What's Cooking With The Cookbook Publishers?

July 21, 1991|By Linda Lowe Morris

NEW YORK — Maybe you think you're immune to the seduction of a new cookbook.

Now that every bookshelf in your house is packed full. Now that you've got about four million recipes that you're never going to live long enough to try anyway. You probably think there's nothing new that anyone could possibly write or publish that could lure you into walking up to that counter and spending your precious cash.

But you would be wrong.

The new cookbooks -- those about to be published this fall, winter and next spring -- made their debut last month at the 91st annual convention and trade show of the American Booksellers Association. And amazing as it may seem in this overcookbooked world, the publishing industry has once again come up with some mighty attractive offerings.

The convention, held this year at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, is the annual fashion show for new books. More than 1,700 publishers paraded their finery before an estimated 30,000 booksellers in a glittery trade exhibit that was half flash and show business and half dead serious horse-trading.

If the collective offerings are any indication, then publishers are still banking on us being just as neurotic about food this year as in years past. For every low-cholesterol and low-fat recipe book (and there were dozens of them), there's one on rich, take-no-prisoners desserts.

Sequelitis is as rampant in publishing as in the movies. If wloved it once, they must figure, we'll love it again. So there are lots of new coffee-table cookbooks that feature nostalgic

pictures of the country, nostalgic pictures of other people's countries and lots of photographs of ingredients.

Here's a rundown of the books to look for in the coming months. Remember that publication dates, where given, are approximate.

First the-big name authors: In October, Paul Bocuse will be bringing us a taste of the provinces in "Bocuse's Regional French Cooking" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; hardcover; $35). And in the same month Paul Prudhomme will be taking us into our own regional kitchens in "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Seasoned America" (Morrow, hardcover, $23).

Wolfgang Puck has written "Adventures in the Kitchen: 175 New Recipes from Spago, Chinois on Main, Postrio, and Eureka" (Random House, hardcover, $30, October). Mary Emmerling is back with "Mary Emmerling's At Home in the Country" (Clarkson Potter, hardcover, $30, September). Mark Miller wrote "The Great Chile Book" (Ten Speed, paperback, $13.95, September). And Marcia Adams, author of "Cooking from Quilt Country" now brings us "Heartland: the Best of the Old and the New from Midwest Kitchens" (Clarkson Potter, hardcover, $30, November).

Columbia resident Nancy Baggett turns her attention to chocolate in "The International Chocolate Cookbook" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang; hardcover, $35, September).

One of the most gorgeous cookbooks this year will be "A Vineyard Garden" (Viking Penguin, hardcover, $40, October), by Molly Chappellet, co-owner of Chappellet Vineyard and Winery in St. Helena, California. Its photographs and essays will make you feel like you've been on a vacation in a very beautiful and peaceful place.

Emelie Tolley, author of "Herbs" and "Cooking with Herbs," has written "Gifts from the Herb Garden" (Clarkson Potter, hardcover, $18, November), again with photographs by Chris Mead. More herb cookery can be found in "Sage Cottage Herb Garden Cookbook" (Globe Pequot, paperback, $12.95), by Dorry Baird Norris.

Collette Rossant has an intriguing way with food, so it's nice to see her back with a beautiful full-color book called "Vegetables," subtitled "The Art of Growing, Cooking and Keeping the New American Harvest" (Viking Penguin, hardcover, $40), written with her daughter, Marianne Melendez.

"New Home Cooking" (Clarkson Potter, hardcover, $27.50October) is the title of a new cookbook by Florence Fabricant, food columnist for the New York Times. From the name alone, it sounds like something we all need.

"Kitchen Wisdom: Harrowsmith's Sourcebook for Cooks" (Camden House, paperback, $19.95) is packed full of tips and techniques and recipes to help ease your way around the kitchen.

If you liked the recipe-as-artwork theme of Mollie Katzen's Moosewood cookbooks, you might enjoy "Visual Vegetables" (Clarkson Potter, hardcover, $20, October), by Susan Simon, a New York caterer who studied both cooking and art in Italy.

The magazine Eating Well is one of the most beautiful of food periodicals and its recipes make eating healthy food and even serving it to friends actually a very appealing idea. So it follows that its first cookbook, "The Best of Eating Well" (Camden House; $17.95 for paperback, $24.95 for hardcover), edited by ,, Rux Martin, Patricia Jamieson and Elizabeth Hiser, would be both a visual feast and a real feast.

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