Books: The Old Cuisine Wins New Allure

Mother's cooking goes to the head of the table

The best cookbooks are much more than collections of recipes. They involve the history, economics, technology, climate, social order and religion that shape a nation's cooking. This concern with context is evident in the major cookbooks of the past few years, in which origins are sought out, variations explored and invention honored. At the same time, they have marked a retreat from the ostentatious extremes of "new" cuisines, from what Author Paula Wolfert calls "front of the mouth" food. "Though these dishes may appeal to...

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