My New Favorite Cookbook

You have to add “The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper” to your cookbook collection. If you’re a fan of the public-radio show “The Splendid Table,” it’s a must-buy. If the sound of “Splendid Table” host Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s voice is enough to send you into the kitchen with renewed enthusiasm, it’s a must-buy. If you like to eat, it’s a must-buy. If you’re fascinated with food, it’s a must-buy. If you think nothing’s new in the cookbook section, it’s a must-buy. And that pretty much covers everybody.

Why will you love this book? The recipes are new and fresh, with unexpected twists on tried-and-true classics. The photography is lush — while some reviewers have wished for more, the low number of photos leaves room for more recipes and, besides, the lively graphics and layouts keep things fun. But it’s the text that’s so compelling — the stories behind the recipes, the valuable how-to’s, the quick “Cook to cook” tips and the guidelines to answering such perplexing puzzles as how to buy a wok, how to read olive-oil labels and what to do with not-on-purpose wilted greens. One of my favorite chapters doesn’t have recipes: “Essential Equipment,” where authors  Kasper and “Splendid Table” producer Sally Swift tell you to buy the best you can afford and give us a glimpse into what’s usually found dirty in their own kitchen sinks.

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