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Nina Dreyer Hensley – Slurp

March 27, 2008

LibraryThing Early Reviewers37. Slurp: Drinks and Light Fare, All Day, All Night by Nina Dreyer Hensley, Jim Hensley, and Paul Løwe (2008)

Length: 176 pages

Genre: Non-Fiction, Cookbook

Started: 27 March 2008
Finished: 27 March 2008

Summary: Slurp focuses mainly on drinks – mainly alcoholic, but a fair number of non-alcoholic – but also contains a number of food recipes and some scattered tips and ideas for entertaining. It’s divided into sections for morning (juices, smoothies, coffee drinks, and breakfast foods), daytime (mostly coolers, shakes, afternoon cocktails, and lunch foods), nighttime (classic and modern cocktails, a few punch recipes, nightcaps, and finger foods) – plus a few recipes for the day after.

Review: Visually, it’s very pretty, with big, bright pictures of every recipe (even though some of them are “hey, it’s a glass with blue stuff in it”). The layout is mostly easy to follow, although there are a few recipes where the steps are on the left and the ingredients are on the right, which is counterintuitive, and there are a lot of pages with a pretty picture where there could have been another recipe that feel like wasted space.

The recipes themselves for the most part seem creative if not ground-breaking, and uncomplicated, although some of them are overly simplistic (to make the Carrot-Ginger Juice, apparently you stick carrots and ginger in a juicer. Who would have guessed? Plus, if you’re buying this cookbook without already knowing how to make a mimosa, you’re really not trying hard enough). Most of the food and many of the drink recipes call for fresh produce, which makes me think this cookbook will be more useful in the summer, when the farmer’s market is open. I do give them credit for using relatively simple ingredients – no buying twelve flavors of vodka; most of their flavoring is done via making your own flavored simple syrup. (On the other hand, what the heck is cachaca, and who in the U.S. is likely to have it laying around the house?)

Measurements are given in both cups/oz and grams/mL, which is a nice idea in theory, but I’m guessing most U.S. consumers don’t have an easy way to measure 0.35 oz/10 mL in their kitchen. (“Hold on, let me break out my graduated cylinder and my pipetman!”) I suppose either you scale up and make a pitcher of the stuff (“Party at my house!”), or you guess and call it a “splash”, which seems to defeat the purpose of having such exact proportions in the first place. There is also a comprehensive index listing recipes both by name and by category, which is quite nice.  Ideally, it would have a listing of the drink recipes by ingredient, i.e. “Vodka drinks”, but this oversight is not uncommon in most cookbooks, and typically only appears in dedicated bartending guides. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Probably not a lot here that wouldn’t be covered in a comprehensive bar guide and a more extensive finger-food cookbook, but overall this one contains a good sampling of tasty-sounding recipes in a visually appealing format.

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