Side Dish: New books have new approaches to food

“Picture Cook: See. Make. Eat.”

B y Katie Shelly.

Ulysses Press, $18.95.

112-page hardcover.


“The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert”

B y Richard Betts.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99.

22-page scented board book.


Picture books and scratch-and-sniff books have long been popular for young children. Now, they’ve moved into cookbooks and wine books — for adults.

If you prefer pictures instead of text when it comes to deciding what and how to cook, “Picture Cook: See. Make. Eat.” by media designer Katie Shelly is perfect for you.

“It’s truly the first cookbook of its kind,” says a news release from the publisher, Ulysses Press. The cook-by-picture book uses clever step-by-step line drawings instead of text instructions for its 50 or so recipes.

That’s not to say no reading is required. The legend at the bottom of each recipe shows the amount needed for each ingredient and a few instructions, such as “after 5-8 min., test!” for Annie’s Mashed Potatoes, are included in some recipes. Also, suggestions for variations are printed out.

Still, the recipes are definitely cut down to their most basic. One problem is none of the recipes give serving size, but, as the author says, they “are meant to inspire improvisation, experimentation and play in the kitchen.”

This is a fun book, perfect for tweeters and others of few words.

Master sommelier Richard Betts also has authored a fun, kid-style book: “The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert.” The wipe-clean board book takes wine lovers of every level on an olfactory tour of the major red and white wines.

Because “tasting is actually smelling,” he divides the wines into their major scent groups — fruit, wood, earth and “other” smells like bacon, butter and herbs — to help readers understand why they like particular wines.

The book also includes what Betts calls “the map to your desires” — more a “choose-your-own” chart — to guide readers to the right wine every time.

It’s a great gift book for anyone wanting a light-hearted way of learning the basics about the world of wines.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s food editor. Her email address is