"Wraps: Easy Recipes for Handheld Meals"

Pros: Wonderful food
Cons: Not entirely aimed at the novice cook
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

First posted 8/30/2000

For some reason I’ve never been all that big on sandwiches, which wraps are sort of a version of. In the case of wraps you take a bunch of ingredients, wrap them up in a tortilla, and eat them that way. It’s often less messy than a traditional sandwich, and may allow you to eat things that would fall out of bread.

The Corpening twins prove that wraps are not just a lunch (or even a dinner) thing any more. There’s a chapter of “eye openers” (breakfasts), “midday satisfaction” (lunches), “evening repast” (dinners), and “sweet tooth gratification” (desserts). Frankly, about the only chapter that we don’t consider for any meal is desserts – otherwise, breakfast lunch and dinner seems like an odd way to break up this cookbook. It doesn’t seem like the lunch recipes are any more “lunchy” than the dinner recipes. There are only 50 recipes, but this is a relatively small cookbook (and it does include pictures of most recipes), so I don’t have any problem with this.

The Names

As always, the Corpening sisters put the weirdest names on their foods: “this lox rocks” (cream cheese, capers, horseradish, lox, etc.), “huevos wrapcheros” (a version of huevos rancheros), “king tut’s treasure” (hummus, eggplant, etc.), and so on. You’ll almost never be able to tell from the name what a recipe is, but at least it adds amusement value.

The Recipes

The quality is a bit up and down, but by and large the recipes are quite good. And personal taste alone is bound to make some recipes in any cookbook seem not as good. Certainly I’ve come away from this cookbook with an overall impression of very delicious food.

The recipes are designed to feed two. This is great for those people who just eat at home with their spouses, and not so great when you want to feed guests. Particularly because most cookbooks aim for about 4-6 people per recipe, so it’s hard to remember that these need to be multiplied. When you do remember, though, the multiplying is pretty easy. One note – most recipes call for ingredients by volume. For instance, 2 cups peeled and diced potato, rather than “two medium potatoes.” This is easier for more experienced cooks, who are used to estimating such things, and not so easy for new cooks. Which is a shame, as I expect the subject of this book to appeal to a lot of people who just dabble in cooking.

“Barbecued and sunny-side up” is good, but not great. I think it needed a stronger taste of barbecue sauce for my taste. “Cottage crunch” didn’t particularly appeal to me, but then I don’t like cottage cheese all that much, and it was a major ingredient. “King tut’s treasure” was absolutely fantastic; I recommend adding a crumbled strip of bacon as it goes very well with the hummus and tomatoes. We made it with homemade hummus, which adds a lot of flavor. “Join the club,” a turkey club sandwich with bacon, fresh basil, avocado, and tomato, is one of the best wraps in this cookbook – it’s surprisingly rich and quite divine.

There’s “render unto Caesar,” a Caesar-salad based wrap that we haven’t tried yet, but we certainly plan to. “Lulu,” a spicy wrap with vegetables and cheddar cheese, is fantastic, as is “fertility special,” an egg-based wrap. Come to think of it, a lot of these wraps taste even better if you add a piece or two of crumbled bacon. There goes that diet again… In the evening section you’ll find “king creole,” complete with andouille sausage (if you can’t find any, I’m given to understand that any hard sausage, for instance kielbasa, will make a decent substitute). “Rodeo roundup” is a wonderful barbecue wrap with potatoes, corn kernels, meat, and seasonings. “Taj mahal” blends spices, yogurt, peanuts, lamb, and my favorite – mango chutney – for a marvelous flavor. The “sloppy joe” wrap is fantastic (beef, sausage, and lots of sauce!), and the kids will love it. There’s even a “pizza pie” wrap.

And then there’s dessert. “Rocky road, the wrap,” complete with Rice Krispies and marshmallows. “Nectar snap” and “plum decadent” provide a fruit fix. The “ice cream wrapwich” is particularly good with homemade caramel butter coffee sauce (from a “Sauces” cookbook), but any caramel sauce will do.

Once again the Corpening sisters have worked their magic. They always play with strong, unique flavors, so there are always some recipes that just don’t appeal to me. But the ones that appeal – oh, wow, are they good. So grab your meal-on-a-tortilla and enjoy. I think this will blow away all the wraps you’ve tried so far.

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