Even heftier, with more than 1,000 pages, Starting with Ingredients: The Quintessential Recipes for the Way We Really Cook is Aliza Green's magnum opus and entry into this year's capacious cookbook sweepstakes. Green, an award-winning cookbook author, has organized her new book into 100 chapters, each devoted to a single ingredient from almonds to zucchini, with stops for beef, baccalˆ, mangoes, mozzarella, mussels and more. Each one receives a thorough background check, revealing its history, quirks and varieties. And each ingredient struts its stuff in a range of recipes inspired by varied ethnic traditions. For example, the ordinary cucumber sings when sautŽed with classic French fines herbes; an unusual combo of lentils and chestnuts stars in a thick Neapolitan zuppa. It's a great way to get up-close and personal with the building blocks of cuisine.

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