Does the word Weber bring to mind the internet or duck feet? If so, fork over $12.99 for Bon Appétit’s Grilling: The Backyard Manual. It begins by declaring an affordable Weber Kettle Grill the only outdoor cooking machine you’ll need. Lump hardwood is the way to go for fuel, and the manual walks readers through recipes so simple a Montauk surfer could prepare them for dinner. Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport deserves kudos for throwing this one back on the fire. The manual is a reissue of a reader favorite. You’ll want to squirrel it away with your grill tools.
Gourmet’s Summer Classics, which like Bon Appétit in the category is a Condé Nast product, also touches on the basics — but almost as a courtesy for those embarrassed to be in catch-up mode. Got the grilled burger down pat? Summer Classics teaches you how to make the mustard, relish and ketchup to go with it. A paean to a complete lobster meal — “it really is all it’s cracked up to be” — warrants reading for the squeamish. “A full shore dinner usually also includes red potatoes and corn on the cob boiled in the same salty water as the lobster, and it sometimes features fried fish, grilled sausage, deep-fried clams cakes, and baked Indian pudding or strawberry shortcake.”
Fine Cooking goes granular — for those of a scientific bent. Know why your barbie food tastes so good? “Enzymes in the meat called calpains and cathepsins activate and begin to break down the tough connective tissue, making the meat tenderer.” And if you’ve ever wondered how barbecued beef can keep its internal temperature between 150 and 170 degrees for hours, Fine Cooking is for you. “This ‘lag time,’ or ‘stall,’ seems to be caused primarily by evaporative cooling, in which the water in the meat gets driven to the surface, where it evaporates and cools the surface.” Umm, does it taste good?
Cooking Light’s cover art delivers the anti-BBQ message: color art of pasta with prosciutto and cherry tomatoes. If your deal is more diet than tie up for a charred feast then buy it for the “Summer Cookbook” of 20 recipes in 25 minutes or less. The 30-page spread doesn’t glorify summer food so much as advise readers on how to incorporate seasonal produce into healthy meals and busy schedules. The unwavering focus on well-being takes the mag away from meat and baked potatoes. That may be OK the rest of the year, but for grilling season this title’s not for us.
Food Network Magazine
Food Network Magazine is big on bites — celebrity sound bites, that is. The June edition corrals 18 Food Network “stars” in its table of contents, where it not only lists the pages containing bon mots from these cooks but, as a bonus, poses the question: “If an ice cream were named after you, what would it be?” A typical spread in the monthly is “Brunch with Bobby,” where the ubiquitous Bobby Flay shares a few recipes while simultaneously giving a tour of his Hamptons home. We see the house, the pool. No sighting of ex Stephanie March, however. Too bad. That would’ve earned this unappetizing title another half star.
The New Yorker steps timidly into the ruckus at Oberlin College, where students lately have griped that they’re oppressed by everything from “Huckleberry Finn” to “inauthentic” sushi at the cafeteria. While these youths dismiss Western civilization as sinister and irrelevant, the reporter fails to quiz them, for example, about President Obama’s own warnings against hysteria over “microaggressions.” One kid declares he can’t “consume” the education he’s “paying for,” arguing that “instead of, you know, writing out his midterm,” he should be able to “just speak it” at a prof’s office hours. Maybe, just maybe, some of this “activism” is a fashionable way to dodge the grind?
In a cover story on the transgender bathroom uproar, Time notes that a girls swim team on the Upper West Side was stunned into silence in late April when they saw a “bald person with facial hair and a waist towel leaving the ladies’ shower.” Time reports the cowed coach ordered a retreat to the family changing room “because, even [in this] liberal bastion, the ability to communicate about these most basic cultural changes has broken down.” Even on the Upper West Side? How about: Especially on the Upper West Side. Elsewhere, columnist Joe Klein argues that Trump supporters are “nostalgic.” Well, maybe, but he’s also got a forward-looking plan — however questionable — to address the jobs crisis. Can Hillary say the same?