Burgers: 50 Recipes Celebrating an American Classic

Rebecca Bent, Author, Rebecca Gareis-Bent, Author
Rebecca Bent, Author, Rebecca Gareis-Bent, Author Clarkson N Potter Publishers $16.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-4000-5165-6
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This snappy little book about seasonal grilling and entertaining might fit well in a book display--its design is crisp and its photos excellent--but it disappoints in the kitchen, primarily because the authors pay too much attention to celebrity chefs and too little to the actual technique of cooking burgers. Two pages are devoted to grilling instructions and""basic rules,"" but there is nothing about the art of forming a hamburger patty so that it doesn't crack on the sides and leak juices (a common home-grilling mistake). Several of the recipes are poorly edited: Dean Fearing's Burger Buns requires much more flour than the amount that is listed in the recipe's ingredients, and Bent's instructions lead readers to preheat the oven for least an hour before the buns will be ready to bake. The recipe introductions provide little additional help to novice cooks; instead, most focus on singing the praises of Manhattan and national chefs. Bent, a financial marketing director turned cooking-school student, has mastered the tone of the peppy press release, but lines like""Bobby Flay brought a new kind of natural charm and estimable culinary talent to grilling"" don't really tell readers much about the food that follows. Many of the book's 50 recipes do taste great: the Corner Bistro Burger with My Fried Parsley, for example, is simple and delicious. But others appear to mix flavors willy-nilly. The Stuffed Chevre and Caramelized Onion Burger, for one, requires 11 ingredients yet tastes oddly like breakfast sausage. This book wins points for packaging, but readers who really want the burger lowdown would be better off with Desaulniers's The Burger Meisters or one of Cook's Illustrated's many guides to meats and grilling.
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