Books: Beyond The Perfect Pot Roast

New cookbooks show the sophistication and variety of American cuisine

Cookbooks tumble forth from American publishing houses like frites from a frying basket. In the past six months, hundreds have been published. They are profitable for the simple reason that everyone has to eat, which means that someone has to cook.

That is precisely why I have been messing around in the kitchen since high school days, when I was the first football player to hold membership in the Chef's Club. If I knew how to cook, I would be sure to eat when and what I wanted, even though my mother and father were both steady producers of great food....