Recipes from Home
In the spirit of James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher and Edna Lewis, this inspired work is at once a compendium of 255 recipes (including ancestral family recipes, accompanied by warm duotone family photos throughout) from the notebooks of Page, a major chef, and a lucid appeal for an American cooking tradition based on local products and the harvest calendar. Since opening their eponymous New York City restaurant in 1993, Page and Shinn have sought to give expression to Beard's famous pronouncement: ""American food is anything you eat at home."" Their cookbook abounds with beautifully simple, unpretentious dishes such as Sunflower Seed Pesto, Spring Mushroom and Sweet Pea Hash, and Toasted Angel Food Cake. Readers weary of recipes so elaborate they seem to require a sous-chef or conversely, tired supper-type cooking will appreciate Page's inventive yet straightforward approach. Although the chapters are arranged thematically, with sections devoted to such ""basic"" condiments as Apricot Ketchup and Maple-Bourbon Butter, they could just as well have been divided up by region. Tracing a path from their Midwestern childhood homes, where they were born into families of gifted amateur cooks, to the Bay Area kitchens of California and, finally, to their farm and vineyard on the North Fork of Long Island, the authors weave memories, thoughts on food and cooking, hints on technique and, of course, the recipes themselves into a seamless whole underscoring the point that superior home cooking calls for an awareness of the seasons and a relationship to the land. (May) Forecast: If Page and Shinn are as warm and appealing as their cookbook, their 13-city tour will inspire significant sales among home cooks looking to add a little zing to their meals.