Saturday, August 26, 2006

Book Review: Cook Off!

If you enjoy

reality TV--like Survivor, the Apprentice, or Top Chef, the Next Food Network Star, or Food Network Challenge

a well-written, educational and colorful non-fiction read

cooking and cookbooks or magazines. . . .

then you might enjoy Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America as much as I did.

This book was written by Amy Sutherland, a food writer from Maine, who began her year of research into cooking contests when a resident of her state won a place in the Pillsbury Bake Off. She chronicles the history of the recipe contest and then devotes a chapter to each of the biggest or most popular contests that are held across the United States throughout the year. She generally follows a different contestant in each chapter, detailing his or her methods, personality and competition style.

One thing that surprised me was to learn that many people are sort of professional "contesters," entering many recipes into many contests each year. By encountering these same competitors chapter after chapter, the book reads as a compelling and suspenseful story while allowing you some insight into the hows and whys of recipe contesting.

Edited to add that each Saturday, Sherry hosts a book review link on her site, Semicolon. Check them out or link one of your own.


Sherry said...

How fun. Have you ever entered a recipe contest? I never thought any of my recipes were original enough, just variations on something my mother got out of a cookbook or off the back of a jar.

Katrina said...

That sounds interesting. It seems like we're always watching competitions on Food Network, so I bet I'd enjoy the book. Thanks for reviewing it!

Oh, and will we be seeing a book review every Saturday? I think we should!

Jennifer said...

Sherry, I never have entered one, but my competitive streak has made me think of it, and after reading that book, I have to say that I am more interested.

Katrina, are you trying to get even with me for my comment on your game review? I definitely want to review regularly, so I suppose I could be organized and shoot for Saturdays of each week.

Sherry's hosts a book review link on Saturdays. You can link any reviews from that week at Semicolon.

Magnanimity said...

I might use a recipe...someday. Right now, I use a can opener.

I have a longing. I have desire. I just don't have people who will value the investment as of yet!

Tammy said...

I've watched some of the contests on the Food Network. On one of the cook-offs, there were a couple gals that were pros at enterings, and they showed all their a garage full of appliances!
Sounds like a fun book!

Kathleen Marie said...

Running and Christian Camp and Retreat center here we are ALWAYS looking for recipes so THANK YOU! We also have a lot of great recipes we have thought of putting into a book. THANKS AGAIN!