Blue Collar Food is the name of the authors' Manhattan catering and wholesale food business, so while the book's title may conjure up images of meatloaf and other all-American favorites, the subtitle indicates more accurately the range of the recipes it includes. Styler, author of Primi Piatti (LJ 3/15/89), and Hodge, an experienced chef, offer simple recipes of all sorts, from an overstuffed Calzone to a more sophisticated Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Sandwich to Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb, along with side dishes and home desserts. Fun to read, with lots of easy recipes, Blue Collar Food is recommended.
With the revival of back-to-basics cooking come two chefs claiming their 150 or so recipes represent blue-collar food. The dishes are, for the most part, quick fix and relatively easy to make, but some of the ingredients won't be found in the average American kitchen. At least half of the soups-to-desserts gastronomy will smack of familiar tastes and old times, including chicken soup, caesar salad, meatballs, creamed spinach, and cheesecake. As for the rest of their collection, it's a combination of some innovative and we're-tired-of-trends flavors, among them red potato vichyssoise, warm beet and goat cheese salad, and grilled trout and papaya relish. There's little consideration for calories, but there are quite a few recipes worth trying.