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Emeril's There's a Chef in My World!: Recipes That Take You Places    by Emeril Lagasse & Charles Yuen order for
Emeril's There's a Chef in My World!
by Emeril Lagasse
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Open up Emeril's There's a Chef in My World! and you first encounter a world map, showing the 'very exciting culinary places' the celebrity chef is about to introduce. For many, Emeril tosses in tidbits of information 'about the recipe, its ingredients, or its origins.' The chef also advises that his cookbook offers recipes in a range of difficulty levels, some very simple, while others are aimed at older children or require adult supervision (note the various caution icons).

After the Introduction comes a section on safety, in which Chef Emeril explains in some detail how A Good Cook is a Safe Cook!, with tips on asking for help, preparation, cleanliness, handling the heat, and handling tools - categories and pictures of common kitchen tools come up next under The Nuts and Bolts. Then the chef suggests Good Things to Know, such as techniques for chopping vegetables, trimming meat, cracking eggs, working with dough, and testing with toothpicks. The culinary world tour commences with Destination, Breakfast. It journeys on through Sightseeing Snacks, Salads and Starters; Globe-Trotting Soups and Sandwiches; Main-Meal Masterpieces; A Guide to Sides; The Bread Map; and finishes with Sweet Snapshots.

I'm looking forward to my son's making me German Apple Pancake or Torrijas for holiday brunch, with a Mango Lassi on the side! And I've been looking for a Swiss Muesli recipe for a while, plan to make that one myself. I love snack food at any time of day - we ate Vietnamese rolls the other night, and now can make these delicious Shrimp and Veggie Summer Rolls ourselves. I have many fond memories of eating Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce in Indonesia - it makes a wonderful summer appetizer. And it's hard to buy good Spanakopita or Empanadas, better to make your own from Emeril's recipes. The salads - such as Caprese Salad - are also simple, and look yummy. And there's a nice variety of soups - I vote for Portuguese Potato Dumpling Soup - and sandwiches like Croque Monsieur or Super-Stuffed Burritos.

On to main courses! They all look great, from Beef Stroganoff to Pastitsio, Vegetable Curry, Chicken Piccata and (a family favorite) BBQ Ribs. Sides include Moroccan Couscous (often on our dinner table) but nicely spiced here), a festive looking Green Bean Stir-Fry (including red peppers), Super-Cheesy Risotto, and African-Inspired Sweet Potato Puree. Breads are my downfall and my kids love them too (wish I could get them off white though!) Emeril tells us how to make a variety - from Mexican Cornbread to Indian Naan and Cuban Coconut Bread. Did I say bread was my downfall? Forgot the sweet course! Here are recipes for Australian Pavlovas with Fresh Berries and Strawberry Puree (makes a light but spectacular ending to heavy holiday meals); Greek syrupy Baklava; Orange-Scented Chocolate Gelato; Italian Cannoli; Caribbean Baked Bananas - and more. I gained a few pounds just looking at this section!

Learn a little as you cook together with Emeril's There's a Chef in My World! Smatterings of history and geography are included as background to recipes, pronunciations are given for names of dishes in different languages, and photos place recipes in their home locations. This large cookbook has an engaging magazine format with splashes of color, and fascinating asides. If you're a traveler, salivating over Emeril's recipes and pictures will give you itchy feet. If not, maybe it's time to make some of these dishes and then plan a family vacation to sample them en situ.

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