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Cooking manual for dads

Few of us like to rush into the kitchen after a hard day of work and start cooking dinner. But dads who say they can't put a meal on the table have just run out of excuses.

New York City caterer Bob Sloan (who is also a husband and father) has written Dad's Own Cookbook: Everything Your Mother Never Taught You (Workman Publishing, $12.95), designed for the dad who doesn't know a shredder from a vegetable steamer.

This colorful, handsome cookbook takes dads through the basics, complete with charts, cooking tips and a glossary of basic cooking terms.

Sloan starts by comparing cooking to changing the spark plugs in a car. "At first it seems a job for the experts. Then someone hands you the proper tools, points you in the right direction under the hood, and you soon realize it's easy to change your own plugs."

He then proceeds in careful, logical and manageable steps, from stocking the pantry to using a food processor and reading a recipe. "I may treat you like an idiot, but I don't make you feel like one," he promises.

Sloan covers the basics: how to boil an egg, make a tuna sandwich and bake a macaroni casserole. There are also recipes for a cocktail party, grilling and dinner for twelve. Sloan even shows dads how to fold fancy napkins, set the table, bake bread and frost a birthday cake.

There's no nutritional information accompanying the cookbook's 150 recipes, but there are plenty of dishes that call for fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and other healthful foods.

Dad's Own Candied

Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter

10 medium-large sweet potatoes

1 cup brown sugar (or 1{ cups real maple syrup)

24 tiny marshmallows

Equipment

12-by-18-inch baking dish

Large bowl

Vegetable peeler

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise.

Cut each half into 1-inch pieces. Put the cut pieces in a bowl of cold water to keep them from turning brown as you finish cutting the rest.

Arrange the sweet potatoes in the prepared baking dish and top with the brown sugar or syrup. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into little pieces and dot the top of the potatoes with them.

Bake the sweet potatoes on the center rack of of the oven for 1\ hours or until the top is nicely browned and glazed. If using marshmallows, add them during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Source: Dad's Own Cookbook.

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