Mario Tailgates NASCAR Style: The Essential Cookbook for NASCAR Fans
Mario Batali, . . Sporting News, $19.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-89204-846-5
With tailgate parties that sometimes last for days, NASCAR fans do their share of gathering around for simple, hearty meals cooked and served outdoors. Food Network star and restaurateur Batali is apparently fond of such rituals, and in this little cookbook he presents food for the races, with Southern-style grilled meats in the starring role. The chef provides several recipes for barbecued chicken wings, burgers and ribs, all of which can be enjoyed in a parking lot or a backyard. Some dishes have an ethnic twist, such as Queso Fundido (a "Mexican cheese concoction") and Thai Flank Steak. Many are standard crowd pleasers, like sausage and peppers, guacamole, coleslaw and refried beans. While the recipes are solid, few deliver anything unexpected; the rare gems include Grilled Tequila and Chipotle-Rubbed Lamb, Soft-Shelled Crab Sandwiches with Spicy Tartar Sauce, and Corn and Sweet Onion Salad. Illustrated with photos of racegoers and drivers (and their arm candy), the book is peppered with racetrack analogies ("A minor variation can make all the difference in a race. The same can be said of salting a steak before grilling it"). More a celebration of the camaraderie at the track than a cookbook, this should be a hit with NASCAR fans.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2006