Summer Cookbooks — Grinnin’ and Grillin’

Naturally, cooking on an open fire on a grill just seems to be a required activity in the summer. Especially for men. So, one new cookbook The Bachelor’s Kitchen has looked at, even though we rarely grill, is from a true master of the medium.

Planet Barbecue!: 309 Recipes, 60 Countries, by Steven Raichlen, (paperback, 656 pages, Workman Publishing Co., list price: $22.95) is from the foremost authority, ambassador, and author of cooking on flames. Raichlen is the host of  a grill show on PBS, has a sprawling website, and millions of copies of books in print. Now this modestly ambitious grillmeister has gone literally global, with a book that undertakes to investigate the art of cooking over fire in every corner of the world.

These are not shy recipes — but I think we can agree that’s a good thing in a grill book. The Best Beef Sates in Singapore shouts with Southeast Asian spice-rub flavor and is worth every minute you have to spend dicing the beef into tiny 1/2-inch cubes. You’ll recognize Ginger, Garlic, and Honey-grilled Baby Back Ribs immediately for the sort of food that siblings have fought over since our cave days. In addition to accessible recipes like these, there are weird offerings from the remotest corners of barbecue: Azerbaijani grilled ice cream, South African grilled snook, Kurdish grilled pumpkin dip. This is a raucous, flame-kissed joyride filled with trivia, tips and postcards from the fringe — if there is any flaw in the plan here, it’s that summer isn’t long enough to try every recipe.