Friday, January 29, 2010

Review: Cook This, Not That

The N.Y. Times' Alex Witchel is fond of the "Eat This, Not That" series of books that have been co-written by the editor of Men's Health magazine. Witchel writes:

These books give menu guidance to the angels and devils perched on the shoulders of the millions of Americans who eat at chain restaurants.

In this article, Witchel announces a new cookbook that's a spin-off of this series:

Last month brought the publication of “Cook This, Not That! Kitchen Survival Guide” (Rodale, $19.99), written, like the others, by [David] Zinczenko with Matt Goulding, a contributing nutrition editor at Men’s Health. In its first week on sale, according to Nielsen BookScan, it became the best-selling cookbook in the country, providing recipes for healthier home-cooked versions of dishes from restaurants like P. F. Chang’s, the Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen.

Although Witchel generally likes the new book, his attempt to replicate a dish from the menu of Olive Garden didn't go so well. He learned this lesson:

But when it comes to the home cooking event that is spaghetti and meatballs, that toothsome duet of comfort and luxe, I’ve got my eye on this month’s Bon App├ętit. Its Spaghetti and Meatballs All’Amatriciana calls for ground beef, white wine and applewood smoked bacon. It serves eight. Which means next time, I will be cooking that, not this.

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