May 04, 2010
Another small gem from Alice Waters. This one really is about the essence of food and cooking simply--but meticulously. The description/instructions for "Pounding a Sauce" gives a perfect glimpse of Waters' world view and why it works: "...I think it helps you understand how to balance the flavors of a sauce...plus pounding is more fun than flipping a switch."
A small book, less than 120 pages, it still covers all the basics to help us remember that cooking is an art, and the foodstuffs are gifts.
February 10, 2010
I'm horrified to not see this classic in Amazon's list--but rest assured there are copies still to be found in used bookshops and Alibris.
This was my first vegetarian cookbook that I admit I bought initially for the illustrations. But it was the gentle voice, inquisitive mind and tight technical skill of now famous Anna Thomas that guided me on my culinary path. Her non-strident, plain-sense approach to "meatless" cuisine found globally both fascinated and spurred me to investigate other peoples' diets.
The most worn page in my copy is her "Herb and Onion Bread." A batter yeast bread that is mixed, and allowed to rise in one bowl--it is as fast to the table as any quick bread. In the 30+ years since first trying this recipe, I've changed the amounts of sweetness to savory and added everything from chocolate chips to Irish cheese and Vietnamese bird peppers.
This as with all of Thomas' recipes are reliable, easily modified, and a joy to prepare as well as consume!
The Baker's Dozen Cookbook: Become a Better Baker with 135 Foolproof Recipes and Tried-and-True Techniques
February 04, 2010
This is the first book from the collective "The Baker's Dozen" whose original members included David Lebovitz, Alice Medrich, and co-founders Marion Cunningham and Linsdey Shere. While accessible to baking novices, it remains interesting for the more experienced baker. The premise behind both the collective and the book is to discover together the "why" in baking. Why one technique or ingredient works and another doesn't.
The layout is very easy to use and the photography pleasant without being showy. I would have loved some technique/instruction drawings to have been included.