Back to Square One: Old-World Food in a New-World Kitchen

Joyce Eserky Goldstein, Author, Rachel Goldstein, Illustrator, Evan Goldstein, Photographer
Joyce Eserky Goldstein, Author, Rachel Goldstein, Illustrator, Evan Goldstein, Photographer William Morrow & Company $23 (420p) ISBN 978-0-688-10122-0
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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The title of this ambitious work by Goldstein ( The Mediterranean Kitchen ) reflects the name of her now rather famous San Francisco establishment, a comfortable, open-kitchen eatery where an eclectic mix of ethnic and American foods is artfully and often playfully presented. At the root of restaurant and book alike is Goldstein's vision of the chef's role as ``artist, interpreter, and caretaker of cultural artworks we call recipes.'' Familiar classics (Passover sponge cake, persimmon pudding and gefilte fish), however, are the exceptions in a collection where an Italian fritto misto is given a subcontinental twist (and called Indian fritto misto al mare), where Caesar salad becomes a sauce for pasta, and where a crabmeat, corn and spinach risotto--Italian in origin--is embellished with Oriental flavors. Other interesting creations include a ``jambalaya risotto'' with shrimp, scallops, ham and smoked sausage; fish with tahini, cilantro and cayenne; and ``cannoli of dreams,'' Italian fried pastries filled with sweetened mascarpone and ricotta, bing cherries, semisweet chocolate, lemon and tangarine peels. The result is an enticing array of multicultural recipes that are relatively simple to cook and fascinating to read. Illustrations, by Goldstein's daughter Rachel, not seen by PW. Author tour. (Oct.)
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