cover image James McNair's Squash

James McNair's Squash

James McNair, Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $27.75 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-87701-586-4

Anyone whose vegetable patch has become overrun by squash must seek new ways to cook and eat the bounty, and McNair provides valuable guidance in selecting, handling and cooking squash's many varieties. The book treats summer and winter squash separately in recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, baked goods and desserts. The author presents facts about food without waxing overly encyclopedic; his recipes can be lush or lean, adjusted to a cook's taste. And McNair ( Chicken ) is more than willing to accommodate the American obsession with dieting (summer squash soup can be made with whipping cream or nonfat yogurt). Imaginative standouts include a zucchini, leek and chevre tart in a wild rice crust, Mexican pumpkin turnovers and winter squash ice cream. Only a few dull entries disappoint, while spaghetti squash is sadly neglected. Color photographs by Patricia Brabant make even the simplest recipes look delicately vivid. (June)