If you think that you would like the major agricultural and barbecue foodsthis book is for you. Texas is filled with innovative cooks. Barbecued vegetables, fish and pizza are a few things in addition to beef. Pecans and Spinach top the list of mass production. Tomatoes, salsa and sauces join with the gulf seafood and Texas- grown fruits. Each recipe is laid out in a simple but attractive format on the page under "Ingredients and Directions." In a small insert, the "Cooking Utensils You'll Need" are listed and on the opposite page is a beautiful picture of the finished product. The size of the book is nice for laying on a counter or for propping up. Some of the really unique recipes include Barbecue Sauce, Collard Greens, Black-Eyed Peas, Fried Okra, and Sesame Cookies. The wonderful Fried Chicken, Fried Catfish, Corn Bread, Sweet Potato Pie, and Pecan Pie are all included, too. The color and design of the whole book is magnificent. The front of the book contains an "Introduction"; "Texas Culture, History, and Traditions"; "Before You Cook" with safety tips; a "Metric Conversion Table" "Pan Sizes"; "Useful Tools, Utensils"; a "Cooking Glossary" and "Special Texas Flavors." At the back are further reading and information, an index, and credits for the author, recipe tester/food preparer, consultant, and recipe contributor and picture credits. This book is part of the "American Regional Cooking Library: Culture, Tradition, and History" series. The series' consultant is The Culinary Institute of America. 2005, Mason Crest Publishers, Ages 12 to 18.
Gr 5-8-Although The Culinary Institute of America is cited as the series consultant, these disappointing titles fail to provide the clear, explicit instructions that characterize excellent cookbooks for kids. In the section "Useful Tools, Utensils, Dishes," a photo of a blender is captioned "electric mixer" (Southern Appalachia). In the recipes, the ingredients are not consistently listed in the order used, the number of servings produced is not noted, and nutritional information is not given. Instructions are presented in a single paragraph and are at times vague. To prepare "Easy Guacamole" (Mexican American), readers are instructed to "cut avocados in half and scoop out the green flesh," with no mention of how to deal with the often firmly imbedded pit. Because these are collections of authentic regional cuisine, fat and calorie counts are often high. For "Baked Beans" (Southern Appalachia), the instructions say to brown a half pound of lean ground beef, but do not mention draining off any fat before adding the other ingredients. The books include interesting information on the history and traditions behind the dishes, and the large color photos are appealing. Lynn Kuntz and Jan Fleming's American Grub: Eats for Kids from All Fifty States (Gibbs Smith, 2003) combines humorous trivia with a down-home recipe in a fast overview of regional cuisine.-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.