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Everyday Dining with Wine and The Wine Lover Cooks with Wine (October 28, 2004)

book review
by Dean Tudor

Everyday Dining with Wine (Broadway Books, 2004; distr. Random House, 309 pages, ISBN 0-7679-1681-6, $42) is by Andrea Immer, a Master Sommelier and author of many wine books such as Great Wine Made Simple and an annual buying guide. She also serves as dean of wine studies at the French Culinary Institute in NYC.

The Wine Lover Cooks with Wine: Great recipes for the essential ingredient (Chronicle Books, 2004; distr. by Raincoast, 224 pages, ISBN 0-8118-3022-5, $34.95 paper covers) is by Sid Goldstein, a food and wine writer who was at Fetzer Vineyards one time, co-author of a book with John Ash, and author of The Wine Lover's Cookbook.

Both of these books cover the same territory, but in different ways and in different patterns. They are actually complementary, and I cannot recommend one over the other. Immer has 125 recipes (100 for dishes) with an emphasis on minimal fuss and cost; Goldstein has 75 recipes with a strong John Ash connection and sourcing from many other chefs (all acknowledged). Immer's book is "using simple recipes and cooking techniques, combined with simple wine-pairing principles, to vastly improve everyday meals." She has more spicy food than Goldstein but less complicated food.

Immer has good material on menu planning, cured meats, vegetables, herbs and nuts, and dry-aged cheeses. There are five major ways to enhance a food's flavours (and hence complicate wine complements): seasoning and searing, roasting vegetables, making a pan sauce, brining, and bedding the sides. Her book is arranged by the weight of the varietal, starting with the riesling and aromatic wines, through sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, zinfandel. Goldstein's book is arranged by cooking method, with chapters on steaming, marinating, poaching (e.g., fish), braising (e.g., ribs), and reductions (e.g., sauces). Both books have sections for the obvious sides and desserts.

Immer seems to concentrate on American wines (she suggests particular wines by brand name; I have an innate distrust for this type of thing), while Goldstein uses mostly European-styled wines in cooking (most of his food is French, Italian and Spanish, not too heavily spiced). Goldstein recommends wines by varietal. He has a description of the types of wine (light and fruity through full-bodied, and the fortifieds) and how each is to be used in cooking. Each recipe has wine as a major contributing factor. Immer concentrates more on wine pairing rather than wine cooking. For example, Goldstein's first chapter gets right down to sauces and marinades with recommended varietals for different types of sauces. There is a wine recommendation for what to use in cooking and what to serve when eating (plus alternate choices for serving). He has plenty of tips, as does Immer.

Immer also has lots of detail on why particular wines go with particular dishes. She has a wine FAQ section for all the wine basics. And because her book is arranged by varietal, she has nine menus with wine recommendations and page references to the recipes.

Goldstein's bibliography for further reading includes no book by Immer, and indeed, has nothing beyond 1999 except for a small newspaper article. Immer has no bibliography but does include a US source list for mail and online orders. Goldstein's index includes not only products and ingredients but also names of wines and cookbook writers and chefs used as sources. Both books use US volume measurements but only Goldstein has a metric equivalents table.

Audience and level of use: an intermediate level is suggested, although Goldstein's book may require more experience. Hospitality schools can certainly use both books.

Some interesting or unusual recipes: Immer has a fennel and apple hash, coddled eggs with cauliflower potato purée, coq au riesling with leeks, tarte tatin. Goldstein puts forth a corn and chive crêpe with wild mushrooms (from Napa's Trilogy), curried scallops with grapefruit and ginger with a white wine butter sauce, and a monkfish tagine (from San Anselmo's Insalata).

What I don't like about this book: Goldstein needs more braising recipes, while Immer has too much wine material (virtually replacing her earlier books). Also, her view on "seasonal – schmeasonal" food did not resonate with me; it is the opposite of Goldstein's.
What I do like about this book: Goldstein has alternate wine choices for each recipe; Immer has page references for her menus plus an upfront "course by course" recipe list with page references.
Quality/Price Ratio: Immer rates a 91 (hardback, lots of wine data, more recipes), while Goldstein gets a 90 (paperback, more upscale food, fewer recipes).




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