A LITTLE FOOD FLIGHT READING
SOGGY sangers or limp salads? Time to think outside the sandwich square, says Margaret Barca in Lunchbox Bible (Penguin, $19.95), a nifty little guide to what midday goodies to pack for school or work. Aside from loads of good snacking suggestions, from falafel and hummus wraps to shredded cheddar and vegetable roll-ups with tzatziki spread, Barca includes suggestions on what freezes well (and, equally, what doesn’t), which breads best last the distance (she’s a fan of the more substantial styles, such as sourdough or focaccia) and how to avoid tired sandwiches (tomatoes are prime culprits when it comes to sogginess). Let them eat more than bread, though: there are inventive salads here, robust soups and tips on turning leftovers into yummy nextday nosh.
Little crumbed lamb cutlets, for example, with those useful built-in handles, are still delicious when consumed cold, and salads of beef with horseradish dressing or beetroot, fetta and spinach keep well in an airtight container.
Barca also includes lunchbox extras, such as recipes for honey dijon dressing, onion marmalade and smoked trout pate.
LunchboxBible is the latest in a series that includes specialty titles on muffins, cakes and soups; DessertBible is next, due out on July 30. The smallish, well-illustrated colour format is a winner and the low pricing slots this good food bible series into the handy gift category.
New Orleans: A Cultural and Literary History by Louise McKinney (Signal/ Unireps, $34.95) is not a food book as such. But here is a city with such a culinary legacy (some would say the tastiest, and definitely spiciest, cuisine in the US can be found here) that globe-trotting gourmets will find much in this well-written guide, an inclusion in the Cities of the Imagination series, to whet their appetite. McKinney reveals the origins of Cafe du Monde, the city’s famous riverside coffee house, and introduces Louisiana-born chef Paul Prudhomme, ‘‘ whose popularisation of cayenne-powered ‘ blackened’ cuisine provoked a fad-like interest in all things Cajun in the US’’.
This is a worthy paperback to take to New Orleans, to illuminate the journey and to enjoy at leisure, propped open on a French-style marble-topped table, while hoeing into shrimp gumbo, jambalaya or pepper-blackened catfish. Alexandra James