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Discussion in 'Cookbook Reviews' started by nicko, Sep 26, 2010.
I am reading and cooking through Jaque Pepin's La Method and La Technique.
Starting my foray into Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck cookbook. Absorbing his style and technique. I love Ruhlmans stuff from Charcuterie.Maple smoked bacon and his cured sauerkraut.Getting ready for choucroute season. My favorite rag is food arts, great new issue, the first after the death of M. Batterberry.
the first after the death of M. Batterberry.
And did you pick up on that great descriptive line in the eulogy: He could show up at a pig pickin' in a three piece suit, and not be out of place.
Anyway, right now I'm reading The Turkish Cookbook by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman. It's a greatly expanded and revised version of their A Taste of Turkish Cooking.
Simulataneously, I'm rereading Twain's Feast, by Andrew Beahrs; an interesting treatise in which he makes the case for Mark Twain being the first locovore.
I did KYH, It really is amazing what this man did in his life.
Grace Young's Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge This book looks at how Chinese immigrants to various parts of the globe created fusion cuisines of their new available ingredients and their historic dishes. I've been very impressed with all of Grace Young's cookbooks and heartily recommend them. The recipe that struck me the most was a stir fried bagel recipe in Beijing. A NY expat had moved to China and saw enough other expats to go into business supplying them with a good NY-style bagel. Her neighbor used the bagels in a traditional stir fried bread dish of the Beijing region. I haven't made it but the story and incongruity were striking to me.
Lots of interesting stories that vein from all over the globe. Stir fried jerk chicken is another, Shrimp in Rum...
Before that I was going through Pepin's two Fast Food My Way books and found lots of good ideas for weeknight cooking. Good stuff. I enjoyed the PBS series too.
Those Pepin books are on my list, Phil. Loved the PBS series---at least those episodes I was able to view.
Currently reading Ad Hoc at Home and hoping to try a couple of his recipes this weekend.
I am picking and choosing parts of On Food and Cooking. Again!
Also keeping Culinary Boot Camp for some lighter reading.
I'm reading parts of several of Rose Levy Beranbaum's books (The Cake Bible, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, The Bread Bible and The Pie And Pastry Bible). I find myself applying some of her techniques to other author's recipes with positive results.
I just got the Culinary Institutes Frozen Deserts and so far I'm really enjoying it. Also enjoyed their Garde Manger book.
On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee and Dessert Fourplay by Johnny Iuzzini. I've got a thing for desserts these days.
'setting the table' by danny meyers, 'kitchen mysteries' by herve this, and, not really reading as much as thumbing,'cooks canon...101 classic recipes everyone should know', by raymond sokolov...has anyone heard of the memoir from craig claiborne?..i think its called a feast made of laughter, but can't seem to find it or any information about it either....it might have been an author writing about claiborne, but i thought it was a memoir.... he was in my opinion, just wonderful....
Craig Claiborne's autobiography was called A Feast Made For Laughter, Joey.
There have been several biographies written about him as well.
Claiborne was, in my opinion, the last of the great food writers to work for the NY Times. Everyone since him as fallen short. When he's good, Ruhlman is very good indeed. But he's inconsistent. And nobody else even approaches Ruhlman's talent. Mark Bittman isn't even in the running.
Cape, charcuterie is one of my favorites and I started making my own bacon from that book. This past year I also had a chance to meet and dine at Brian Paulcyn's restaurant in Michigan.
Phil, we (my wife and I) watch Fast Food my way and it is a great show. I will have to check out his book as well. Pepin is such a master the hard thing to keep in mind when you watch him cook is how easy he can make certain techniques look. Like making his hollandaise or sabyon directly over the flame perfectly.
Have you tried the Buttermilk Fried chicken recipe? It is amazing. Great book. So much more focused for the home cook (no sous vide cooker required). /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lookaround.gif
Went through the Book of Tapas, the one published by Phaidon Press. Lovely book though full of hard to source ingredients with specialty peppers, baby eels and so on.
Also picked up the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook mostly to see how pumpkin juice was handled. Not well in my opinion as it's mostly other juices like apple, pear, white grape. Pretty straight forward cooking without much flair or interpretation. Plenty of pies and pastry. Each recipe has a lead in of a scene where the food is mentioned. I hadn't realized what an eater Ron was. Hermione better be as much a master of cooking magic as she is the other types because I don't think Ron has it in him to cook well.
Currently working through A Love Affair With Southern Cooking by Jean Anderson which I'm considering adding to my collection.
though full of hard to source ingredients........
It's strange to hear you say that, Phil. I recently reviewed The Book of Tapas here at Cheftalk, http://www.cheftalk.com/products/the-book-of-tapas and found just the opposite. I was pleasantly surprised as the small percentage (there are, after all, 250 recipes) of the entries that called for hard to find ingredients. Frankly, I had expected more of them, considering this book is merely a translation from the Spanish, not one designed for the American marketplace.
Proportionately, I'd say a book like Batali's Molto Gusto, supposedly aimed at American home cooks, calls for many more hard to source and impossible to find ingredients.
Like you, I'm in an area where "available in any supermarket" just doesn't apply. Most "specialty" ingredients have to be either ordered on line or substitutes found.
Because you used baby eels as an example, I just checked the entire cold-fish section. There are 35 recipes found there. Below is the total list of what I would consider hard to source ingredients. By that I mean not locally available (all of them are available on line). And some of them actually are available where I live, but I recognize that they might be difficult elsewhere. I've marked those with an asterisk:
Salmon roe, canned smoked eel*, elvers, salt cod*, crayfish*, mullet roe, octopus*, fresh sardines, smoked trout*.
So, in 35 "foreign" recipes we're talking about only 9 hard to find ingredients, many of which might actually be locally available if you search hard enough. Personally, I don't consider that to be a particularly high quantity.
Hard to source is relative to one's location it seems. There is only one Spanish restaurant to speak of in SLC area and even they have struggled ingredient-wise.
I understand fully what you're saying, and generally agree with it. Far too many cookbooks and cooking shows call for "readily available" ingredients that aren't in much of the country. I just didn't find that to be overly so in The Book of Tapas.
What surprises me are the "offbeat" ingredients that you can find in many supermarkets. I mean, I just don't expect the local markets to carry things like smoked trout. And don't find it at the fish counter. Then it turns out it's available in cans, and is sitting right there, next to the tuna. Go figure.
There is only one Spanish restaurant to speak of in SLC area and even they have struggled ingredient-wise.
Now this is something I can't relate to. Unlike you and me, who need retail sized quantities, a restaurant should be able to order anything it needs; either on line or from its suppliers. Sure, there may be a handful of ingredients that just aren't available unless you import them yourself. But the vast majority of necessaries can be found. Take fresh sardines as an example. I don't know anywhere in the Lexington, KY, area where fresh sardines are available at the retail level. Yet there are several restaurants that carry them on their menus.
I suspect your local restaurant's struggle isn't so much in finding ingredients as in paying for them. But that's a totally different issue.
Now you've probably uncovered the "crux" of the matter, though one can "order" virtually anything, the "distribution cost" may be too high, especially if there is a "limited demand" for a product in a specific geographic locale.