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.)
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.