Cookbooks offer mothers' recipes for use every day

Sunday, May 9, 2004

NEW YORK-- "Mom's Secret Recipe File," edited by Chris Styler, taps the affectionate memories of a range of very accomplished professional cooks, and comes up with some 125 recipes.

The contributors are a varied group, who have in common that they pay tribute to their inherited love of good food, and to the seeds of interest in cooking planted at home, early in their lives.

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, co-owner of New York City's Felidia and other restaurants, cookbook author and host of TV food series, wonders if it's the motherly love that goes into the country-style chicken dish her mother Erminia cooks, that makes it seem the best she's ever had.

Many of the dishes Ming Tsai serves at his Blue Ginger restaurant, in Wellesley, Mass., "draw their inspiration from my early days in the kitchen with my mother," he says.

At the age of 8, Jamie Oliver was helping peel spuds and shell peas in his parents's pub in Britain. Among recipes he contributes is one for a rhubarb cake created by his mother on the occasion of the birth of his second daughter.

Jose Ramon Andres, chef-partner in Jaleo restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Md., says an endive recipe from his mother-in-law is "one of my most popular tapas ever."

A final chapter, "Other Moms From Around the Country," contains recipes drawn from a rich trove of fondly remembered dishes.

The publishers say that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book is being donated to the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children, a nonprofit affiliate of the International Rescue Committee.

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