So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Tag Archives: Book

Just popping in after a year to plug a new book

Hey guys, yep, I’m still alive. Just haven’t been all that inspired to post lately. I’ve discovered that once you get out of the habit, it’s hard to get back in.

In any case, a friend of a friend has written a new novel set in the restaurant milieu. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s not very expensive and the author comes recommended by a friend of mine who happens to be in a pretty famous band that many of you would know if I were to mention it (but I’m not going to do that).

In any case, check it out. Here’s her description of it:

“Love, loss and redemption are common threads found in the colorful tapestry of human experience. This book is part crazy quilt, part magic carpet, and filled with characters who sound like someone you know – especially if you’ve ever worked in the restaurant business. Strap yourself in and take the A-ticket ride with restaurateurs Sam and Mimi Killian, musician Dr. Jake Reston, and an assorted cast of broken and loveable (or not) fellow travelers on their humorous and humbling journey toward…well…you’ll see”.

If you spend the 4 bucks for it, let her (and me for that matter) know you saw it here. It will make my day (this post is completely unsolicited and even my friend doesn’t know that I write this blog).

Here’s where you buy the book (and yu can preview the book at Amazon. The image below is just a jpeg.

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Fourth-Dimension-Restaurant-ebook/dp/B00B3L2094/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359219637&sr=8-1&keywords=pl+byrd

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The book that you have been waiting for is finally out!

No, not my book.

Sorry to get you all excited.

No, it’s Tips²: Tips For Improving Your Tips by David Hayden of the Hospitality Formula Network.

Let me be blunt – if you are a waiter/server/bartender and you don’t buy this book, then you really don’t care about how much money you make. This book is a multiplier of skills and bank. It’s written in a clear, concise yet comprehensive style. It’s laid out logically and covers just about every topic that a waiter needs to know in terms of maximizing his or her earning potential.

The book is broken down into 10 sections and 41 chapters. With sections like Before Your Shift, Starting Your Shift, Interacting with Your Guests, and The Mechanics of Serving, the book puts lie to Hayden’s statement that “This book is NOT a training manual. Due to the fact that you picked up this book, it is assumed you know how to wait tables”. Those preliminary sections cover much of what the rank amateur waiter needs to know to make his or her descent into the maelstrom of waiting tables a smooth and unbumpy one. This book should be part of the training package of every restaurant who hires people who have never been waiters.

But it doesn’t stop there – with subsequent sections like Selling and Serving Wine, The Pitch, The Key Times, Selling as a Server, Special Guests, and The Intangibles, the main intent of the book becomes clear – waiter make money, guest get good experience, manager get smooth shift – everybody happy.

My blog covers many of the same points. In fact, you’ll get a sense of déjà vu when you read Mr. Hayden’s book if you’ve spent any time with my posts. The main difference is the clarity of vision and training. I tend to ramble, go off-the-cuff, go off on tangents, and generally get parenthetical (sometimes). You’ll find little of that in this book. What you’ll find is  a book full of practical hints, tips and directives that aren’t just theoretical abstracts; they can be applied on a daily basis.

Do I think it’s complete? Hell no! There are valid points that this very blog have made that are left out. Anyone who has waited tables for a long time has had situations that have given them insight that could be valuable to the waiter-at-large. But, all in all, the book is probably the most practical and valuable resource that a waiter could find on any bookshelf (either real or virtual) in North America. I say North America because other restaurant cultures have different standards and practices that might be at odds with the North American restaurant culture.

In a perfect world, this book would be the core of the book that I had intended when I first considered starting a blog on the subject of waiting tables. I wanted a book that was lavishly illustrated with photographs, filled with sidebars of interesting factoids and footnotes, brimming with information about everything from rapini to Calvados. I envisioned parts of the book that would be considered reference material for the ages – a book with the heft of a wine atlas, the look, feel and knowledge of a Thomas Keller book, the practical and accessible wisdom of a “…for Dummies” book. This book would be part of the curriculum at Cornell, would sit on every restaurant book shelf, would grace the coffee tables of the rich and poor alike, and my name would be whispered with a measured awe in the break rooms of restaurants for years to come.

Well, sorry. The bones are there; the framework sitting in the archives of this very blog. Until the storied day when a literary agent looks at my concept, knows just the perfect graphic designer to create the cheap equivalent of the Nathan Myhrvold “Modern Cuisine” $625 cookbook, my dream of the ultimate book on waiting tables is just that – a dream.

Until then, this book by David Hayden does what I hoped to do – make it possible for a newly-minted waiter to avoid the usual pitfalls of “learning on the job”. This is a dual goal; not only does it mean that waiters can share the knowledge necessary to maximize earnings, it means that fewer restaurant guests will have to suffer the fumbling of such “on-the-fly training”.

It’s lean, it’s mean – it’s the opposite of what I intended. And just what the world needs.

BUY THIS BOOK.

Buy my book or I'll make you look like a fool in front of your date.

Review of How To Be A Better Restaurant Customer

How to be a better restaurant customer –  stop sabotaging your own dining experiences. 

A simple compound sentence that forms the title of a provocative eBook by Marta Daniels, who began this project as a blog. Daniels, who has been in the business for over 10 years, has seen it all and has a great storytelling sense.  Using examples that waiters everywhere have experienced time and time again, Daniels’ goal is to educate the dining public about the ways that they make waiters’ jobs far more difficult than they need to be.

Everyone complains about bad service, but they don’t realize how much of the experience they hold in their own hands. Waiters aren’t robots  that automatically turn a diner’s presence in the restaurant into a super experience.  They are bound not only by the circumstance of the restaurant but also by the behavior of the guest. I think that the average diner would be amazed about how often waiters must deal with diners who come in with chips on their shoulder. Sometimes it’s because they’ve had a bad day, sometimes it’s because they have always sabotaged their own dining experience because of the way that they were taught by their parents or by unreasonable expectations that they’ve held for one reason or the other. We as a modern American country have become a “have to have it now”, “want to change the product to suit my needs”, “the customer is always right” and”I am entitled to have things ‘my way’ ” society.

Daniels challenges that paradigm by showing ways to actually turn dining from a zero sum game into a win/win proposition. It doesn’t have to be a “I only win if you lose” or “I have to rank you lower than me to raise myself up” sort of deal. she does this through concrete examples of self-destructive psychoses that we sometimes see with the dining public. She starts at the host stand and works her way through the ceremonial paying of the check and the leaving of the restaurant.

She covers the importance of reading the menu, the abusing of free stuff like bread, the sense of entitlement that some guests have, the modifying of the menu, the coming into for dinner moments before the restaurant closes, the wage structure and tipout responsibilities of the waiter, cell phones, unattended kids, would-be comedians, delusional types (like the people who have to ask you multiple times if the kitchen can do something that you have clearly said that they can’t do) separate checks, pen stealing, and numerous other behaviors that tend to drive waiters of all stripes crazy.

I’m hoping that some people recognize some of these behaviors and gain a new understanding about how these behaviors can impact the dining experience.

I do have a couple of quibbles.

The first is that a reader can get the idea that waiters don’t have any control of their circumstances and the second is that they aren’t psychic.

 To the first, great waiters can triumph even through double-seats, kitchen going down in flames, bad management (up to a point, that is), being so weeded that they can’t see straight, kitchen meltdowns, etc. I realize that this isn’t the purview of this book, but I would have liked to see some acknowledgment that waiters have some responsibility in service, even when faced with obstacles. After all, it’s true to a certain extent that these problems aren’t the guest’s concern, that they are there just to eat and have a great experience. I’m not sure how you would fold this into the theme of the book, but I wish that Marta had tried. After all, if you read my own blog, you know that waiters have strategies that they can employ to turn a potentially distasteful dining experience into an uplifting one.

To the second point, we might not be psychic, but great waiters are mind readers to a certain extent. We read body and facial language and we have to read between the lines sometimes.  I understand Marta’s point in that, if something is important to you as a diner, then you need to be specific about it and not leave it to waiters to figure it out for themselves. If you have a certain quirk or a hot button issue about dining out that really ticks you off if it occurs, it’s best to address it with your waiter, not assume that they should know about it. I guess that I would like an acknowledgment that great waiters are psychic to a certain degree and this is one way that a guest can judge the competency of a waiter, i.e. if they ask the perfect questions in order to determine the exact nature of comments that you make. For example, if Mary M. Q. Contrary asks, “How hot is Rattlesnake Pasta?”, she might be asking for one of two reasons – she either doesn’t like hot food (the usual reason), or she loves hot food. It’s up to the waiter to ask, “What is your heat tolerance”? If the waiter assumes that’s she’s scared of hot food but it turns out that she actually loves hot food and the waiter says, “It’s quite spicy” because most people find it pretty spicy, she might very well be disappointed in the Rattlesnake Pasta that the chef has been careful to season to give the semblance of heat while being able to be enjoyed by the greatest number of people possible.

Another slightly anal quibble is the discussion of t-bone vs. porterhouse. Porterhouse is a t-bone. As she rightly goes on to discuss, it’s just a larger version of the t-bone, with the size of the filet portion of the cut and the thickness of the cut being the determining factors. Yes, it’s a “different cut” with a different name, but she misses an opportunity by making it sound like they are completely different cuts (well, technically they are, but not really, if you get my drift). Where she misses her opportunity is by not telling the guest, “We offer the Porterhouse, which is a large t-bone” and then going on to explain the difference. Instead of scolding the guest  for not wanting the Porterhouse because they want the t-bone (after all, not everyone has experienced a Porterhouse or knows what one is), she should let them know that the Porterhouse is a t-bone, a “super t-bone”, if you will. If they are annoyed that they can’t get a Porterhouse for the price of a t-bone, that’s their problem (I suspect that this might be the cause of any problems that she might have with this) They can’t get a 15 oz filet for the price of a 10 oz filet either. I don’t think that there’s enough responsibility placed on the waiter in this book, but it is written to educate the diner, so perhaps my quibble isn’t really fair when it comes to this point.

I hope that restaurant diners read this book with an open mind. The tone is one of tough love, of chiding and scolding done to emphasize the points that she’s making. that can be off-putting to some people, especially people who don’t recognize their own dining behavior. But much of this is stuff that needs to be said. There are already plenty of complaints, some richly deserved, about the level of service in the US. This book, through outlining situations that every one of us waiters have been through over and over, shows the other side of the coin.

I think that the idea is a novel one. Most of the time, when you read about restaurant service, it’s either from the aspect of improving service from the service end (like my blog), a waiter’s rant sort of blog, or critical comments from diners about the horrible experiences that they’ve had or complaining about the tipping system that has developed in the US. Daniels has found a unique angle to dining and this should be required reading for anyone who dines out in restaurants. Just understand that there is plenty of waiter ranting, but it’s done to help you, the diner, have a better experience and become a more understanding consumer.

Here’s another, possibly better, review of her book:

http://technorati.com/entertainment/article/how-to-be-a-better-restaurant/

You can get the book here:

http://howrc.com/

As of this writing, it’s available for $2.99. It’s a steal at twice the price.

                                                                                               Marta Daniels.

PS Marta, it’s tomatoes, not tomatos. But I’m not one to talk, considering how many typos and misspellings escape my careful editing of my own blog.

Cookbook of the day – The Cook’s Bible

The Cook’s Bible: The Best of American Home Cooking

by Christopher Kimball

Publisher – Little, Brown and Company 1996

ISBN 10: 0316493716

ISBN 13: 978-0316493710 

Christopher Kimball is the bowtied, avuncular founder of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and can be seen as the host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen on PBS.

The premise of his various media is a test, or trial and error approach to solving the world’s culinary mysteries such as how to achieve the perfect pie crust or “how do you create the perfect blueberry muffin?”

To this end, we find the book The Cook’s Bible.

This is a very useful look at not only creating “the perfect dish” but also a quick and dirty comparison of various cooking implements, the type of tests that you find in Cook’s Illustrated, a magazine refreshingly devoid of advertising. Kimball also answers the questions that have puzzled us through the years, such as “What’s the difference between baking powder and baking soda?” and an explanation as to how cornstarch and flour thicken sauces.

Many of the trial and error tests include outcomes of various trials, with the results listed sequentially. This is very useful indeed.

However…

I did find two fairly serious flaws in the book. The first is the command that you shouldn’t wash, rince or soak rice first. Well, that’s not the case with jasmine or basmati rice. Basmati rice in particular must be rinsed 4 or 5 times, until the water turns from cloudy to clear. This is done for several reasons – first, imported basmati often has the occasional tiny pebble or twig left in the bag. You want to get rid of those. Also, some basmatis are polished with talc or glucose and you want to get rid of that as well as well as additional starch. Some people say that basmati should be soaked; I’m not one of them. Kimball and his crew outline the various methods of cooking rice, but didn’t hit on the way that I’ve found that works best for basmati – simply put, you put about an inch of water above the rice (I was taught an index finger first knuckle by a very good Indian chef), add some ghee, oil or butter, toss in a bit of salt and bring to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and walk away for about 12 minutes. Don’t uncover it until at least 12 minutes. At that point, you can check it for small “steam craters” on the surface of the rice (small pockmarks where steam has escaped. Normally, the rice is just about ready at this point (unless you’re cooking mass quantities, of course). To check to make sure it’s ready, you take a chopstick and carefully part the middle of the rice and see if there’s any liquid remaining in the bottom. If so, return to the heat and leave it covered for another 2 minutes and recheck. Normally, by the second check, it’s done. You want to be careful to disturb the rice as little as possible. The great thing about this method is that the “inch of water above the rice” method works consistently for any reasonable amount of rice and any reasonably shaped saucepan (I’ve never tried it for rice for 10 though).  No measuring required. No precise measured ratios between rice and water. Once you get the hang of what “an inch above the level of the rice” looks like, you’re home free. My rice always comes out perfectly and never over or undercooked or stuck to the bottom of the pan. This works with either basmati or jasmine rice.

My second quibble is with his description of barbecue. Well, not so much with his description of barbecue itself, but his “blow by blow account” of cooking a 3.75 lb Boston Butt. First of all, he was waaaay too dainty when it came to air and grill temperatures. Even the most conservative, hidebound, Luddite know-it-all BBQ’er knows that 225 degrees is just fine. Trying to keep the temperature around 200 as Kimball did just slows things down and doesn’t help anything. Also, he found that the temperature had dropped from 145° to 140° at one point, leading him to speculate that he had taken the internal temperature at the wrong place. What he didn’t know, but any halfway experienced BBQ’er knows, is that there’s a plateau point in slow cooking where the temperature either stays the same or even drops for an extended period of time. that’s one of the first things you learn when cooking Boston Butt – that it generally plateaus at around 140° for an hour or two, and oldtimers caution newbies not to panic and crank up the heat – it’s just part of the process. But the final nail in the coffin is that he served the Boston Butt sliced at 145° and proclaimed it “the best barbecue he had ever tasted”! Well, maybe that’s what passes for BBQ in Vermont (or even Boston, where his empire is based), but I can’t imagine a 145° piece of Boston Butt being even edible. You see, Boston Butt is highly marbled and dense. It must be cooked to at least 180°, and that’s if you’re going to slice it. All of the connective tissues and fat must be rendered first to keep it from being tough. And personally, I cook it to the point where it can be pulled, which is a minimum of 195° (I usually like to go to 200° – 205° to assure maximum elimination of solid fat and connective tissue). I guess it’s also hard to find larger cuts of Boston Butt where he’s from (ironic that he claims to mostly only find 4 lb’ers of Boston Butt in Boston of all places – here in the South, the most common size is between 6 and 9 lbs). No, he definitely missed the boat all around on his section about BBQ’ing. He specifically says, “For barbecue, the experts say that the heat should be kept at a steady 200° – not 250° or 275°. This is hogwash. Paul Kirk, one of the most successful BBQ’ers says between 230° and 250° and Ray Lampe goes with an even higher temperature for pork butt (the cooler name for Boston Butt) – 275°. I’ve participated in the most widely read smoking forum on the web and most people talk about 225° – 250°. And I’ve discovered that for larger butts of 6 lbs or more, you can go for the first 2 – 4 hours at 300° without any problem (of course, your bark will be black, but that’s the perfect bark where I come from). Christopher needs to do a little more research. Perhaps he has, since this book is about a decade old. Oldtimers will bust me for the 300° comment, but I’ve done the trial and error thing as well, making notes all along the way, and my 300° – 325° initial temperatures and rendered perfectly moist pulled pork time and time again. the thing is, the last half of the cooking must be done at the more conventional temperatures – I like 225° once I get to the halfway point (I figure about 1.25 – 1.75 hours per pound – every Butt is different due to shape and density – I’ve had it take as long as 2 hours per pound before).

In any case, there’s a lot of useful information in this book, but be careful about some of his proclamations. I guess it would be trial and error for that as well.

Cookbook of the day – Asian Grills

 

Asian Grills

by Alexandra Greeley

Publisher Doubleday; 1st edition (April 1, 1993)

ISBN 10: 0385422121

ISBN 13: 978-0385422123

The book is a sleeper. Unassuming at first glance, this cookbook actually covers virtually all of Asia, including Indonesia/Bali, Malaysia, Singapore, the Treasure islands, Laos, Myanmar and, of course Thailand, Japan, India, China, Hong Kong and Korea. She even visits Macau and the Philipines, both usually left out of the discussion of Asian foods.

Grilling has always been an essential part of all of these cuisines and author Greeley surveys each area with a nice mix of dishes, not all of which are necessarily grills. she offers a personal perspective and knowledge of each culture and her thumbnail sketch of each area is valuable to those of us who will never visit.

She has a well-rounded glossary and she draws distinctions between similar ingredients in different countries, warning when substituting one for the other will dramatically change the character of the dish. She distinguishes between Singaporean and Malaysian Laksa, for instance, although she only gives the recipe for the former. It would have  been nice to have both recipes. Her Thai green curry seems reasonable (I haven’t made it) and I would have liked to see a red curry recipe as well. She has a red curry dish, a grilled duck recipe, but it uses a commercial red curry paste. Of course, Thai curries are usually used more in “stews/soups” type of preparations, but it’s nice to see it used for grilled dishes as well.

I’m anxious to try the Grilled Balinese Duck, a banana leaf wrapped smoky/spicy duck cooked directly on low coals for 8 – 10 hours.

I highly recommend seeking this book out, It will expand your horizons greatly and any of these dishes can be cooked on a decent sized kettle grill. Well-written and well-researched, this is an enjoyable survey of the world of Asian grilling.

Balinese grilled duck. Photo by Jean Marc D at Yelp.

http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/l2CuOXGfLMzNQ-mSf8ylKA?select=0Cc-isET5wNucxwMTGxWaA

Cookbook of the day – Wine

Christian Callec

Wine: A Comprehensive Look at the World’s Best Wines

by Christian Callec

  • Publisher  (October 7, 2003)
  • ISBN 10: 0517221659
  • ISBN 13: 978-0517221655
  • This book is one of those books that was designed from the outset to be marketed as a “remainder”, those less expensive books that you find on the budget tables of bookstores. It’s a handy source of wine information, but its great virtue, and the reason that I’m specifically recommending it this morning,  is the copious amount of photos of actual bottles that illustrate the various winemaking regions. Using top producers as visual examples, you’ll get a look at the labels of many great  producers and the bottles that hold their product.  There are plenty of labels in lieu of bottles as well as the usual panoply of vineyard and “behind the scenes” shots.

    Visually, this is real blessing for any dedicated wine enthusiast and is worth digging around for. As of this posting, Amazon.com has about 15 copies in both new and used condition, and they range in price from .99 to $21.95.

    If you want a visual tour of the great bottles of the world, this is your round-trip ticket.

    Cookbook of the day – The Art of Creole Cooking (1962)

    Creole Cooking

    The Art of Creole Cooking

    by William I. Kaufman and sister Mary Ursula Cooper, O.P.

  • Publisher Kessinger Publishing, LLC (September 12, 2007)
  • ISBN 10: 0548387699
  • ISBN 13: 978-0548387696
  • The cover subtitle of this book is accurate: A delicious composite of familiar and not-so-familiar Creole recipes documented with pertinent historical comments.

    I have the original edition of this, complete with the original dustcover pictured above. Long out of print, it has been republished by the above publisher in 2007, so it is once again available to the discerning foodie. Currently, there’s at least one copy of the book with original dustcover available for $40, but there are several available without dustcover at eBay for far less. If you are happy with a paperback reprint, the book will set you back around $20.

    Before we get into the book itself, let’s make clear that Creole cooking isn’t the same as Cajun cooking, even though it shares many characteristics, including reliance on the integral brown roux, used as a foundation ingredient in many dishes in both cuisines. However, Creole cooking integrates Spanish and American Indian flourishes in addition to French and Black influences.

    Basically, Cajuns were more isolated, as you might expect from a group of Acadian ex-pats from Canada. They stuck together and stayed more of a closed culture, and their cuisine generally reflects that. Creoles tended to employ more diverse influences. You might make a broad sweeping generalization (always dangerous, of course) that Cajuns were more rural and Creoles more urban. People who are in the know will tell you that most cuisine that you find in New Orleans proper is actually mostly Creole, rather than Cajun. Creole is a more “refined” cuisine, while Cajun is more “comfort food” (refined not intended to mean that it’s “better”). This makes Creole a better cuisine for restaurant service with its refined sauces and plate presentation possibilities. Cajun is more what you would find at family gatherings, as it’s very “pot-centric” and family-style. Creole also has a Caribbean influence because many Creoles have a Haitian heritage. 

    Tom Fitzmorris, famed New Orleans food critic, has a very sensible primer on the difference between the two, and it’s worth a read:

    http://www.tabasco.com/taste_tent/menu_planning/cajun_vs_creole_cooking.cfm

    Now that we’ve dispensed with this, what about the book? The most famous Creole dish is Shrimp Creole. But Creole cuisine is far more than that, which you will discover when you browse this book. There are many French-based recipes such as Crepes Suzette and Delicieux Poulet au Vin (Delightful Chicken with Wine), made with sherry rather than the red wine that you would expect from a French chicken dish with vin in the title. There is Oyster Stuffing, Braised Pigeons or Doves, Turtle Soup, Porcupines (a tasty little baked confection made from ground pecans, dates, shredded coconut, brown sugar and eggs) and Crackling Corn Bread (which reflects the Black culinary influence).

    Every chapter has specific information about the Creole slant on the following recipes and it’s full of practical information that will help you navigate the cuisine.

    I highly recommend this volume, whether you try to seek out an original copy or simply buy the current reprint.

    Creole boudin

    Creole Boudin (Creole Sausage)

    Cookbook of the day – The New Professional Chef

    5184Z03AGCL__SL500_AA240_

    The New Professional Chef

    by The Culinary Institute of America

     

  • Publisher:Van Nostrand Reinhold; 6 Sub edition (November 7, 1995)  
  • ISBN-10: 0471286796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471286790
  •  

    This is the basic textbook of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). It’s big and expensive. I don’t recommend buying it new, but you can sometimes find it at used bookstores for $20 – $30.

    Obviously, it has a lot of basic information about things that a chef needs to know about nutrition, safety concerns, kitchen tools, food prep and food ingredients. However, I think that some of the other books that I’ve recommended that focus on specific things like ingredients, cooking techniques for specific cuisines, etc. is money better spent.

    I’m recommending this book to those who have the occasional need to produce food for large gatherings. if you occasionally throw large dinner parties, patio barbecues for family and friends, or do the occasional catering gig, this book is invaluable because it had many many recipes for basic sauces, stocks and classic dishes that are designed for 10 or more people.

    Most restaurant chefs in quality restaurants keep this volume handy, and it’s a short-sighted professional caterer that doesn’t also use this volume often. It’s also useful for the non-pro as well, but only if you cook for large families and gatherings occasionally.

    Cookbook of the day – Steven Raichlen’s BBQ USA

    Raichlen

    BBQ USA: 425 Fiery Recipes from All Across America

    by Steven Raichlen

     

  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (April 22, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 0761120157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761120155
  •  

    This hefty paperback (which clocks in at almost 800 pages) is Steven Raichlen attempts to survey the incredible regional variety of American barbecue, and it overwhelmingly succeeds.

    From the low country barbecue of South Carolina to the brisket of Texas, from Memphis pulled pork to Santa Maria central California tri-tip, from the brats of Wisconsin to Miami’s lecon asado, pork marinated in adobo and garlic and wrapped in banana leaves, you’ll get well-documented rubs, seasonings and cooking techniques from across the USA.

    Raichlen also provides plenty of history of barbecue from the various regions of the country. You even get specific recommendations for restaurants, diners, shacks and various eateries in each region.

    If you are a barbecue fan, this is a must-have.

    I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July and my condolences to the family, friends, fans and fellow sportspeople of Steve McNair, the ex-NFL quarterback who was found shot to death this afternoon in downtown Nashville in his rented condominium.

    steve-mcnair

    RIP – Steve McNair

    Cookbook of the day – Let The Flames Begin

    Flames1

    Let the Flames Begin: Tips, Techniques and Recipes for Real Live Fire Cooking

    by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

     

  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; Reissue edition (8 Aug 2003)  
  • ISBN-10: 0393050874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393050875
  •  

    Chris Schlesinger is the chef/owner of the East Coast Grill in Cambridge Mass. and three other restaurants and is also a food author with several other books under his belt and John Willoughby is executive editor of Gourmet magazine.  This book  is a followup to the previous grilling books, The Thrill of the Grill and License to Grill, and is a great overview of the art of grilling and smoking and a wide-ranging selection of well-chosen recipes.

     From making “hobo packs” to prosciutto-stuffed grilled chicken tenderloins with fresh figs and pesto butter, both traditionalists and internationalists can find flavorful dishes to prepare.

    You get a good primer on the various grilling and smoking techniques and it’s obvious that both authors are aficionados of grilling wherever they encounter it, whether it be in South Carolina or the streets of Kingston.

    In this prime grilling season, I hope that you will consider picking up the book.

    BTW, I have a first edition of this book. This has a different cover. You might find it with this cover:

    Flames

    Here are your authors:

    cs_home_01

    prar01_willoughby212

    Portrait of John Willoughby by Romulo Yanes