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Cookbook Reviews: This "Prune" Is A Peach

Gabrielle Hamilton broke into the publishing world with "Blood, Bones and Butter," her nonfiction account of what it's like to work in the New York restaurant industry. Her follow-up to that bestseller is quite different, but we expect it...

Gabrielle Hamilton broke into the publishing world with "Blood, Bones and Butter," her nonfiction account of what it's like to work in the New York restaurant industry.

Her follow-up to that bestseller is quite different, but we expect it to do well, also.

That's because "Prune" is a cookbook featuring recipes from her restaurant of the same name, which still draws lines and lines of patrons 15 years after opening. Hamilton started as a line cook and moved up to the top spot, winning a James Beard award and a devoted following along the way.

Prune Cookbook
Prune Cookbook

"Prune" features 250 recipes for soups, salads and main courses, and the same number of color photographers. It's inventively styled in a way meant to look like the restaurant's signature menu binders. (On that note: It's very pretty, but not exactly the easiest format to work with when you're cooking and reading the recipe at the same time. But still...)

As you might expect, the recipes in "Prune" are for things you'd find in a restaurant. By that, I mean there aren't many easy weeknight dinners here, nor meals that fit a family's budget.

However, there are recipes for impressive, inventive dishes that would impress any guest at a dinner party. The food here is original, but not exotic -- even finicky palates won't find much to complain about.

If your cookbooks need to be real kitchen workhorses, either physically or figuratively, "Prune" may not be a useful addition to your collection. But if you appreciate beautifully designed books or like to challenge yourself in the kitchen, you will really enjoy it.

For more cookbook reviews, check back with this blog frequently, or else contact us  directly.