Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cookbooks: Dad’s Awesome Grilling Book by Bob Sloan

Why has our culture seemingly gone out of its way to link cooking outdoors over flaming coals with men? When looked at very carefully what, truly, does one have to do with the other? Something primal, perhaps? Something hunter to a woman’s gatherer? In his reasonably impressive new Dad’s Awesome Grilling Book (Chronicle Books) award-winning food writer Bob Sloan tries to sum things up.
Like so many Dads, I love to grill. Perhaps it’s being so close to the fire that harkens back to an earlier, simpler time -- before, say, income tax or Jerry Springer. The grill is, after all, just a man, a pair of tongs, and heat.
What could be simpler? And Dad’s Awesome Grilling Book is simple but it’s also, in some ways, quite beyond simple. Do you really think, for instance, you can dismiss “Lamb Picadillo,” “Scallops & Prosciutto on Rosemary Skewers” or “Grilled Halibut Reggio Emilia Style” as simple? They might be easy, but we’re several layers beyond grilled weenies and reheated beans.

The recipes here are uniformly terrific: well-planned, creative, original and -- based on both tests and observations -- all quite do-able. Sloan’s descriptions of the grilling experience is lucid and recommendations on necessary equipment and “must-have” materials are right on target.

Dad’s Awesome Grilling Book joins a very long line of excellent outdoor cooking books, including 2008’s excellent Patio Daddy-O at the Grill and Weber’s Way to Grill, which I talked about in this space a few weeks ago.

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