Author Amy Rosen likes to heat things up in Cook This: Recipes for the Goodtime Girl. "Remove panties," she advises in step three of her instructions for making oyster shots. (This is a cookbook that leaves absolutely nothing to chance.) But it's not all about sex. Rosen may be a goodtime girl herself, but she trained at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, and this is a serious cookbook, which also offers lots of advice on romance, dinner parties, and impressing the boy toy and his parents. The romantic repasts under the chapter "Dim the Lights and Turn Up the Heat" include Steak Tartare, Chicken Tagine, and a lickable body mask made from milk chocolate. No one lickable in your life? Toblerone Chunk Brownies are the perfect substitute for affection. "Solo Soiree" is a good place to find the makings of a quick bite to eat standing over the sink, such as Linguine with Goat Cheese. Try it and see if you agree with Rosen's assessment that it's "the best damn pasta in the world." She may be right, especially if you stir the melting goat cheese into the strands of linguine to make a creamy sauce. For Far Eastern flavours, Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Pan-Fried Spinach is a winner--moist and rich. "Your Roots Are Showing" contains such down-home treats as fried chicken and sweet corn fritters. The compact volume is packed with more than 130 recipes and lots of humour, but no photos for people who like to see what a dish is supposed to look like when the professionals get their hands on it. Still, most of the recipes are not complicated and can be accomplished by even novice cooks. Just be sure to hide the book in the freezer when your Dad visits. --Carolyn Leitch
Amy Rosen is a freelance journalist who has written for publications such as Fashion magazine, Flare, Vines, Elle, The Globe and Mail, the National Post and enRoute magazine.
A Cordon Bleu–trained gal with degrees in film and journalism to boot, Amy was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award in 2002. Cook This is her second cookbook.