Week ending August 30, 2013
Blackledge, Todd & J.R. Rosenthal (text) & Bryan Jaroch (photos). Taste of the Town: A Guided Tour of College Football’s Best Places To Eat. Center Street. Sept. 2013. 208p. photos. ISBN 9781455547296. pap. $20; ebk. ISBN 9781455547272. COOKING
In 2007, ESPN college football announcer Blackledge decided to try a new segment during Saturday Night Primetime. He created “Taste of the Town,” which spotlights noteworthy local restaurants in the college towns he visited. It quickly became a hit, and Blackledge has collected his favorite restaurants and their recipes in this travel guide–cum–cookbook. Each chapter includes a particular school, a few favorite eateries in town, recipes of their signature dishes, and comments by Blackledge on what he loves most about the area. The recipes included here are not health fare; most are calorie-loaded restaurant dishes, often fried, but mouthwatering nonetheless. The book contains appetizers, main courses, and desserts, from fried pickles and mac and cheese to a “Devil Made Me Do It” chocolate cake. While there are many tempting offerings, readers may be disappointed not to find recipes for all of the signature dishes Blackledge describes. It is unfortunate that more of the Big 10 schools are not featured as well.
Verdict Fans of college football will enjoy the local stories and recipes. Readers who aren’t concerned with calorie counting will find many delicious dishes that are great for game-day parties.—Melissa Stoeger, Deerfield P.L., IL
Cohen, Rich. Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football. Farrar. Oct. 2013. 320p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374298685. $26. SPORTS
Although the 1980s Chicago Bears won just one Super Bowl, that 1985 championship team was as dominant and captivating as any in NFL history. On the field, the fierce, marauding “46” defense was arguably the greatest ever, while on the sidelines there was compelling, edgy tension between fiery head coach Mike Ditka and feisty, innovative defensive coach Buddy Ryan. Cohen (The Fish That Ate the Whale), a Chicago native, was a teenage fan when that legendary team won its lone title. More than 25 years later, he revisits most of the key figures, and his interviews with charismatic, outlandish team leaders Jim McMahon, Dan Hampton, and Steve McMichael make for fun and informative reading. Unfortunately, Cohen injects his own life into the team’s story much too often, and his treatment of the early years of the franchise is riddled with a series of factual errors that one hopes will be corrected in the finished copy.
Verdict Less focus by Cohen on himself would have made a better book, but the work is still recommended because all football fans will want to read more about the engaging players and coaches of this iconic team.—John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ
Kimber, Edd (text) & Georgia Glynn Smith (photos). Say It with Cake: Celebrate with Over 80 Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More. Kyle: Kyle Cathie. Sept. 2013. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 9781906868932. $24.95. COOKING
Kimber’s (The Boy Who Bakes) career took off when he won in 2010 the first season of BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off and was crowned the best amateur baker. Here, he builds on his reputation for beautiful desserts that are easy to bake. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill recipes; though the book contains some American standards, most of these dishes have a European flair. Grouped by themes such as birthdays, romance, and holidays, the recipes include strawberry shortcake, baked Alaska, apple strudel, salted caramel truffles, coconut macaroon sandwiches, figgy pudding, and classic British digestives. Accompanying the recipes are clear, concise instructions for techniques, as well as sumptuous color photographs of the desserts, illustrations, and childhood pictures of the author and his family. The book also contains templates, suggested equipment, a resource list, and an index.
Verdict Cosmopolitan in feel, this dessert title would be a good addition to a standard collection where unique recipes are desired.—Jane Hebert, Glenside P.L. Dist., Glendale Heights, IL
Sargent, Ben & Peter Kaminsky. The Catch: Sea-to-Table Recipes, Stories, and Secrets. Clarkson Potter: Crown. 2013. 255p. photos. index. ISBN 9780307985521. $30. COOKING
Readers seeking new and unique fish recipes will do well to try this cookbook. Sargent, a fisherman and host of the Cooking Channel’s Hook, Line & Dinner, presents a wide variety of ways to prepare just about any type of fish. The book is broken down into shellfish (clams, crabs, shrimp, mussels, etc.) and finfish (bluefish, catfish, salmon, etc.). A New Englander, Sargent seems to have a fondness for chowders, as there is a chowder recipe for almost every fish here. Other dishes range from risottos to simple grilling. While most of the recipes are fairly simple to execute, many do require a number of ingredients. Sargent assumes his readers have a certain level of experience when it comes to the more complicated recipes and does not give much instruction for techniques such as deboning, filleting, or carving fish cheeks. Interspersed throughout are brief fishing stories and vibrant photos.
Verdict Visually pleasing, with recipes suitable for the novice as well as the expert, this cookbook will appeal to those who are looking to try something new with their fish.—Melissa Stoeger, Deerfield P.L., IL