BOOK REVIEW – Tomatoes

Miriam Rubin
Hardback Cookbook

So, I’m actually working on an entire anthology of tomato themed stories, so when I happened on this book on display at my new library, I decided that I wanted to check it out.

This is a cookbook, but it starts out with a bit of history about the tomato.  It’s really interesting stuff, actually – for instance, the tomato was first cultivated with the Aztecs, not in Europe like everyone assumes, but weren’t widely popular until about 200 years ago.   The series itself is a southern cooking series, so they made sure to talk about the importance of the tomato in the south.

The second part of the book is all recipes where the tomato is a very important ingredient.

So here’s my problem – the recipes include everything from the wildly complicated down to the ridiculously simple.  One of them actually says to slice a tomato and serve it.  Ahem.  But there are NO PICTURES, which is my number one cookbook pet peeve.  And let’s face it.  If you’re so clueless enough that you need to be told to slice something and serve it raw on a plate, you need to know what a finished dish is supposed to look like, especially if it has a dozen ingredients.    USE PICTURES PEOPLE!!!

And I have to admit that when I saw there were no pics, I almost returned it without reading a single word.  Its that important to me.

But, I read the thing anyway.  (Remember, I said I’m doing a themed anthology.  I thought I might get something useful.)  And I have to say, I’m sad.  I mean, it’s clear that the author is in love with her subject matter.  And if this had been a non-fiction book about the tomato, I’d have read 5000 pages by this author.

Unfortunately, it’s not.  So I’m going to give it a 3/5.  As a cookbook, it just misses the mark.


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