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Barbecues and Other Outdoor Feasts    by Hugo Arnold & Georgia Glynn Smith order for
Barbecues and Other Outdoor Feasts
by Hugo Arnold
Order:  USA  Can
Kyle Books, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

It's not quite warm enough for outdoor eating here yet, but we love to barbecue and picnic. Georgia Glynn Smith's gorgeous color photos and their sylvan settings, in Barbecues and Other Outdoor Feasts, tempt me to get started soon. Author Hugo Arnold says 'I am passionate about eating outside' and raves about the joys of so doing, in both cold and warm weather. Regarding quantities, he warns us that 'Fresh air increases appetites amazingly.'

In Occasional Feasts, Arnold discusses outdoor events from a 60th birthday celebration to an informal family picnic. He suggests containers and cooling methods, and includes a practical 'Picnic checklist'. Next come the recipes organized into chapters from Eating in the open (on finger food) to the grand finale, Desserts. At the back of the book are suggested Drinks, plus recipes for Marinades, and Salad Dressings and Mayonnaise.

My feast will include Vegetable Samosas with Cilantro Chutney and Red Onion Relish (may also try Boreks, a Turkish version). We make Sushi often, and the clear instructions here are accompanied by photos of the steps involved. I like the look of Chilled Fava Bean and Avocado Soup (in fact I fancy all the soups here). And there's a nice selection of sandwiches, tacos and pitas too. Arnold tells us that 'you cannot really picnic without paté' in France, and I remember enjoying delicious paté with baguette there often. The cookbook has my favorite, Taramasalata, and I also plan to try an Eggplant Purée, Rough Country Paté and Smoked Salmon, Caper, and Green Peppercorn Paté. In Tarts, Pies, and Pizzas all look tasty, though one with mussels looks especially scrumptious.

On to main picnic dishes like Salmon Ceviche, Chive Cream, and Lemon Oil or Duck Salad with Cilantro and Mango Salsa. Next, get out the barbecue for all kinds of fish, Satay (which I ate often outdoors in Indonesia), intriguing Hamburger and Lamb Burger combinations, and Grilled Steak. I can eat Char-broiled Vegetables any time, and Arnold suggests all kinds to try, as well as the herbs and oils to add afterwards. In addition to exotic salads like Thai-style Chicken Salad, I was glad to spot an Old-fashioned Greek Salad here (like the author I prefer the basic variety to the embellished kinds). Finally, every picnic needs a sweet to finish it off and the selection here focuses on fruits. How about Figs with Goat Cheese Mascarpone, or Peaches with Lime and Ginger Cream? Yumm!

Though the title is a bit misleading (the emphasis is less on barbecuing than on outdoor eating in general), I recommend Barbecues and Other Outdoor Feasts as an enticing cookbook, likely to inspire those who indulge in it to take their festivities outdoors.

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