Celebrating the Pleasures of Cooking: 145 Recipes Commemorating Cooking in America

Chuck Williams, Author, Norman Kolpas, Editor Time Life Medical $24.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-7835-4934-7
In 1956, the author founded Williams-Sonoma, a cooking equipment store in San Francisco. The business grew via catalogue sales and retail expansion; now there are more than 150 outlets around the country. Always a food lover, Williams collected recipes to go with the kitchenware and included them in store catalogs. Here, he arranges 150 enticing recipes by decade, demonstrating how culinary interests in the U.S. have evolved over 40 years. From 1956 to 1966, he points out, an awareness of French food grew, a fact reflected in traditional Chicken Breasts with Tarragon and Leg of Lamb with Beans. Their eyes opened, home cooks became more adventurous in the next decade, making such dishes as Poached Salmon, Veal Paprika with Spatzle and Tarte Tatin. From 1976 to 1986, cooking became a serious enterprise with items like Fresh Pasta, Semolina Gnocchi, and Pot Roast with Aceto Balsamico. In the last decade Williams observes a return to such basics as Italian Country Pizza, Ginger Apple Crisp and Creme Brulee. The recipes, which are uniformly easy to follow, rely on fresh ingredients. Sidebars offer excerpts of commentary from cookbooks published in each decade and recall how American attention has been captured by everything from the Cuisinart to balsamic vinegar. Worthwhile as both social history and recipe collection, this volume is as invitingly readable as a Williams-Sonoma catalogue. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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