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The Barcelona Cookbook
A Celebration of Food, Wine, and Life
By Sasa Mahr-Batuz and Andy Pforzheimer, with Mary Goodbody
ISBN: 0740773941
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Publication date: July 2009
Format: Hardcover
Number of recipes: 115
List price: $29.99
Type: Spanish tapas; Chef's
Sample recipe: Roasted Beets with Cabrales and Toasted Walnuts
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: all 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/mostly 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: Ah, the nutmeg state! – colorful leaves in autumn, insurance capital of the world, and bastion of authentic Spanish tapas cooking. Whose thoughts don't turn immediately to Connecticut?

Of course yours would, too, if you thought of the Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar, which first opened in 1996 in South Norwalk and has expanded to Greenwich, Fairfield, West Hartford, Stamford, and New Haven. In fact, the largest Spanish restaurant group in the United States is entirely in Connecticut.

Obviously in the restaurants and the new cookbook, it's not just tapas – Spanish hors d'oeuvres – because some of their customers wanted main courses, not just a progression of appetizers. And as their restaurant kingdom grew, so did their offerings.

The chapters break it all down, featuring cocktails and wine, cold tapas, hot tapas, main courses and party dishes, and desserts. The offerings may be as simple as roasted garlic, but there are also recipes with 20 steps and a full page of ingredients. Nothing is left to chance – in the recipe for Chicken al Pimentos, seven of the 15 steps are how to bone a chicken. Some of the recipes are complicated, but you will never complain that they don't tell you exactly what to do. Along with interesting sidebars, recipes are paired with wine suggestions, menu and party planning recommendations, and tips for applying certain restaurant tricks to the home kitchen.

We're writing lots of words when all we really want to say is that the food presented in this cookbook is authentic and delicious!


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