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Simple Barbecue Food
By Julie Biuso
ISBN: 0615169511
Publisher: Julie Biuso Publications
Publication date: April 2008
Format: Paperback
List price: $19.95 
Type: Grilling; Entertaining
Sample recipe: Grilled Haloumi with Grape Salad
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
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: Americans need – apparently – perfect grill marks on the foods they barbecue. It proves they've gone outside, taken in a bit of fresh air, fired up the grill, organized their tools, consulted half-a-dozen cookbooks, done the marinade bit, grilled for exactly 4 minutes per side, turned the food 90 degrees at the 2-minute mark, etc., etc.

New Zealanders – if Julie Biuso is any indication – only need the whisper of an excuse to grill food, and they're a lot more flexible in how they go about it. For instance, in her book, many of the recipes are cooked on a flat hot plate on top of the grill – producing no grill marks at all!, but opening up a world of grillable foods that would otherwise fall through our cracks.

(For her part, she is nearly shocked that our store-bought grills don't even come with a flat griddle. "Why in the world would you limit what you can cook on a grill?," we can almost hear her asking.)

Why indeed?

Ms. Buiso serves up a boatload of recipes most of us have would not think of preparing on a grill: fritters, wraps, cheeses, mushrooms, various salad components, pancakes, etc., and many we would: chops, steaks, burgers, various items on skewers, chicken wings, and more. The book also includes salads, side dishes, sauces, and desserts that may or may not require some grilling, and has recipes for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner. Many of the dishes can also be prepared on the stove or in the oven (but that's cheating).

Buiso's approach reminds us of those Brits Nigella Lawson or Diana Henry, involving real flavor and not too much fuss.

There are a few New Zealandisms or Commonwealthisms that you'll have to come to terms with, including telegraph cucumber (English or hothouse cucumber), buttercrunch lettuce (a.k.a. butterhead, of which Boston and Bibb are the best-known varieties), baps (soft buns), etc., that you may or may not find in the modest glossary, and there are a few ingredients that you'll probably have to find online.

To make really good use of this book, you'll have to buy a grill plate, but we think it's worth it.


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