By Vanessa Barrington, Chronicle Books, $24.95, 240 pages
Cooks in America are turning back to scratch cooking more and more. If you are one of these cooks, this is a useful volume in your kitchen. The author of D.I.Y Delicious encourages you to do just that. The first 19 pages introduce you to special processes and techniques, equipment and ingredients you need for scratch cooking. These are little different than what a good cook’s kitchen already has.
Recipes are good ranging from very basic and simple (vinaigrette dressing) to more difficult and time consuming (Half-Wheat Sourdough Bread). The writing is good, easy and even beginner cooks should have no problem. But for some, you need to prepare one or two other recipes from the book to be truthful to the recipe. Layout is unfortunate as many recipes flip over to the next page—an inconvenience for the cook. Each recipe’s heading gives you the active time of work and a passive time. The active times, in most cases, are much too conservative; many could be doubled to be realistic. Color illustrations are good and helpful. The page on D.I.Y Pet Food is useless; the author only refers to listed resources. Nice, cross-referenced index ends the cookbook.