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David Burke’s New American Classics
Brilliant Variations on Traditional Dishes for Everyday Dining, Entertaining, and Second Day Meals
By David Burke
ISBN: 037541231x
Publisher: Knopf
Format: Hardcover
List price: $35
Type: Regional: American; Chef’s
Sample recipe: Asian-Style Pot Roast
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Tone: food police intense neutral supportive comforting
Result: guilt-inducing heavy-handed balanced encouraging inspiring
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: Chef David Burke's goal is to take American comfort food dishes and present them in three ways – with the traditional or near-traditional recipe, jazzed up as a chef might do it, and, with any leftovers, as a unique second-day preparation. Thus Eggs Benedict becomes Canadian Bacon Potato Cake with Poached Eggs and Spicy Tomato Salsa for the contemporary update, and Bacon, Potato, and Eggs Strudel for the day-after meal.

A Cobb Salad becomes a Stacked Chopped Cobb Salad with Chipotle Vinaigrette and a Spiced Cobb Salad "Summer Roll" with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce. The Tuna Steak Provençal can be transformed into Tuna Steak au Moutarde with Miso Vinaigrette and Shititake Dumplings, leaving for the leftover dish Tuna Niçoise Salad Hash.

The book includes recipes for breakfasts, appetizers, soups, salads, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, fish, shellfish, a meatless main course (only macaroni & cheese, since the chef's experience really has to do with center-of-the-plate proteins), and desserts.

Many (most) of the dishes look wonderful. The problem, of course, is that this is a chef's cookbook. Many recipe will be beyond the abilities of most home cooks. Who will make all three variations of a single dish? Our guess is, almost no one.

Still, there is a great deal of practical information in this book, presented in a very straightforward and conversational way. You can learn a lot from this book. Indeed, we gave it a ranking of excellent – it's just not for most people!


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