Friday, October 01, 2010

Mixt Salads, the earnest summation

Herewith, a very short review of Mixt Salads, one sorry ass cookbook.

I made only 8 recipes rather than the planned-for 10 because this book was such a dud. I ceased to trust it after about the third recipe and began to resent it. The book calls for too many obscure ingredients, plays fast and loose with expensive ingredients (chanterelles, caviar), contains annoying errors, and, most egregiously, fails to produce tasty food.

The tally of recipes:

worth the price of the book -- 0

great -- 0

good -- 1

so-so -- 7

flat-out bad -- 0

The "good" recipe was a non-recipe: sliced tomatoes sprinkled with oil and salt. I do not doubt that Mixt, restaurants serve fine salads, though I would have to actually eat one to know for a fact. I wonder if the cookbook was just a promotional tool for the restaurants, in which case silly me for taking it seriously.

But I do take cookbooks seriously. We middle class Americans inherit a problematic home cooking tradition -- shall I pull out my grandmother's recipe for a molded lime Jell-O salad with horseradish sauce as proof? -- and we need our authorities to be authoritative. After years of cooking through and reading and collecting cookbooks I can cook without books, but I could never have gotten to this point without them. Almost all of the books I've reviewed here have shaped how I cook, taught me a new trick, brought me a new recipe, given me ideas. This one didn't.

End of review.

A couple of links:

-This is wonderful.

-A crime novelist I'd never heard of but now want to read. The only thing that worries me is his reported weakness on plot, as I like plot.


  1. I have a Jell-o recipe that calls for mayonnaise and shrimp.

  2. Great article about Freedom. I don't want to read it either but my book group picked it (even though we have a must be in paperback rule) so now I have to spend all that money on it or wait past the book group meeting to get it in the library or seem like a reverse snob because i don't read it in time for the book group.
    What to do? Skip the meeting I guess (but that is cowardly)

  3. Tipsy, the paragraph that begins with "But I do take cookbooks seriously" is TRUTH.

  4. Laurie Muchnick10/2/10, 8:58 AM

    Bring Isabel to Brooklyn and we'll go to Baked!

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