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Back to basics: cooking with fire

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Now that the outdoor cooking season is officially here, Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby have a perfect -- and manly -- suggestion. Don't mess with ceramic briquettes or gas tanks or the giant George Forman grill: Go the caveman route and use fire.

"Let the Flames Begin: Tips, Techniques and Recipes for Real Live Fire Cooking" (W.W. Norton & Company; $30) spells out the steps to smoking, grilling, roasting and barbecuing. From picking equipment to battle plans for preparing ribs, fish, veggies and desserts, Schlesinger, a restaurant owner and chef, and Gourmet executive editor Willoughby bridge the gap between outdoor cooking and the delights of playing with fire.

With 250 recipes, such as "silky Turkish eggplant dip" and "spicy sausage-stuffed trout with hoisin glaze and sesame crust," this book goes beyond roast beast and on to flaming excellence.


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