LOS ANGELES TIMES
James McNair is the king of the pretty little book. Since 1985, he's written 28 thin glossy things, packed with beautiful photography and stylish recipes. Selling more than 3 million copies, they have made him a minor brand name, a less neurotic Martha Stewart. His latest, James McNair's Favorites, is a sort of greatest hits collection from those books, though it does include recipes that have not been previously published. McNair is a culinary popularizer, not an explorer. He specializes in carefully written, workable recipes from a wide range of cuisines. In Favorites, you'll find everything form a rustic Moroccan tagine to Cambodian rice flour crepes and, of course, a lot of Thai and what might be called modern Southern cooking in between those seem to be his favorites.
James McNair's Favorites is a compilation of his favorite recipes. These classics have been updated to reduce the fat without sacrificing the flavor. McNair includes recipes such as Pueblo Vegetable Stew, Maple Baby Back Ribs and Moroccan Tagine. In addition to the recipes, McNair includes instructions on how to make pasta, cook all types of grains and form the perfect pie crust.
Now, to the list of such star cookbook authors as James Beard, Julia Child, and Craig Claiborne, add James McNair. His contribution, James McNair's Favorites, beautifully reflects today's food trends.
Although he calls his upbringinghe's a Southerner-turned-Californiana major influence on both his cooking and storytelling skills, it's his West Coast connections that have put him in the right place at the right time to become a lasting part of our culinary firmament. Americans now look toward the Pacific Rim for lighter and fresher fare, and we like our food to be art-director beautiful as well as boldly prepared and flavored.
This well-crafted and handsomely designed book, with 350 recipes and 64 full-color illustrations is unquestionably the centerpiece of his cookbook offerings. His previous cookbooksslender, delicious single-subject volumeswere elegance personified and among the first of their kind. And since the publication of Favorites, he has authored yet another elegant book, The Sutter Home Napa Valley Cookbook, filled with new and classic recipes from California's wine country. Armed with Favorites, even novice cooks can create memorable meals, while more expert cooks will use the book as a springboard to other dishes.