I was sitting in the den one night, re-reading READY AND WAITING by Rick Rodgers (published by Hearst Books, copyright 1992), and was so enchanted with one of the recipes that I went straight to the kitchen and began going through the pantry and refrigerator, looking for the ingredients.
By the way you should know this about cookbooks – they don’t have to be brand new for you to discover (or in this case re-discover) any of them and yes, cookbook collectors read cookbooks like other people read novels)
The recipe that captured my attention–chicken, tomato and tortilla soup—is one of those you can put together on fairly short notice—the ingredients are items often found on our pantry shelves or in the freezer. It calls for 6 chicken thighs—I buy massive amounts of chicken parts to keep in the freezer for various recipes. The soup is delicious (although I do admit, I am inordinately fond of anything that smacks of Mexican cuisine) –and reminds me a bit of the tortilla soup served at a local Mexican restaurant. You will say mas, mas, mas!
Greatly encouraged with the results of chicken, tomato, and tortilla soup, I began experimenting with some of the other recipes.
Mr. Rodger’s book will have you digging into the back of your kitchen cupboard and dusting off your slow cooker, if that’s where yours has been relegated. By the way, I learned from Mr. Rodgers that “crockpot” (my generic name for the slow cooker) is really not a common label—it belongs exclusively to Rival Manufacturing Company.
There are 160 recipes for your slow cooker in READY AND WAITING – including (imagine this) a pineapple and macadamia chutney! I think the recipe for cranberry per-walnut sauce would be a hit at a holiday dinner…there is a gingered apple butter recipe that I am going to try as soon as I buy some apples…there is a Herbed Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe that the author recommends you make in a slow cooker instead of stuffing into a bird and I think I will attempt that recipe the next time I roast a turkey.
State the publishers, “Hearty stews, rib-sticking chilies, tender pot roasts. The real secret is a long slow simmer at a constant temperature, and no appliance does this better than a slow cooker…cooking teacher Rick Rodgers has adapted an eclectic array of international favorites for the slow cooker, including Farmer’s Market Lobster and Corn Chowder, Ground Beef Chili with Cornmeal Dumplings, Lamb shanks in Garlic Sauce, Chinese Country Ribs, and Sweet and Sout Brisket
Rick Rodgers is an award-winning cookbook author, cooking teacher, food writer, and radio and television guest chef. He is the author and co-author of over forty cookbooks on a wide range of subjects. His recipes have appeared in Food & Wine, Cooking Light and Fine Cooking, and he is a frequent contributor to Bon APETITE magazine. (the first time I wrote about Rick Rodgers for the Cookbook Collectors Exchange, he had only written a few cookbooks at the time. When I began wondering what he has been writing about lately, I found enough to compile a list for you. Most of these books can be found on Amazon.com.
RICK RODGERS TITLES
365 WAYS TO COOK HAMBURGER AND OTHER GROUND MEAT 1991
READY AND WAITING BY RICK RODGERS, 1992
MISTER PASTA’S HEALTHY PASTA COOKBOOK: MORE THAN 150 DELICIOUS, LOW-FAT PASTAS, 1994
Slow Cooker Ready & Waiting: 160 Sumptuous Meals That Cook Themselves (paperback edition) 1998
PRESSURE COOKING FOR EVERYONE with Arlene Ward and Kathryn Russell 2000
CHICKEN/WILLIAM-SONOMA SERIES WITH CHUCK WILLIAMS 2001
DIP IT! GREAT PARTY FOOD TO SPREAD, SPOON AND SCOOP, 2002
KAFFEEHAUS: EXQUISITE DESSERTS FROM THE CLASSIC CAFES OF VIENNA, BUDAPEST AND PRAGUE, 2002
THE TURKEY COOKBOOK 2003
WILLIAM-SONOMA COLLECTION AMERICAN 2004
THANKSGIVING 101: CELEBRATE AMERICA’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY WITH AMERICA’S THANKSGIVING EXPERT, 2007
CHRISTMAS 101: CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON FROM CHRISTMAS TO NEW YEAR’S, 2007
KINGSFORD COMPLETE GRILLING COOKBOOK BY KINGFORD CHARCOAL AND BEN FINK, 2007
SUMMER GATHERINGS: CASUAL FOOD TO ENJOY WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, HARDCOVER 2008
AUTUMN GATHERINGS; CASUAL FOOD TO ENJOY WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS 2008
WINTER GATHERINGS; CASUAL FOOD TO ENJOY WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, 2009
COOKING ESSENTIALS: GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR STOVE TOP & GRILL (WILLIAMS-SONOMA, 2010
BREAKFAST COMFORTS (WILLIAMS SONOMA) WITH ENTICING RECIPES FOR THE MORNING, INCLUDING FAVORITE DISHES FROM RESTAURANTS, WITH MAREN CARUSO 2011
I LOVE MEATBALLS!, 20011
COFFEE AND CAKE: ENJOY THE PERFECT CUP OF COFFEE WITH DOZENS OF DELECTABLE Recipes for Café Treats 2010
SARABETH’S BAKERY WITH Sarabeth Levine and Quentin Bacon, 2010
CARRRABBA’S ITALIAN GRILL: RECIPES FROM AROUND OUR FAMILY TABLE, 2011
THE ESSENTIAL JAMES BEARD COOKBOOK: 450 RECIPES THAT SHAPED THE TRADITION OF AMERICAN COOKING, JAMES BEARD AUTHOR, RICK RODGERS, EDITOR & JOHN FERRONE CONSULTANT
THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD SIXTIES RETRO RECIPES with Heather MacLean 2012
THE EVERYDAY DASH DIET COOKBOOK, WITH Marla Heller, 2013
THE CHELSEA MARKET COOKBOOK: 100 RECIPES FROM NEW YORK’S PREMIER INDOOR FOOD MARKET BY Michael Phillips and Rick Rodgers to be released, OCTOBER 2013
Americanizations of British cookery books
Making British cookbooks understandable and accessible to American readers is a skill that goes well beyond switching zucchini for courgette. Some of Mr. Rodgers recent Americanizations are Anjum’s New Indian (Wiley), The Kitchen Bible (DK), Bake and Decorate (Rodale), and At Elizabeth David’s Table (Ecco.)
Review By Sandra Lee Smith