Thursday, December 14, 2017
Almost everyone seems to have some foods from their past which are tied into some shared family history. Aunt Gen's cranberry orange salad, gran's chestnut turkey dressing, that broccoli cheddar casserole that cousin Judy always brings... etc.
This book is a very adventurous trendy gastronomique version of those homey dishes. These are edgy, impressive, challenging and (to me) very unusual. The collaborators in this cookbook are all, as far as I can tell, professional foodies, most of them actively cooking for very high end restaurants. Many of the ingredients are (again, to me) bizarre and difficult to source. A few examples: fennel pollen (p. 30), moscatel vinegar (p.34, presumably sherry vinegar would be an acceptable substitute?), 300g (10½oz) beef muscle, from a happy, grass-fed cow (p. 42), salted wild garlic capers (same recipe), gentian liqueur (Kamm & Sons for preference, p. 70), etc. There is also a lot of very specialized and expensive kitchen equipment specified in the recipes.
I usually try to test several recipes before reviewing cookbooks, however, this time around, I could only easily source the ingredients for one of the recipes: Cherry Kirsch Cake (p. 110). It was lovely, and I closely followed the directions (including adding eggs one at a time with flour to prevent splitting), but my cake split quite ferociously. I think if I try the recipe again, I will probably add a pan of water to increase the humidity in the oven (or maybe source eggs from truly happy chickens) ;)
The photography is lovely and compliments the recipes very well. (I was also fascinated by the varied and beautiful tattoos of the creators pictured in the book).
Final thoughts. VERY fancy, very trendy, fairly difficult. For foodies who intend to impress and really love the process of food and creating food.
Three and a half stars, would be 4-5 for die-hard foodies.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.