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Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned:
A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill
By Elizabeth Karmel
ISBN: 0470186488
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: April 2009
Format: Softcover
Number of recipes: 400+
List price: $19.95
Type: Barbecue; Entertaining
Sample recipe: Nantucket Swordfish with Browned Butter and Sautéed Pecans
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: breakfast brunch lunch dinner dessert
Competition: outclassed a bit behind in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: airfare required online specialty store supermarket pantry
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose minimal complete educational
Time conscious: not conscious bald lies white lies realistic scout's honor
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant ample generous
Photos/drawings: none drawings b&w photos occasional color all color
Art contribution: disappointing distracting decorative beautiful glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine kind work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging ok clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy delicate years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: hard-to-find spotty sufficient most pages every page
Table of contents: missing frustrating minimal helpful excellent
Index: none confusing adequate nice a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writing history: beginner writer/journalist food writer writing cook personality
Cooking heritage: unknown self-taught teacher chef celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short satisfactory successful exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward good 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: As the chauffeur's daughter character says to the filthy rich Linus character in the 1995 remake of Sabrina: "More isn't always better, Linus. Sometimes more is just more."

We have been going back and forth as we worked through this book. Do we need 16 brines, 38 marinades, 49 sauces, 53 rubs, and a bunch more glazes, mops, salsas, relishes, jellies, sweet sauces, vinaigrettes, compound butters, pestos, tapenades, and spice blends? More specifically, can we make good use of more than 400 new grill flavoring recipes?

At the same time, we get questions every week from people wanting new brine recipes, so clearly people are looking for fresh ideas. At the very least, with this book, you'll never lack for ideas and recipes for ways to flavor foods that you are planning to grill.

Elizabeth Karmel does tell which meats and other ingredients will benefit from each brine, sauce, etc., but this book would be most useful if there were a broad cross-reference, telling you all the brines, sauces, rubs, and glazes that were well-suited to the ingredient you are planning to cook – say, pork chops. As it is, you have to page through all the recipes in the categories that you are interested in to find those best suited to pork chops, before you can begin your selection process.

There are inaccuracies here and there – Hollandaise is not one of the four classic mother sauces, for example. The section Lobster 101 does not inspire confidence among this group of Mainers. The rule of thumb that you grill any meat requiring longer than 20 minutes with indirect heat conflicts with the rack of lamb recipe that calls for direct heat for 45 to 55 minutes. And very few people we know – no one actually – thinks that homemade crème fraîche tastes better than the real thing.

Still, this book is a natural for those wanting to seriously broaden their grilling horizons.


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