In Omnivorous this week I ran down a bunch of good food books released in time for the holidays. Here are four more with a local focus:
Polish Chicago: Our History, Our Recipes, Joseph W. Zurawski (G. Bradley, $37.50) This is the latest in a historical series on ethnic enclaves in midwestern cities (including our own Greektown and German Milwaukee). Dense with profiles and recipes by restaurateurs and home cooks from several generations of immigrants, the collection reflects many styles of the cuisine, from solid workingman’s fare (sauerkraut-rib soup, Kasia’s pierogies) to Old Polish Royal (venison tenderloin) to Nouveauski (hare with sour cream-caramel sauce).
Talk With Your Mouth Full: The Hearty Boys Cookbook, Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $27.50) This party-planning guide was my introduction to the local Food Network catering couple, and I’m surprised to find that many of their recipes are interesting and creative (tomatillo-cheddar corn bread, bacon and blue cheese meat loaf, Guinness ice cream float).
Chicago Cooks: 25 Years of Food History With Menus, Recipes, and Tips From Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago (Agate, $30) This volume, put out by the local branch of the international association for female food professionals, is valuable not so much for its recipes but for a running history of the Chicago food scene. There’s a somewhat inordinate emphasis on contributions of members, but I guess that’s the point. Trib food section chief Carol Mighton Haddix edited.
The Berghoff Family Cookbook, Carolyn and Jan Berghoff with Nancy Ross Ryan (Andrews McMeel, $29.95) If you’re wistful for the old Berghoff, you might like the historical forward to this book, which is illustrated with old photos, ads, and menus. But most of the recipes are about as reflective of the old place as Rachel Ray in a pair of lederhosen (Szechuan green beans?!).