6 Booklist April 15, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
zest citrus or cook brown rice). Almost more
important are her confessions that, yes, food
can be a temptation—and she shares some of
her strategies to duck the devil. Dishes—from
chard-wrapped cod and roasted plums with
honey and pistachios to chicken Parmesan to
chocolate-fudge cake—that can appeal to a
variety of tastes. —Barbara Jacobs
Full Moon Suppers at Salt Water Farm:
Recipes from Land and Sea.
By Annemarie Ahearn.
May 2017. 240p. illus. Roost, $35 (9781611803327).
Mainers looking for serious instruction in
fine cooking head to Ahearn’s coastal school at
Salt Water Farm. In addition to teaching duties at her school, Ahearn hosts dinners once a
month that attract serious foodies from all over
to sample the best indigenous produce of land
and sea. Ahearn has documented the sorts of
things she likes to prepare for these repasts. Her
menus focus intently on seasonal bounty. Fall
dinners for the harvest moon take advantage of
farm bounty with chicken over a bed of vegetables and wheat berries. Winter dinners feature
beef and Stilton pie, whose rich heartiness balances perfectly with crunchy celery-root slaw.
The abundance off Maine’s coasts appears in a
simple appetizer of periwinkles and in sophisticated oysters Rockefeller. For a real Maine
potato dish, Ahearn recommends completely
unpretentious new potatoes simply boiled,
drenched in butter, and besprinkled with fresh
chives. A nice addition for libraries looking for
books on fine cooking. —Mark Knoblauch
Good Veg: Ebullient Vegetables, Global
Flavors—a Modern Vegetarian Cookbook.
By Alice Hart.
Apr. 2017. 336p. illus. The Experiment, paper, $24.95
(9781615192861); e-book (9781615192878). 641.5.
It’s not often one sees the word ebullient in a
cookbook title, but it’s a suitable adjective for
this joyful celebration of the vast and vibrant
world of vegetables. Ditch the dieter’s plate and
the sad desk salads with food-writer Hart’s wildly inventive, globally inspired creations. Her
recipes will take cooks from day starters, like
Paneer Corn Cakes with Charred Chile Salsa;
to light, clean midday meals, like Lemongrass
Tofu Banh Mi; to sweet endings, like Geranium Leaf Frozen Yogurt with Berry Ripple.
Hart wisely includes a lengthy chapter entitled
“Thrifty” that makes full use of seasonal vegetables, lentils, beans, and grains. The 200 colorful
creations presented here represent a veritable
master class in meat-free cookery and would be
a worthy addition to any cook’s shelf, no matter
vegetarian or omnivore. —Heather Lalley
The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School:
Recipes and Inspiration to Build a
Lifetime of Confidence in the Kitchen.
By Alison Cayne.
May 2017. 384p. illus. Artisan, $35 (9781579656737).
Many people fear cooking because they’ve
never been taught how to do it, and they
are intimidated by what often seems arcane
knowledge and unmasterable techniques. But
with a good teacher at one’s side, the mystery
of cooking can quickly evaporate, and its
basics readily learned. Cayne has managed a
successful New York cooking school, and her
experience with students has confirmed her
conviction that good instruction can produce
culinary competency in anyone. Through
photographs, she inventories both foods and
equipment to train novices. Beginning with
basic knife skills, she encourages students to
organize ingredients and create an efficient
workspace to execute fundamental recipes
that serve as building blocks to more varied,
complex, and creative dishes. Simple stock
forms the base of ribollita, a homey yet richly
textured Italian vegetable soup. Desserts reach
from common chocolate cake to the demand-
ing pastry supporting attractive fruit galette.
Thanks to Cayne’s accessible style, patrons
may be inspired to take a trip to Haven for
in-person lessons. —Mark Knoblauch
Stirring Up Fun with Food: Over 115
Simple, Delicious Ways to Be Creative in
By Sarah Michelle Gellar and Gia Russo.
Apr. 2017. 288p. illus. Grand Central/Life & Style, $28
(9781455538744); e-book (9781455538737). 641.5.
She may be best known for her role as Buffy
in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but actress Gellar proves that she can also slay in the kitchen
with her debut cookbook. Gellar and coauthor Russo offer more than 100 recipes that
will not only get parents excited about cooking but the kids, too. Gellar and Russo knew
that if they were going to get their kids to
eat food that was good for them, they would
need to get their kids involved in the cooking process. But, as they say, why cook when
you can craft? So together, they came up with
recipes such as Apple Pie Pops, Tortellini Batons, Snowflake Pizzas, and S’mores Parfait.
These recipes and 100-plus more offer fresh
ingredients and a fresh take on traditional
cooking. With carefully curated recipes for
every month of the year, as well as different
holidays, parents and kids alike will enjoy seeing what kind of fun they can cook up in the
kitchen all year long. —LynnDee Wathen
Beautiful Light: Religious Meaning in Film.
By Roy M. Anker.
May 2017. 256p. Eerdmans, $28 (9780802873699).
“What has film to do with religion? Or, for
that matter, anything at all ‘religious’?” Anker
asks. Quite a lot, as it happens, given the evi-
dence of his close analyses of nine films that
range from The Shawshank Redemption to
Dead Man Walking and from American Gigolo
to The Thin Red Line. Anker, who taught film
and literature for many years at Michigan’s
Calvin College, a religious liberal-arts institu-
tion, brings an academic background and style
to his thoughtful and informed examinations
of his subjects as he searches in each for reli-
gious meaning and content. Though always
persuasive and insightful, he is no stranger to
hyperbole. Of the character Sonny Dewey in
Robert Duvall’s The Apostle, he declares, “Amer-
ican cinema has never before seen anything
remotely like him.” As for Sean Penn’s depic-
tion of Matthew Poncelet in Tim Robbins’
Dead Man Walking, it is “as chilling a portrait
of aloneness as there is in contemporary Ameri-
can film.” Though not for the casual reader or
ordinary filmgoer, Anker’s resolutely brainy
Beautiful Light will be catnip for students of
religion and the cinema alike. —Michael Cart
The Cake and the Rain.
By Jimmy Webb.
Apr. 2017. 352p. illus. St. Martin’s, $26.99
(9781250058416); e-book, $12.99 (9781466862579).
Singer-songwriter Webb’s autobiography
skips around chronologically: there’s a chapter
set in 1969, then one in 1941, then back to ’69,
then 1945, then 1970, then 1960, and so on.
Confusing? Not really. Webb tells us about his
childhood, early successes, and stardom in bits
and pieces, in stories that take place in various
stages of his life, and it all makes perfect sense.
Autobiography as collage, perhaps? Webb
made his name as a songwriter; he’s worked
with such artists as Johnny Cash, Rosemary
Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell, Joe
Cocker, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, and many,
many more. He’s written a lot of songs, but he’s
perhaps best known for the often-lampooned
“MacArthur Park” (which contains the classic
line about leaving a cake out in the rain). In the
early 1970s, he transitioned from writer to performer, finding a whole new kind of success.
Webb writes in a comfortable, conversational
way, as though he’s telling a few close friends
some stories from his fascinating life, and the
book makes a great way for a music fan to pass
a few hours. —David Pitt
In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great
Ed. by Andrew Blauner.
May 2017. 320p. Penguin/Blue Rider, $23
Blauner, who’s previously edited collections
about brotherhood, baseball, Central Park, and
Boston, gathers writers’ essays on 28 Beatles
songs: Maria Popova covers “Yellow Submarine,” the song of her Bulgarian parents’ Saint
Petersburg courtship; Adam Gopnik writes
about “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny
Lane,” the single famously excluded from Sgt.
Pepper; Roz Chast, Chuck Klosterman, Gerald Early, Jane Smiley, and too many others
to name join in. Arranged in order of their
song-subjects’ release dates, the brilliant and
varied essays pull the tablecloth from under
so-familiar songs, revealing bits and pieces in
new configurations, and in contexts that are
personal, technical, social, and universal. Com-monalities emerge as writers remember moms,
babysitters, and friends’ parents unearthing the