|Lola’s Ice Creams & Sundaes: Iced delights for all seasons|
|Publisher: Ebury Press, Country: UK|
|ISBN: 9780091926328, Year: 2009|
|Link to publisher’s page or site|
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|This review is the personal opinion of the reviewer.|
Basic ice-cream books are fairly common, but informative or innovative ones are few. Lola’s Ice Creams & Sundaes has been hailed as a welcome addition to the innovative side of things and I’m happy to agree. This attractive book by Morfudd Richards, owner of the UK’s high-class ice-cream van Lola on Ice, presents a very good range of delicious and inspiring recipes and some flawed explanation of the knowledge needed to become a confident and creative ice-cream maker.
The book opens with three chapters of technical explanation (Composition, Flavours, Making Ices) and is then followed by about a hundred recipes for ice-creams, sorbets and granitas, divided into a number of sections mostly related to ingredient types. At the end there is a section on equipment, and a Q&A chapter.
For contemporary tastes or trends, one of the most interesting aspects of Morfudd Richard’s book might be the inclusion of savoury ice-creams (pea and wasabi sherbet, cucumber granita, crab ice cream with sorrel sherbet, and more). On the sweet side, the recipes cover both simple custard-based and some Philadelphia-style cream-based ice-creams (Richards calls these “Speedy Ices”), as well as many interesting creations like gooseberry sorbet, Szechuan peppercorn ice cream, Sardinian rice gelato nero, or plum and earl grey tea ice cream. The section on sundaes presents a number of tasty combinations (e.g. a combination of basil and buffalo milk ice cream with tomato granita, olive oil gelato, balsamic snaps and candied basil). Most recipes have a short introduction that sometimes includes helpful tips about flavours or preparation.
If it were just a recipe book, Lola’s Ice Creams & Sundaes would be an outstanding work. Unfortunately, the inclusion of technical chapters wasn’t as successful as it should have been. In part, Richards tends to be quite wordy in her descriptions and explanations (even in the recipe introductions), but more seriously, the technical explanations are long and often poorly patched together from other sources. Although few books on food can be truly original, most authors manage to paraphrase and rework information in their own voice, adding explanatory quality or their own particular perspective. Richards didn’t achieve this, with definitions and explanations fluctuating constantly between informal phrasing, expressions which don’t gel with the rest of her style, and curiously technical sentences. Just a little searching of the internet revealed a number of phrases borrowed without acknowledgement from other sources. It’s hard to understand why a domestic ice-cream book should feature terms like “purified aqueous solution of nutritive saccharides obtained from starch” or “adsorb to the surface of the fat”, and it’s exactly such conspicuous wordings that raised this reviewer’s suspicions. If the author is unoriginal enough to directly use material easily identifiable on the internet, how much more might have come from other books? The editor at Ebury Press should have seen this and stopped it. At least there is a short bibliography included.
Lola’s Ice Creams & Sundaes is visually attractive, though the typeface can be a little hard to read. Many recipes are complemented by bright, colourful, well composed photos. This is an interesting book of recipes and a worthy addition to the collections of ice-cream lovers. However, if you’re looking for a book that clearly explains the real technicalities of types of ice-cream, ingredient ratios and more, a much better work is Liddell and Weir’s Frozen Desserts: The definitive guide to making ice creams, ices, sorbets, gelati, and other frozen delights, due for release in a new edition in the first half of 2010 by publishers Grub Street. It has its own flaws and quirks, but is nonetheless excellent.
|: 3. Recommended – some flaws
: Likely to be strongly appreciated
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