Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cookbooks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cookbooks

Article excerpt

Some cookbooks are much more than recipes. With anecdotes and vivid descriptions, they're good reads, as at home on the nightstand as they are on the kitchen counter.

Here, then, are five books perfect to curl up with on a cold winter's night.

Lucky Sheila Lukins. At her publisher's expense, she spent two years traveling the world and tasting regional fare. Then she came home and translated the recipes for the American kitchen. The result is "Sheila Lukins All Around the World Cookbook" (591 pages, Workman, $18.95 soft cover).

The title is no exaggeration. Her chapter on breakfast alone goes from Morocco to Ireland, with stops in Hungary, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Finland, Crete, Turkey, The Netherlands, Japan and Denmark. The recipes are interspersed with photos and drawings, stories of her journeys and charts, including one listing the ingredients in the chicken soups of 22 lands.

Joan Nathan looked across the United States and found recipes from across the world when she researched "Jewish Cooking in America" (466 pages, Knopf, $30).

Yemenite chicken soup on New York's West Side and kosher chicken in the pot from the Lodge at Vail, Colo., brisket recipes from Kansas City, Texas and Moroccan immigrants, Central European butter cookies and Syrian date-filled crescents the recipes are appealing and well-researched. But the heart of the book is the excerpts from old cookbooks, letters and other written materials and short sketches of Jewish life. Nathan uses food to illustrate the Jewish experience in America, and she succeeds admirably.

Artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived a colorful life, in all senses of the word. Fittingly, "Frida's Fiestas" (224 pages, Potter, $35) captures the colors and flavors of life in Mexico in the early 1940s.

Guadalupe Rivera shares stories and recipes from a year with her father and stepmother in their home, the "Blue House" in Coyoacan, Mexico. Ignacio Urquiza's vivid photographs of lovingly prepared food and of the restored home help bring her story to life, as do the photos of Kahlo and reproductions of her artwork. …

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