READY WHEN YOU ARE: A Compendium of Comforting One-Dish Meals

Martha Rose Shulman, Author . Clarkson Potter $35 (416p) ISBN 0-609-61084-8

Shulman (author of Mediterranean Light and Provençal Light , among other books) has reinvented comfort food in this excellent collection of one-dish meals. Shulman makes comfort food multiethnic and modern with dishes like Tunisian Chick Pea Breakfast Soup and Stewed Chicken with Chipotles and Prunes. Bold flavors meet innovative treatment in dishes such as Wild Mushroom Ragout & Cobbler, which includes a recipe for a topping that can be used to make a savory pie out of any stew. Even familiar dishes are revisited in new ways, like a Fast Lemon Chicken with Honey Glaze and Sweet Potatoes that both speeds up an old favorite and turns it into a full meal with the sweet potatoes roasting in the same pan. Shulman has heavily annotated each recipe regarding advance preparation, although occasionally these hints go overboard. The layout, which places such indications in a second column next to the recipe steps, is unnecessarily distracting. More helpful are easy instructions for making most of these recipes vegetarian (Shulman got her start with vegetarian cookbooks) and suggestions for leftovers, which combine to make this an eminently useful and universal book. (Nov.)

Forecast: In a field dominated more and more by chefs' vanity projects and coffee-table books that were never meant to see a splatter, this user-friendly book stands out. That appeal, combined with Shulman's strong name recognition, should add up to strong sales.

Reviewed on: 10/13/2003
Release date: 00/00/0000
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