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Publishers WeeklyThis odd recipe collection from culinary historian Johnson feels more like a conversation with a quirky cooking enthusiast than a full-fledged cookbook. Instead of using the traditional recipe format-lists of ingredients followed by detailed instructions on what to do with them-Johnson relies on "recipe notes," wherein she lays out the basic gist, and follows up with "details," in which she riffs on the recipe, its invention, or anything else that strikes her fancy. Most of the dishes she includes are vegetarian, healthy, and so basic they could be constructed by a third-grader: Dog Days Supper, for instance, involves piling a plate with tomatoes, cucumbers, quinoa and basil, and dumping some hummus in the middle. Other recipes require a slightly more comprehensive skill set, such as a tempting Minestrone with Millet and summery Snap Beans with Pesto. Unfortunately, too many dishes are either profoundly unappealing (a vegetable-thickened Peanut Butter and Jelly Soup) or frustratingly vague: cooking instructions for Double Treatment Salmon, for instance, are to "run under the broiler until gorgeous." Nevertheless, the author's chatty warmth and clear enthusiasm for whipping up unconventional treats makes this cookbook fun to flip through, if not necessarily tempting to cook from.
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