Understanding the NICU: What Parents
of Preemies and Other Hospitalized
Newborns Need to Know.
By Jeanette Zaichkin and Gary Weiner.
Ed. by David Loren.
Nov. 2016. 310p. illus. American Academy of Pediatrics, paper, $16.95 (9781610020480); e-book (9781610020497).
It’s hard to imagine a better guide for
parents of premature babies than this title
from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The well-qualified authors, a nurse and two
medical doctors with decades of experience in
neonatal intensive care units, spell out what
brings babies to neonatal intensive care units
(NICUs). They explain many problems, from
bleeding in the brain to complications of diabetes and high blood pressure. And they note
that some babies die. They recommend that
parents of preemies name their offspring: “
Referring to a baby by name, even after death,
gives dignity to that life.” They share the stories of 14 families whose babies spent weeks
and sometimes months in the NICU, and
share their photos. No two stories are alike.
Augie was born 16 weeks early, with no lasting
problems; twins Holland and Eden, also born
16 weeks early, suffer from cerebral palsy. All
the parents express sincere gratitude for the
doctors and nurses who supported them and
their kids. As a result, even the not-so-happi-ly-ever-after tales feel somehow empowering.
The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating
the Lengendary Cuisine of Syria.
By Marlene Matar.
Dec. 2016. 352p. illus. Interlink, $40 (9781566569866).
Syria’s venerable cuisine draws together
diverse strains of Middle Eastern traditions
to form a rich amalgam. As the nation’s larg-
est city, positioned close
to Turkey and Lebanon,
Aleppo is home to Arabs,
Kurds, Turks, Jews, and
other ethnic communi-
ties, each of which has
contributed to its culi-
nary traditions. Moreover,
Aleppo was the western
terminus of the ancient Silk Road, so even
Chinese influences are detectable in its cook-
ing. Professional chef and cooking instructor
Matar offers detailed instructions for prepar-
ing multiple versions of kibbeh, the Middle
East’s renowned ground-meat dish. Other
recipes offer tasty ways to cook vegetables
for serving both hot and cold. Rich, sweet
desserts conclude the book. Recipes are easy
to follow and rarely demand hard-to-find
ingredients. It’s hard to imagine a cookbook
that can make a reader weep, but poring
over this book’s richly colored photographs
of Syrians crowding souks amid a sumptu-
ous array of foods and utensils, one can only
mourn their probable ruin in Syria’s current
civil war. —Mark Knoblauch
YA: Students preparing current-events
reports on Syria can find a host of ideas for
Syrian foods to cook and bring to classes to
make presentations less abstract and more
immediately compelling. MK.
The Baker in Me.
By Daphna Rabinovitch.
Nov. 2016. 488p. Whitecap, $45 (9781770502420). 641.81.
In the market for a solid baking book that
covers all the bases while introducing some
novel creations? Rabinovitch’s expansive volume has got you covered. She starts with a
well-detailed educational chapter on proper
measuring, basic ingredients, techniques, and
kitchen tools before diving in with sections on
cookies, bars, chocolate, muffins, cakes, breads,
and more. The book features a nice mix of fancy, advanced recipes (chocolate truffle pecan
tart with spun sugar dome, chocolate blackout
cake, reine de saba ice cream cake) but even
more everyday favorites like bubbie’s banana
bread, golden corn muffins, five-spice butter
cookies, and Passover chocolate cake. Whether
they are a new baker looking for an introduction to sweet treats or a seasoned one in search
of recipe inspiration, readers will find that this
book is a great addition to any cook’s library.
Do not flip through this on an empty stomach—the pictures alone will likely send you to
the kitchen. —Heather Lalley
Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of
By Sarah Lohman.
Dec. 2016. 288p. illus. Simon & Schuster, $26.99
(9781476753959); e-book, $12.99 (9781476753980). 641.
Every culture across the globe is uniquely
characterized by its cuisine. The food of American culture is distinct in that it has been notably
influenced by the myriad ethnicities residing
throughout the country. Lohman, a historical
gastronomist, presents the eight flavors—black
pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder,
soy sauce, garlic, monosodium glutamate,
and sriracha—that are utilized most often
in American cookbooks from 1796 to 2000.
Each chapter focuses on one flavor and gives
a well-researched historical context, along with
a dash of Lohman’s own personal experiences
The Ethical Carnivore: My Year Killing
with the flavor, from teaching a black-pepper
tasting class to helping work a chili food truck
to attending a multicourse garlic degustation.
Historical and interestingly updated recipes
that feature each flavor—such as Thomas Jef-
ferson’s French Vanilla Ice Cream, Soy Sauce
Chocolate Mousse with Fruit Compote, and
the Rosemary House Garlic Carrot Cake—are
sprinkled throughout the text. This delicious
history of these now-ubiquitous ingredients
will have readers savoring each page and licking
their lips for a taste for more. —Becca Smith
By Louise Gray.
Nov. 2016. 320p. Bloomsbury, $28 (9781472938398);
e-book (9781472935540). 641.36.
Concerned for her health, the environment,
and the humane treatment of animals, British
journalist Gray vowed to eat meat only from
animals she personally killed for one year. That
year turned into two years as she investigated
and reported on the business and consequences
of humans eating meat. Traveling around Great
Britain and abroad, she hunted small and large
game animals, visited small farms, boarded several types of fishing boats, and toured factory
farms and slaughterhouses. She even collected
roadkill and tasted insects. During her work on
the book, when she shot a bird or cut a pig’s
throat, she took home not only observations
but also fresh meat to serve to her family and
friends. Mixing accounts of her own experiences with profiles of frontline meat producers and
her research from government and academic
papers, Gray has produced an entertaining and
enlightening work of environmental reporting.
Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique:
The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to
Nov. 2016. 720p. illus. Hamlyn, $75 (9780600634171).
Classic French cooking as practiced in the
grand restaurants of France no longer reigns
unimpeachably over the culinary world, but
its rigorous treatment of ingredients still sets a
standard that aspiring chefs of any stripe must
master in order to present perfect plates to
their customers. Institut Paul Bocuse continues training new generations of cooks in this
exacting discipline. This textbook, with its step-by-step instructions illustrated with detailed
photographs, shows students how to prepare
vegetables, meats, and seafood. It upholds classic tradition by starting with the fundamentals
of executing the full array of foundational sauces that made French cooking once dominate
world kitchens. Having explained the technical details, the book progresses to recipes for
fully-plated restaurant dishes with all the relevant garnishes and accompaniments. Grading
symbols rate each item’s degree of difficulty.
Serious culinary students will use this over and
over as a comprehensively instructive reference.
It’s hard to imagine a cookbook that can make a reader weep, but por-
ing over this book’s richly colored photographs of Syrians crowding
souks amid a sumptuous array of foods and utensils, one can only
mourn their probable ruin in Syria’s current civil war.
—Mark Knoblauch, on The Aleppo Cookbook