THE I LOVE TO COOK BOOK: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends

Lauren Groveman, Author . Clarkson Potter $35 (320p) ISBN 978-0-609-61087-9

In this celebration of home cooking, the host of public television's Home Cooking with Lauren Groveman strikes just the right tone. Enthusiastic but never cloying or condescending, she speaks to the novice without alienating the more experienced home cook. Written in narrative style, rather than a brief, numbered list of instructions, every recipe begins with a personal note and continues with detailed descriptions of each step of the process, giving readers the feeling of being guided by an experienced teacher who really cares that they get it right. Pantry basics—targeted to busy people—include practical suggestions, such as using a single dry mix to make buttermilk pancakes, cupcakes or layer cakes. The Best Barbecued Chicken builds on pantry basics, incorporating The Best Barbecue Sauce and Garlic Confit oil, ingredients that can also be used to flavor meat, fish, poultry, salad dressings and grilled vegetables. The chapter on cocktail snacks offers a mix of the elegant (e.g., the "Quartet of Recipes Starring Chewy Dates" stuffed or wrapped with cheese, prosciutto or nuts) and old-fashioned (e.g., Refried Beans and Crinkle Potato Chips). And cooks seeking a challenge will appreciate Groveman's clear and detailed directions as they learn to make their own pasta for Fettuccine alla Panna with Poached Shrimp and Green Peas, knead the dough for Six-Strand Braided Challah or mix up some Mixed-Nut Butter Crunch Toffee. Agent, Susan Ginsburg. (Apr. 20)

Forecast: Groveman is a food personality to watch. Personable, engaging, attractive and helpful without being patronizing, she may be on the rise toward celebrity.

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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