8 Booklist February 1, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
netically adapted to be dairy free, so they can
wind up with dangerous levels of calcium in
their blood (and potential kidney damage) if
they switch to North American–style diets. Le
mixes advice, personal anecdotes, and medical
science in this fascinating food-for-thought
narrative. —Karen Springen
Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia.
Ed. by Karen Bescherer Metheny and
Mary C. Beaudry.
2v. 2015. 702p. illus. Rowman & Littlefield, $195
Food has always been an essential part of
human life and culture; food is not just what
provides humans sustenance but is used to
celebrate, communicate, and innovate. This
set delves into these diverse aspects of the archaeological history of food through more
than 240 entries covering various time periods,
theories, foodstuffs, and locations and cultures
worldwide. Entries with a broad focus, such as
Agriculture and Food and capitalism, are longer
than most entries and include research from
different places, eras, and cultures to provide
a wide-ranging context. Entries on specific locations, food items, techniques, and concepts,
such as RNA analysis, Fishing, and Jamestown,
Virginia, are more narrowly focused and
provide great detail on the topic. Each entry
includes a see also section to direct readers to
related entries and a “Further Reading” list of
important publications on the topic.
The two-volume set is easy to navigate, with
a thematic table of contents to help readers
locate related topics and a detailed index with
cross-referencing. Although the archaeology
of food is a very specific topic, this encyclopedia is interdisciplinary in order to provide
context and comprehensiveness. Therefore, it
would serve as a great resource for college-age
students in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, food studies, history, sociology, and
other related disciplines. —Kaela Casey
Cook It in Cast Iron.
Feb. 2016. 304p. illus. America’s Test Kitchen, paper,
$26.95 (9781940352480). 641.7.
Your grandmother relied on the cast-iron
frying pan, and it served her faithfully as her
kitchen’s heavyweight workhorse vessel. Cast
iron’s durability and versatility have granted
this classic pan a renaissance that goes be-
yond mere nostalgia among professional chefs
and savvy home cooks. Modern manufactur-
ers send out their wares preseasoned, saving
the consumer time and effort in creating the
special patina that can make the pan nearly
as nonstick as Teflon without Teflon’s high-
heat instability. For those who harbor doubts
about cooking highly acid foods or abusing
cast iron, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen
apply their rigorous experiments to determine
the facts about these pans. Recipes appeal to
a broad range of American cooks, with meat
and vegetables, savories and sweets. Old-
time American dishes, Italian, Mexican, and
Chinese foods appear. Even bread proves
better when baked in hot cast iron, and the
multipurpose wonder produces respectable
deep-dish pizza as well. Another winning
cookbook from ATK. —Mark Knoblauch
Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite: Food to Nourish
the Body and Feed the Soul.
By Gizzi Erskine.
Feb. 2016. 224p. illus. Interlink, $30 (9781566560528).
Award-winning food writer and author of
Cook Yourself Thin (2009) Erskine stuns with
her new cookbook. Containing both gorgeous
photos and beautiful hand-drawn pictures,
Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite is a feast for the eyes as
well as a feast for the stomach. Addressing the
current trend of “clean eating” when it comes to
food, Erskine provides an alternative way to eat
nutritiously while still enjoying and savoring
food. The chapters are designated by textures
and flavors, from “slurp” (smoothies, soups,
and noodles) to “sweet” (delicious treats).
Each recipe uses fresh ingredients that can be
found at most food markets, with a few exceptions. With easy-to-follow instructions and
Erskine’s explanation behind each recipe—like
the “Banana, Date, Almond Milk & Bee Pollen Smoothie,” where she notes that bee pollen
may help alleviate allergies—even a novice will
feel like an all-star creating these recipes. This
would be a glamorous and healthy addition to
most library collections. —LynnDee Wathen
By Deuki Hong and Matt Robard.
Feb. 2016. 272p. illus. Clarkson Potter, $30
(9780804186131); e-book (9780804186148).
Due to the television stardom of such
chefs as David Chang, Korean food enjoys
increasing influence around the U.S. Major
American cities have neighborhoods where
Korean immigrants flourish and where Koreans and anyone else can savor the unique
tastes of good Korean cooking. Famous for
beefsteak dishes including bulgogi and kalbi,
Korean cuisine has been characterized as Chinese for carnivores. And the current rage for
fermented foods has drawn more attention
to Korea’s trademark spicy, garlicky kimchi.
Hong, with coauthor Robard, celebrates
Korean cooking in America, and his recipes cover
a wide spectrum of meat, seafood, and vegetable offerings. As interested as Hong may be
in food, he has equal passion for those creative
chefs around the country who have expanded
the reach of Korean cooking beyond traditional Koreatowns’ borders. New York, Los
Angeles, and Chicago chefs offer their personal takes on Korean favorites. There’s even an
Atlanta recipe featuring Coca-Cola and hot-pepper paste. —Mark Knoblauch
Modern Éclairs and Other Sweet and
By Jenny McCoy.
Mar. 2016. 288p. illus. Houghton, $20 (9780544557192).
This cookbook shows that éclairs are sur-
prisingly versatile. The pâte à choux dough
associated with all things cream puff now takes
center stage as a carb-ready star in appetizers
and mains as well as desserts. Brooklyn-based
pastry chef McCoy teaches well what could
become a sticky mess. With step-by-step pho-
tographs and simply written directions, she lets
home bakers in on her secrets for superb pastry.
Of course, those tips are sprinkled throughout
the 100 recipes and concentrated primarily in
a few-page upfront section: sift dough before
using. Stir constantly. Don’t cover with plas-
tic. Her offerings are mainly divided by type,
taste, and by season: classic (Chantilly swans,
profiteroles); fruity (strawberry shortcakes,
banana-pudding puffs); chocolate (tiramisu,
red-velvet Nutella cream puffs); frozen (but-
terscotch bombs); holiday (Mardi Gras king
cakes, Hanukkah sufganiyot); and savory (muf-
fulettas). Except for lobster rolls that omit using
the crustacean’s body for meat (!), the recipes in
this lovely book are just the kind of temptation
that’ll lure any somewhat experienced baker
into the kitchen—and leave family and friends
looking for more. —Barbara Jacobs
Better Living through Criticism: How to
Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and
By A. O. Scott.
Feb. 2016. 288p. Penguin, $27.95 (9781594204838).
New York Times film critic Scott peppers
his brainy parsing of the practice and significance of criticism with “dialogues,” droll,
self-conducted, and self-critical Q&As, beginning with “What is criticism? And what
is it good for?” These exchanges anchor us to
the essentials, while Scott’s ruminative, eclectic, and exciting mix of analysis and reflection
zips back-and-forth between films, books, art,
music, anecdotes, aesthetics, and the in-flux
state of journalism. Drawing on Hollywood
blockbusters and the films of French director
Jean-Luc Godard, Oscar Wilde and Immanuel Kant, rock ’n’ roll and performance art,
Scott reaches to the very core of criticism—
the innate urge, the need, to share our delight
in aesthetic experiences. He then illuminates
the commitment and effort required for
transforming simple assertions into eloquent,
ideally artistic arguments. Does “professional”
criticism have a place in our “astonishing and
unprecedented cultural abundance” and cacophony of instant digital opinions? Can we
still fall into rapture over a painting, a poem?
Scott’s passionate and felicitous inquiry brings
eternal questions about the symbiosis between
art and criticism fully into the digital age.
Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen
in an Age of Musical Plenty.
By Ben Ratliff.
Feb. 2016. 272p. Farrar, $26 (9780374277901); e-book
In this age of access and abundance, the