Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Cookbook Watch

May 05, 1999|RUSS PARSONS

At dinner parties, the role of the cookbook is more often to provide what's on the plate than to inspire what is being discussed. Leslie Brenner's "American Appetite" (Avon Bard, $25) is likely to be an exception. In it, Brenner, an award-winning journalist who has written on a wide variety of topics, dissects American cuisine. Perhaps most surprising of all--at least to some people--she argues that there is such a thing.

Of course, simply asserting its existence is one thing; defining it is another entirely. In trying, Brenner seems to stumble over the rather common mistake of following too closely to the trendy Mediterranean mold. She waxes enthusiastic about trendy Vermont goat cheese logs marinating in California olive oil and then dismisses the great flyover with a snippy, "If you want to make diner in Luck, Wisconsin, iceberg lettuce will still have to suffice. . . . Forget about trying to find a decent bottle of wine."

Of course, not all of the world's cuisines are wine-based and there is a good argument to be made that--culturally, anyway--iceberg lettuce is as worthy as cavalo nero. But that's the kind of book this is: breezy, opinionated and, if nothing else, sure to spice up dinner table conversations.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|