Fran McCullough knows best, maybe not about everything, but surely about American recipes. She's sifted through cookbooks, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, supermarket flyers, restaurant press releases, even the backs of boxes for the past seven years searching, testing and tasting thousands of dishes for the 150 recipes that make it into her annual edition of The Best American Recipes. Now, Fran and co-editor Molly Stevens have taken the next step and culled their favorite 150 from all those previous winners. Not surprisingly, this book is called The 150 Best American Recipes and not surprisingly it's a fabulous collection of the best of the best. I usually figure that if I can find one or two recipes in a new book that become part of my do-over-and-over-again repertoire, it's well worth the price and the sampling, but here I found a lot more than that. Starters like Cheddar Walnut Crisps and Mini Frittatas with Wild Mushrooms are make-ahead marvels. The Fresh Corn Soup is a delicate delight, in midsummer or later on with frozen kernels. I could easy have the Mussels with Smokey Bacon, Lime and Cilantro or the Pomegranate-Braised Brisket once a week, not to mention the easy, airy lemon posset and sinful Intense Chocolate Torte. Why settle for less than the best?

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