U.S.A. Cookbook

Sheila Lukins, Author
Sheila Lukins, Author Workman Publishing $29.95 (624p) ISBN 978-0-7611-0775-0
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 978-0-7611-0776-7
Paperback - 624 pages - 978-1-56305-807-3
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Following up 1994's All Around the World Cookbook, the energetic Lukins, coauthor of the Silver Palate cookbooks, here assembles some 600 domestic recipes, collected during 50 trips around the country. The result is an extremely broad sampling of comfortable, recognizably American home cooking. The recipes, however, are arranged in a somewhat ungainly fashion in six sections by meal, with chapters determined generally by main ingredient; e.g., ""The Salad Plate,"" with eight variations of potato salad and four cole slaws, is in the section Cafe Lunch. The 12 chapters in Dinnertime cover more than half the total number of pages. Although many of the dishes are traditional fare, such as Glazed Country Ham, Lukins frequently puts her own spin on conventions: Really Thick Chicken Reuben or Caesar Sandwich, which adapts a Casear Salad and piles it on a soft roll. The nation's diverse regional cuisines show up in the likes of Creole-influenced Vegetable Jambalaya; Spearfish Canyon Buffalo Steak from South Dakota; Taco Polish-Style (kielbasa with guacamole and Pico de Gallo in a flour tortilla), which Lukins happened upon in San Antonio; Chinatown Lamb Chops; and Grilled Halibut Teriyaki. The All-American Firepot, beef shanks and vegetables stewed in a cast-iron Dutch oven over an open fire, captures the essence of homegrown patriotic fare. Overall, this is an enthusiastic, upscale sampling of regional food just right for cooks looking to their own heritage for fresh culinary inspiration. Nutritional analyses are not included, though wine and beer (American-made) recommendations are. 250,000 first printing; major ad/promo; 40-city author tour. (June) FYI: In the spring, United Airlines will offer a new coach-class menu based on recipes Lukins created for this book.
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