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Cookbooks

December 20, 1987|MINNIE BERNARDINO

Whether you're buying gifts for a culinary novice or an expert, an ideal present is as close as the nearest bookstore. The Times' Food staff looked at a sampling of the cookbooks released in time for this holiday season and offers the following reviews to assist last-minute shoppers. Some of these books get down to the basics, some deal with ethnic cuisines while still others are as much a feast for the eyes as for the appetite. These--or the host of other cookbooks you'll find on sale at local stores--will not only delight the recipient but might ensure the giver some memorable repasts during 1988.

Candymaking by Ruth A. Kendrick and Pauline H. Atkinson (HP Books: $9.95, 159 pp.)

When a mother and her daughter combine their efforts to produce a candy-making cookbook, sweet success can be expected. Seventy-eight-year-old Pauline H. Atkinson and daughter Ruth A. Kendrick, who say they have been making candy "forever," feel confident that "Candymaking" can turn anyone into a top-notch candy maker. Well-known for their delicious sweets recipes, both women have been involved in teaching candy-making classes.

The dramatic book cover, illustrating a luscious big red berry being dipped into chocolate, leads into equally beautiful close-ups in every chapter.

The novice candy cook will appreciate the informative but easy-to-comprehend lesson chapter as well as easy-sounding, well-written recipes, particularly in the chapter on easy recipes for microwave. Candy selections for popular holidays and special occasions are also listed. For instance, the authors suggest a colorful candy-filled popcorn cake for the Fourth of July, marzipan fruits in a cornucopia for Thanksgiving, cherry cordials for Valentine's Day.

Aside from traditional treats like fondants, divinity and nougat, caramels and brittles, Kendrick and Atkinson have created novel confections such as "fudgels," a cross between fudge and truffles.

A whole chapter is devoted to chocolate, featuring types of chocolate and their characteristics and various methods for melting and dipping.

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