Monday, June 7, 2021

The Modern Larder


The Modern Larder is a dictionary of exotic food ingredients and also contains a number of gourmet recipes developed and curated by Michelle McKenzie. Due out 28th Sept 2021 from Roost, it's 376 pages and will be available in hardcover format.

This is a minimalist, accessible, and interesting collection of esoteric and gourmet foods along with a collection of recipes which utilize them. The first section contains the alphabetically arranged primer of food ingredients. The entries are chiefly text without photos and contain a brief description and background for each ingredient followed by an inset footer with a listing of salient recipes (and page numbers). The selection of ingredients is quirky and has a very international flair. There are dried limes and shrimp, ancient grains like Job's tears, makrut (citrus leaf), yuzu and many more. Nearly -all- of these exotic ingredients will require access at the very least to a well stocked international/Asian grocer and/or access to a large metropolitan area's very well stocked grocery stores. Most can also be sourced online for readers in more rural areas.

The second part of the book contains the recipes arranged by category: Snacks starters & small meals, breakfasts, salads & sides, mains, desserts, drinks, and partial recipes/foundations and finishes. Recipes contain a description and many tips for alternative presentations. Ingredients are listed bullet style on the left side of the page. Measures are given in standard units (metric) with US measures in parentheses. Step by step instructions are specific and comprehensive enough that most readers will have no trouble producing a credible dish. The recipes are (in my opinion) quite fancy and very gourmand. There is a wide selection from which to choose for impressing "foody" friends and family. 

The photography is well above average. The dishes pictured are styled very well and professionally and are photographed clearly. Serving suggestions are attractive and appropriate. A majority of the recipes are photographed.

This would be a good selection for public library acquisition, gifting to a (very) foody friend, or for the reference cookbook collectors.

Five stars - for the readers who never miss an issue of Bon Appetit and who still own all their old back issues of Gourmet magazine. Four stars for the rest of us.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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