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The intricately spiced, multilayered flavors of the Pacific seduce the palate in the 300-plus recipes here. The authors (Please to the Table), who investigated ingredients and techniques on travels to Australia, Thailand, Malasia, Japan, Singapore and other outposts now culinarily ``in,'' deliver the goods on this newly popular cuisine in meticulously adapted recipes. However, three caveats for the home cook: considerable time and patience are required to capture such taste complexities as Griddle Breads with Curried Lamb; many dishes include fat-loading deep-frying; and, although substitutions are frequently suggested, such aromatics as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal are essential to many dishes. Those issues aside, this compendium, with many recipes that are not beyond the novice, offers an intensive course in this bold fusion fare and should prove to be a definitive volume. Broiled Bluefish with Caramelized Lemons blends seafood, citrus and herbs irresistibly; Pork Chops with a Mushroom Saute and Arugula Pesto is a rich, three-way marriage of flavors. HomeStyle main selection. (Nov.)
Coming from the authors of Please to the Table (LJ 12/90), a widely praised Russian cookbook, this ambitious book on the foods of the Pacific Rim is somewhat of a surprise. Von Bremzen describes how a trip to Australia first piqued their interest in fusion, or East-West, cuisine and led to this latest collaboration. Many of the cookbooks on Pacific Rim cooking present only one viewpoint, that of a creative and/or trend-conscious chef experimenting with Asian and Western flavor combinations. Terrific Pacific instead provides dozens of recipes from home cooks and chefs, street-food vendors, food writers, and others the authors encountered in their travels throughout Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Japan, and, finally, California. The text is always readable, and the recipes, though some are more authentic than others, amazingly diverse. For most collections.