up with From Curries to Kebabs (Clarkson Potter), recipes from the Indian diaspora. Celebrate! (Workman), a gathering of American classics from Sheila Lukins, is reason enough to celebrate. James Peterson and I share an obsession, as is clear from The Duck Cookbook (Stewart, Tabori & Chang). Chef groupies will covet the newest pot-boiling-overs from their favorites. Even I feel a need for Douglas Rodriguez’s The Great Ceviche Book (Ten Speed) and David Bouley’s East of Paris (Ecco/Harper Collins)—I’m wild about that walnut-praline cake. And Spago’s pastry whiz, Sherry Yard, has so cleverly organized The Secrets of Baking (Houghton Mifflin) that I’m driven to making lemon-curd goodies and truffles for Christmas gifts. The New American Chef (Wiley), from my pals Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, explores flavors and techniques in the words of the chefs themselves. And what a joy to toss out a drawerful of wrinkled clippings now that Gillian Duffy has chosen the 100 best recipes from this magazine for New York Cooks (Stewart, Tabori & Chang).