A note from a reader inquiring about an elusive white barbecue sauce leads perfectly into a roundup of recent cookbooks that are Cook’s Corner-approved.
Reader question: White BBQ sauce?
Intrigued, I looked for more information. Various web sources credit the sauce to Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Ala., which started serving it in 1925. There are a lot of variations on the theme, but basically the recipe is mayonnaise, lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper plus embellishments such as horseradish, Worcestershire, mustard or garlic.
Cookbook Corner: Grilling
There are a lot of barbecue and grilling cookbooks out for the summer, but Grill to Perfection, released in April, is one of my favorites because it not only has intriguing recipes but makes grilling quite approachable with its emphasis on techniques.
In the chicken with Alabama white sauce recipe here, for example, it explains that dry rubs make for crispy skin. And “by cooking the chicken over low, direct heat, you vastly reduce the risk of burning the skin.” If you’re an expert you may find the directions overly tedious, but those who just wing it will love the help.The New York Times Grilling Cookbook
Florence Fabricant and Molly O’Neill perennially resound with me, but I also enjoyed anecdotes, food history and recipes from Craig Claiborne, Pierre Franey, Jacques Pépin, Mimi Sheraton and so many more. This is a great book for your library, a lovely and comprehensive read. If I were to quibble, there are downsides: the dour grayness (hardly any photos, so like the New York Times of old) and a paucity of instruction for those who are not experts.
Cookbook Corner: Healthy EatingEat Well and Stay Slim Cuisine Minceur
This new book, out since April, reflects Guerard’s 40 years of cooking traditional flavor with fewer calories at his spa resort in southwest France, and shows the global influences that are redefining French cuisine. The main courses all are 240 calories or fewer (ceviche of white fish with mango and ginger; warm Thai chicken salad with potatoes; mushroom tarts with asparagus) and desserts equally appealing despite being low in calories (raspberry tiramisu! Apple crepes!). 140 recipes, with lots of gorgeous photos and illustrations.The Forest Feast
Charming watercolor illustrations, photography and hand-lettering add to the appeal of the book, released in April. Her strawberry salad — a light mix of cucumber ribbons, sliced berries, crumbled goat cheese, peas and nuts tossed with lemon juice and olive oil — is a perfect example of the flavors Gleeson manages with little fuss and a short ingredient list.
Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.