TITLE: Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking by Stephanie O'Dea (Hyperion, $19.99, 464 pages).
Generally speaking: The recipes in Make It Fast, Cook It Slow are truly family-friendly. Kids will enjoy the applesauce chicken and Rice Krispies treats; adults will want to try the Philly cheesesteaks and creme brulee. The timing is right for this book as the slow cooker is making a comeback in these economic times. Less-expensive cuts of meat sometimes work best in the slow cooker, and often you can have enough leftovers from the slow cooker for another meal.
For: Slow cookers once were for those who worked all day or worked late; now everyone can benefit from cooking this way.
Bonus: All recipes are gluten-free.
Recipes: French dip sandwiches, fajitas, Korean ribs, chicken Parmesan, Jamaican pumpkin soup, harvest stew, gumbo, garlic baked potatoes, acorn squash and apple butter.
TITLE: B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style by Barbara Smith (Scribner, $35, 336 pages).
Generally speaking: By looking at the recipes in this cookbook, you would never know B. Smith wasn't originally from the South. Her family has strong Southern roots, but she is from southern Pennsylvania. Smith has been compared to Martha Stewart, but this book is all about food, no table settings or menus.
For: Anyone who loves Southern food. There are many familiar Southern ingredients (okra, chitterlings, collard greens) and Southern dishes (ham steak with red eye gravy, chicken fried steak).
Recipes: Seafood gumbo, root beer barbecued pulled pork sliders, coconut pecan cupcakes, tomato bread pudding, Guinness tartar sauce, red velvet cake roll with peanut butter frosting, deep dish apple pie, sweet maple barbecue chicken.
TITLE: The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions by Katie Lee (Simon & Schuster, $26, 272 pages).
Generally Speaking: The recipes are mouthwatering, but there is nothing really new or unusual in this collection. We've seen recipes for fried chicken, shrimp cocktail, Mexican wedding cookies, even sage buttermilk biscuits. It feels more like a collection of other celebrity chefs' recipes rather than something new and fresh.
For: Novice cooks who don't have essential recipes in their repertoire and are not comfortable with entertaining. Lee does have some good ideas about entertaining and offers some cocktail recipes too (though, again, nothing special: mai tai, "perfect" Manhattan, dirty martini, etc.).
Recipes: Nutella French toast sandwiches, sweet potato casserole, chocolate banana cream pie, tomato, Vidalia onion and cucumber salad, pineapple coconut sundaes, iceberg wedge with bacon and blue cheese dressing.