BOOK: "Cooking School Holidays," by Jenni Muir (Abbeville Press, $29.95)
TARGET AUDIENCE: People whose idea of adventure travel is pursuing the perfect parfait, polenta or pad thai.
Food writer Muir provides 25 reasons to stay inside, even though outside, as proved by the book's vivid color pictures, there is glorious rural scenery or exciting city life. She takes us into 25 cooking schools around the globe, where we might do seafood barbecue (at the Sydney fish market), learn basic Asian kitchen techniques (at Raffles Hotel in Singapore) or dabble amid the pros (at the Culinary Institute of America in Upstate New York). Each school is represented also by a recipe: Tuscan ribollita (bread soup); drunken noodles from Bangkok; green-lipped mussels from New Zealand. Costs for the courses are not stated. While Internet addresses are provided, and some of them yield the current prices, others connect only to general sites for the sponsoring hotel or resort. Some packages include accommodations; some let you stay elsewhere. Many of the schools include visits to local markets. Such study is, according to Muir, "a marvelous way to meet local people, appreciate their way of life, and share a common interest." Sign us up. (May we bring lots of Tupperware?)
-- Jerry V. Haines