So You Want To Be A Waiter

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Tag Archives: cookbook of the day

Cookbook of the day – Baking with Julia

Baking with Julia

Baking with Julia : Based on the PBS Series Hosted by Julia Child

by Dorrie Greenspan

  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (November 4, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688146570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688146573
  • This is the baking-specific companion to Master Chefs, the PBS cooking program hosted by Julia Child. The book itself was written by famed author Dorie Greenspan, with an introduction by Ms. Child and the participation of 22 famed bakers and chefs.

    The first part of the book is devoted to definitions and techniques that one needs to be a successful baker. The rest of the book features clear step-by-step instructions and tips on specific baked products, from Middle Eastern flatbreads like matzoh and pita to French artisan breads, Finnish crisps, and various desserts. It even includes instructions on making your own three-tiered wedding cake.

    This book is especially useful in clarifying issues one finds in baking, as well as offering many tips, hints and shortcuts. Each baker brings his or her own expertise along with the recipes that they bring to the table.

    If you are even remotely interested in baking, whether it’s creating the perfect pie crust, or learning how to make homemade croissants, this is a very worthy volume.

    Plus, you can never go wrong with Julia Child.

    julia-child-with-rolling-pins-thumb-330x353-939Dorie

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Cookbook of the day – Classical Cooking the Modern Way

    Classical cooking

    Classical Cooking The Modern Way

    by Eugen Pauli

  • Publisher: Van Nos 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471291870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471291879
  • This cookbook is actually primarily a textbook. Originally written and published in Germany and France under the titles Lehrbuch der Küche and Technologie Culinaire, this book was published in English by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company in 1979 and immediately became a required textbook for culinary students.

    It covers all aspects of setting up and running a modern commercial kitchen as envisioned by Escoffier. From physical plant layout to food safety and sanitation, from food labeling, butchering and other product issues to large scale recipes, this book should be on the bookshelf of every executive chef and should be at least skimmed by any waiter worth his or her salt.

    The current edition of this venerable book is different from the original edition (which I own). According to one reviewer at Amazon, the book has been abridged somewhat by the new publisher, with the intent of publishing a second volume in the future. I glanced through some of the pages of the new edition through Amazon’s look inside feature, and it’s obvious that the book has been completely re-written. My recommendation therefore is only for the edition that I own and the one that is pictured above. That’s not to denigrate the new edition – I just don’t have access to the whole of it for direct comparison. The image comes from the eBay listing listed below.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Classical-Cooking-the-Modern-Way-by-Eugen-Pauli_W0QQitemZ250348521879QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Nonfiction_Book?hash=item3a49ef4997&_trksid=p4999.m20.l1116

    I would recommend picking up this book as eBay only has a handful of the original editions (the new one is the Third Edition).

    The recipes aren’t particularly useful to the home cook, although there are times that they might find recipes for 10 or more handy. The plating and platter arrangements are quite dated. This book is most useful for the reams of information about the practice of cooking – the foundation stuff that every aspiring chef, even the home cook, should know.

    This is a go-to reference work that you should own.

    Cookbook of the day – The Seducer’s Cookbook

    Seducer's cookbook

    The Seducer’s Cookbook

    by Mimi Sheraton

    Publisher Random House (1963)

    This was a gag gift given to me by my GM one Christmas. I’m not sure what the message was supposed to be or what his image of me was, but I’m glad to have received it because it’s a cheeky little product of pre-Kennedy assassination America.

    This was the time of a freeing of the mores of the 50s and the promise of a more urbane and worldly US. Jackie Kennedy was the hostess and style editor of America and, although we didn’t know it at the time, JFK was working his way through the distaff Washington and Hollywood elite while his wife was seducing America at large.

    This book bridges both of those themes with humor, panache and a nod and a wink by famed food critic and writer, Mimi Sheraton.

    It’s illustrated in that wonderful line drawing early 60s cartoon style by Paul Coker. You might not know the name unless you’re a MAD Magazine freak, but his sparse style helped define the cartoon style of the early 60s:

    Coker 007

    His artwork really establishes the time, place and atmosphere of the book.

    Oh yeah, the book – it’s very witty. You get little bon mots as How to Seduce Your wife – “A good rule of thumb here is to keep thinking what you would do if you were after a woman who was not your wife and then stick as close to that program as possible”. It’s not quite Oscar Wilde, but it’ll do in a pinch.

    It’s not just for the sleazy male seducer with the cravat and bearskin rug either. There’s plenty of tricks that the evil woman will pull off to bag her prey, both sides of the equation being represented by a lot of perfectly good 60s recipes, some obvious and some not so.

    So, I’m really lucky to have this First Edition library covered treasure from a time almost forgotten. I’m eternally grateful to that GM for enhancing my bookshelf.

    BTW, this edition is dedicated to Dick.

    I think it’s fortunate that she was married to a guy named Richard, whom she apparently seduced well enough to still be married to him lo these 50 years.

    MimiSheraton

    Cookbook of the day – The Great Curries of India

    Great curries of India

    Great Curries of India

    by Camellia Panjabi

    Publisher  Simon & Schuster
     ISBN 10: 0684803836

    ISBN 13: 978-0684803838

    This book reminds us that Indian cooking is as regional as our own American cuisine is. Sometimes we forget that India is a subcontinent, as large as Western Europe with twice the number of people.  There is no common language and while the climate of India is considered tropical, it also has deserts and mountainous regions. The varied climate and topography of India influences the various regional variations of Indian cuisine and this book takes pains to underscore that point.

    Ms. Panjabi spends a lot of time on the various ingredients that you need to create authentic Indian flavors and this lavishly illustrated volume picks 50 well-chosen dishes, some obvious and some not-so-obvious.

    You’ll learn a bit about the culture and history of India as you learn to build the flavor profiles important to Indian cooking. She starts you off with the simplest curry and then branches off into more exotic and complex dishes. That’s a good approach – I wish that more cookbooks employed this tactic.

    I highly recommend this book.

    lamb-cooked-in-milk_fi

    Lamb cooked in milk.

    Cookbook of the Day – La Technique

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    La Technique

    by Jacques Pepin

    Publisher Times Books (December 12, 1976)

    ISBN 10: 0812906101

    ISBN 13: 978-0812906103

    This is a companion volume to Pepin’s La Methode, which I will review in a future installment of Cookbook of the Day.  Both volumes can now be purchased in one volume, but I’ll discuss each one separately.

    This was the first of the two volumes and it’s exactly as the title describes – all about technique. It starts with holding the knife and finishes with making Cheveaux d’Ange (angel hair). No, angel hair doesn’t refer to pasta, but rather sugar gossamer “angel’s hair” used to decorate elaborate desserts.

    There are recipes scattered throughout but only recipes that require use of a technique to accomplish. Filled with step-by-step matter-of-fact black and white photographs, Pepin takes you through the basics of breaking down a chicken, shucking clams and oysters, making terrines, poaching eggs and even folding napkins.

    This was one of the first really practical volumes on technique that clearly showed the American chef step-by-step how to replicate the results of the top chefs of the world. It, along with its sister volume, is really a foundation book for any kitchen library. You should pick up the new combined edition if possible, but you can also find the two books in both hardback and paperback in selected used book stores. My copy of La Technique is hardback, while my copy of La Methode is in paperback. I don’t mind at all. 

    angel hair A confetti version of  Cheveaux d’Ange  – imagine that it’s made of sugar and sits atop some elaborately constructed gateaux.