cover image Great Feasts Without Fuss

Great Feasts Without Fuss

Frances Monson McCullough. Villard Books, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-43139-8

Cookbook editor McCullough and caterer Witt follow Great Food Without Fuss with a sprint through the kitchens of 35 chefs to find ""simple"" meals each prepares for personal guests. Hosts range from cookbook celebrities Diana Kennedy, Deborah Madison and Carol Field to restaurateurs Johanne Killeen and George Germon (Providence, R.I.'s Al Forno). Dozens of inviting menus draw on a comestible atlas with domestic and international influences. The authors are microwave-friendly and cheerful, if occasionally overly optimistic. Even with advance preparation, Patrick O'Connell's meal of Soft-Shell Crabs with Toasted Hazelnuts, Garden Tomato Salad, Grilled Cornish Hens with Blueberries and Wild Mushrooms served on a Crispy Potato Galette and Ginger Ice Cream with Rhubarb Sauce is biting off more than most home chefs can chew without some fuss. Martha Rose Shulman, on the other hand, suggests a familiar, guaranteed (and nearly instant) toss of pasta with uncooked tomatoes in Fusilli with Red and Yellow Tomato Vinaigrette. Jan Weimer's Baked Salmon with Spinach and Leeks is essentially easy, as is Norma Shirley's peppery Shrimp Jamaica. The diversity here is dazzling. Homestyle Book Club selection. (Nov.)