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RPL

Shelley Civkin

by Shelley Civkin
Richmond
Public Library

Good to grill–Bringing out the barbecue reference books

What's the next best thing to eating ice cream on a hot summer day? Scarfing down barbequed steak, hamburgers and hot dogs of course! Yet, some of you might be out there right now saying "au contraire!"

You are likely the person(s) for whom barbequing is more than just grilling something that doesn't move. Unlike myself, you are discerning eaters; you are more than mere carnivores.

That's where all the library's cool barbequing cookbooks come in. They offer the timid, culinary wimps among us (myself included) some options beyond burnt weenies and E-coli burgers.

In a flash : fast and fabulous barbecue meals from the fire chief by David Veljacic is a handy companion for cooks with little time and a tank of propane. With recipes like skewered oysters with yogurt curry dipping sauce, papaya pork steak, Thai thighs, and salmon fillets in a Caesar dressing, this barbeque cookbook contains a nice range of foods, and is perfect for the chef on the run.

For the truly barbeque-impaired, there's The complete idiot's guide to grilling with Ted Reader. What this cookbook lacks in pictures, it makes up for in comprehensive information for the grilling newbie. If you don't know how to use a gas barbeque, or what kinds of spices and marinades to use, or even how to tell when your steak is done, then this is the book for you.

Covering everything from essential barbeque equipment to basic pantry provisions, to various techniques for cooking, to recipes for every kind of food you can imagine (including Grilled Forest Mushroom Soup), this book goes way beyond the basics. I mean, who knew you could make grilled sea bass wrapped in grape leaves? Or fruit kebabs on grilled chocolate pound cake? Now this is my kind of cookbook!

And of course no library would be complete without a copy of Grilling : indoor & outdoor from the famous Company's Coming series. This book is filled with color photos of yummy foods, but it's quite traditional and doesn't really venture off the beaten track. But if you're a dedicated Company's Coming groupie, then go for it!

In my cookbook exploration, I found that there's an abundance of great recipes for marinated and stuffed vegetables, but there is a suspicious dearth of recipes for barbequed tofu. Big surprise? I think not.

Maybe it's that tofu eaters are more acutely aware of the carcinogenic risks of barbequing (I read that somewhere...). Or maybe tofu eaters generally aren't barbeque aficionados. Or maybe there just aren't that many things you can do with tofu on the barbeque. Or maybe they're afraid of fire. Who knows?

For those with an indoor electric grill, there's a new cookbook called Hot off the grill by JoAnna M. Lund. Alas, it includes no pictures, so it's best used by those who can visualize. That deficiency aside, it's got some healthy low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar recipes.

Shelley J. Civkin is the Communications Officer at the Richmond Public Library. For other popular reading suggestions, check out Richmond Public Library's Web site at www.yourlibrary.ca/goodbooks.


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