May 1, 2013
'Snacks' is a user-friendly cookbook with twists by the 'aisle'

snacks.JPGA library of cookbooks is published each year, the daunting avalanche overwhelming the curious home cook who's daring enough to browse the Cookbooks section of bookstores.

Where to begin? One manageable starting point could be the just-released "Snacks" by self-proclaimed "food explorer" Marcy Smothers (HarperOne, $19.99, 293 pages). It's one of cookbookdom's most entertaining and user-friendly new titles, with a foreword by celebrity chef-restaurateur Guy "Johnny Garlic's" Fieri, Smothers' longtime pal.

"Snacks" is a mini-feast of food lore, tips and trivia, surprising factoids and original recipes with chapters organized by "aisles," modeled after what a shopper will find along each aisle of a supermarket. For instance, Smothers begins with Produce, moves to Bread, then Cheese, then Frozen Food and so on - 15 aisles altogether.

Randomly flipping through the book, we found:

- The fresher the vegetables, the quicker they will cook (it's a moisture thing).

- What do the colored plastic tags on commercially baked breads signify? Answer: the day of the week they were baked (blue for Monday, green for Tuesday and so on).

- Tomato sauce doesn't have to simmer all day to be good; 20 minutes will do.

- There's no nutritional difference between white eggs and brown eggs.

Among the 50 recipes, consider prime rib sauce, crab Rangoon, fried rice and pork tacos with watermelon salsa.

As Fieri puts it: "When Marcy talks about food, I listen."

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