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Cookbook Watch

May 19, 1999|RUSS PARSONS

It had to happen. The unbelievable thing is that it took so long. After 50 years of books addressing the art of backyard cookery, someone has finally come up with the most groan-worthy pun of all. Welcome to "Bobby Flay's Boy Meets Grill" (Hyperion, $32.50).

Flay owns a couple of big deal New York restaurants and has parlayed that and a certain mediagenic quality into culinary stardom, including a couple of shows on the Food Network. This book, his third, is obviously his next step toward being the next Emeril. Glancing through it, you can't help noticing that there seem to be almost as many pictures of him as there are of his food. At times, the photos take on a kind of sweaty Tiger Beat vibe (here's Bobby smiling over his shoulder at you as he fills out his grocery list!).

That's not to say the book is unworthy. There's a lot of food here, and some of it looks as if it might be good, in the loud, hyperactive way favored by so many trendy restaurants these days. You get your Caribbean influences (mainly tropical fruit or other sweet background ingredients). You get your spice; there's lots of chiles. You get your self-conscious constructions. And, of course, you get that wacky title.

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