Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Winter notes

Slow cooker revolution: One test kitchen, 30 slow cookers, 200 amazing recipes by America's Test Kitchen.  I didn't realize America's test kitchen was the author group when I placed my hold: I just placed holds on half a dozen weeknight-menu-type cookbooks.  This was, then, a pleasant surprise; I love ATK!  Some of their stuff can be fancy but they have a pretty good idea of what's actually realistic in a normal kitchen. 
... Unlike the next author.

Things I love: most of the recipes use normal ingredients I can actually find.  They are for meals that are not crazy-fancy or weird flavor combinations, and my family will actually eat them. They state very clearly the time it will take in the crockpot, with options for either high or low setting.  There is no down side to America's Test Kitchen cookbooks.  Thinking about buying this for home.

The Pioneer Woman cooks dinnertime: Comfort classics, freezer food, 16-minute meals, and other delicious ways to solve supper!  by Ree Drummond.  This is not a good or realistic cookbook for most people.  I guess the author is kind of a celebrity?  She spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince the reader that she's "just like us!"  Really, most of the recipes are too fiddly, have too many long or complicated steps, or are otherwise not useful for week nights for working families. Even the "16-minute meals" weren't useful-- they relied heavily on canned ingredients, which I can't eat (crazy, uncommon, stupid allergy) and also had a tendency toward weird combinations.  Not recommended. 

Countdown city by Ben H. Winters.  Excellent.  I'm kind of surprised I like these, because the writing style is a little outside of proper conventions-- there are a fair number of fragments for emphasis, or use of a comma when it should be a semicolon, and some sentence repetition, but the author totally pulls it off: it comes off as artistic and adds emphasis rather than seeming like lazy editing.

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