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Baylor Alumni

What's For Dinner?

Finding your way around the kitchen


Cooking Know-How
By Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Hoboken, New Jersey
ISBN: 978-0-470-18080-8
416 pages, $34.95
wiley.com

"Here's the truth: you don't need a culinary school education to cook well at home," write Mark Scarbrough '80 and his co-author, Bruce Weinstein. These veteran food writers say most people don't consult a cookbook to make breakfast, and they believe other meals can be the same.  In Cooking Know-How, they have created a step-by-step manual to "guide home cooks on the path to culinary know-how."

More than a collection of recipes, it's a how-and-why guide—without being "inordinately cheffy"—to becoming a more confident cook. The book includes sixty-five "kitchen-friendly, technique-driven" recipes of dinnertime favorites—from paella to pot pie—with variations following each entry to total more than five hundred dishes in all.

Take chicken soup, for instance. There's old-fashioned or curried, spring or winter-comfort varieties, and chicken soup with Thai, African, or Italian flair. Or maybe it's an omelet you want—you could make your basic, herb, or western variety or try crab and scallion, spinach and bacon, sun-dried tomato and goat cheese, or shrimp.

Once you get the techniques—and more than three hundred color photographs will help out there—the authors claim, "You'll soon roast, steam, braise, fry, and sauté with unalloyed success." Armed with the knowledge of the simple mechanics of a dish and the five or so steps it takes to make it, they say, "you can walk into the market, find what's fresh (or on special), bring it home, and have dinner on the table without any worries, any overly romantic pretensions, or any pile of cookbooks on the counter: fresh every time—and your way, too."

Scarbrough and Weinstein are contributing editors to Eating Well magazine and co-authors of national columns for Relish magazine, Cooking Light, weightwatchers.com, and Today's Health and Wellness. In addition, they have been guests on NBC's The Today Show, CBS' Early Show, Fox and Friends, The View, and Seasonings with Dede Wilson.

The creators of a series that includes ten single-subject, fun-food companion volumes, they have previously published Cooking for Two, Grill Thrills, and Pizza: Grill It! Bake It! Love It! This particular book is "a beginner's guide, a pro's library of favorites, and a reader's cookbook all in one."

 *****

Investing: Starting from Scratch
By Janet Holt
Eakin Press
Waco, Texas
eakinpress.com
   
If you wouldn't know a hedge fund if you tripped over it and "reverse stock split" sounds like a football play, this book may be for you. Janet Holt, MSG '90, describes herself as a counselor, writer, and Baby Boomer who got sick and tired of not understanding her finances. "I had so many questions, but the biggest was: Why does it seem that everybody is making money from my retirement fund but me?"

Holt spent three years researching and talking to financial experts. Then, when she was satisfied that she had her answers, she wrote this book on what she had learned. Several of those experts agree that she did a good job, and one of them calls her book "easy to understand, fun to read, and technically very sound … the perfect place for any new investor to begin."

In plain view on her website—janetholt.com—the author offers this disclaimer: "I'm not a financial advisor, and I can't tell you how to get rich, but I can tell you how to better understand the world of finance—in simple, understandable terms—so you can make your own decisions."
 
According to Holt, no matter what the market is doing, now is always the best time to invest. In this book, you will learn what investment terms mean, various investment options and how to choose the ones right for you, how to design a portfolio to meet your personal goals, and how to create an income stream for your retirement. Written with humor (including cartoons) and simple analogies, the book turns the bugaboo subject of investing into something everybody can understand—if they want to badly enough.

 *****

Love, Save the Empty
Erin McCarley
UMG Recordings, Inc.
Nashville, Tennessee
erinmccarley.com

While she now calls Nashville home, Erin McCarley '01 says she cut her musical teeth in San Diego, where she moved after college to pursue a life that didn't feature music at its center. As an undergraduate at Baylor, she had spent weekends singing with a country cover band for extra cash. But in San Diego, selling clothes in a boutique and hanging out on the beach, she began thinking of herself not just as a singer, but as a songwriter, too.

As evidence, McCarley's debut album, Love, Save the Empty, includes eleven of her songs that one reviewer describes as "elegantly crafted, deeply melodic music." Apparently a few others like her songs, too. One of her songs, "Pony (It's OK)," was the Single of the Week on the Apple iTunes Music Store when it debuted, and her work has been featured in the movie He's Just Not That Into You and the TV show The Hills. She has also appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

 *****

The Uncompromising Diary of Sallie McNeill 1858-1867
Edited by Ginny McNeill Raska and Mary Lynne Gasaway Hill
Texas A&M University Press
College Station, Texas
tamu.edu/upress

For nine years—beginning in 1858 while a student in the Female Department of Baylor University at Independence and ending with her death in 1867— Sallie McNeill kept a diary. This remarkably well-preserved document tells a story of a young woman—raised on her grandfather's slave-owning plantation with her widowed mother through the Civil War and Reconstruction—who chose not to marry because she viewed marriage as the end of a woman's identity.

Through Sallie's eyes, we catch a glimpse of what life could be like in Texas during the decade surrounding the Civil War, including the roles, opportunities, and expectations of proper behavior for an elite woman with an education.

The book is co-edited and annotated by one of her descendants, Ginny McNeill Raska '74, who transcribed McNeill's original diary.

Also of Note

Gene Garman '62 is the author of The Religion Commandments, published by BookSurge Publishing. [booksurge.com]

Tyndale House Publishers has released the latest book by author and speaker Cheri Heath Fuller '69, MA '76, titled Connect with your Grandkids: Fun Ways to Bridge the Miles. [tyndale.com]

Mitzi Vance Rudderow '76 has written a personal memoir, Coming Clean, that is available at her website: mitzirudderow.com.

Oxford University Press has published The New Testament as Literature: A Very Short Introduction, written by Kyle Keefer '88, MA '94. [oup.com]

Greg Cowan '96, MSEd '98, is the author of Stress and International Crises: The Effect of Decision-Maker Stress on Crises, released by VDM Publishing. [vdm-publishing.com]

The work of photographer Shannon Williams Ho '00 was recently featured in the book Wedding Photography Unveiled: Inspiration and Insight from 20 Top Photographers, published by Amphoto Books. [watsonguptill.com]

Christopher Gaddis '04 has written A Collection of Short Escapes, available at lulu.com.

If you've recently had a book published, a CD released, or a video produced, send a copy for consideration c/o "Under Review," Baylor Line, One Bear Place #97116, Waco, TX 76798-7116.


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