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The Cheesecake Bible
By George Geary
ISBN: 0778801926
Publisher: Robert Rose
Publication date: October 2008
Format: Paperback
List price: $24.95
Type: Single Subject: Cheesecake; Dessert
Sample recipe: Pistachio Cheesecake
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 great Ochef Top 100

Comments: Asking if the world needs another cheesecake cookbook is not an idle question. After all, even among the author's four other books, one is a cheesecake book (although with only 125 recipes; this one has 200). Still, a great cheesecake is a wondrous thing, and if George Geary, pastry chef turned cooking school teacher, is going to encourage us to make more, who are we to argue?

The book features nearly 30 classic and "regional" cheesecakes (English Trifle, Dulce de Leche, Tiramisu, Lemongrass, Café au Lait, etc.); chapters on chocolate, fresh fruit, citrus, and nut cheesecakes; no-bake cheesecakes (relying on gelatin to set up); cheesecakes in different containers (pies, small cheesecakes, and bars); savory cheesecakes; 15 holiday or celebration cheesecakes; and a chapter on toppings and sauces used to decorate cheesecakes.

There is lots of variety among the recipes, but, really, you can only push the envelope so far. How many of the dozen cheesecakes that feature coffee are you ever going to make? The 21 savory cheesecakes – Herbed Gorgonzola, Olive Pesto, Chipotle Chile, Smoked Salmon, Three-Cheese Torte, etc. – are perhaps the most groundbreaking in the book.

The tools and ingredients section strikes us as being a little on the light side. And a little more thought could have gone into the blurbs introducing each recipe or they could have been dispensed with entirely – comments like, "It reminds me of my annual tours of Provence" or "Key limes are sometimes difficult to find in local grocery stores" take away more than they add.


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