Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef
This is Italy’s answer to Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential.” It starts with a screaming nightmare of a commercial kitchen run amok; a naked panic attack amidst broken crockery, stomped milk cartons and an airborne slab of beef. This high-speed firsthand tour of the restaurant world is summed up by Lucarelli’s motorcycle accident—he loses control on a curve, hits a tree, rolls down an incline and smashes into a boulder. He walks away to suffer another day. Just like being a chef!
This is a big book with
big photos and big ideas.
After closing down three sputtering restaurants
in Portland, Oregon, Pomeroy founded Beast, a prix-fixe family-style restaurant with a menu that changes weekly.
The cooking is definitely French inspired. One comes across veloutés, consommés, crème fraiche, gratins, French onion soup, even puff pastry. Yet there is modernity in her madness when she caramelizes lentils, makes
a horseradish gremolata and repurposes confit for the modern age. She also sneaks in a dash
of fish sauce on occasion to boost umami. This is serious cooking, mind you, but presented in gorgeous color by a serious, self-trained cook.
Taste and Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
Cookbooks that try to teach culinary principles remind me
of chemistry class—
too much lecturing and insufficient hands-on experience. “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” suffers a bit from the same problem; it’s a dense read. That said, if you take the time to absorb this book in bite-size bits, you will become a vastly better cook. Learn to balance sweet and acid, choose between different types of fats, understand proteins and heat, etc. It’s all there for the curious, determined cook.
Ana Sortun has taken Turkish cuisine and presented it in fresh ways in her three Boston-area restaurants: Oleana, Sofra Bakery and Sarma. Co-authored with Maura Kilpatrick, Sortun’s new cookbook, “Soframiz,” is based on Sofra and offers plenty of recipes for pastries, cookies, savory pies, breakfast and meze, or Turkish small plates. The selections are fresh and unusual, from tahini dinner rolls and pistachio toaster pastries to Syrian shortbreads and chocolate beet cake. One also comes across the occasional stunner—try carrot cake with sesame-caramel cream cheese. “Soframiz” is not about authenticity. It’s about learning from the past to cook for the future.
Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra's Bakery & Cafe
Senegal: Modern Senegalese Recipes from the Source to the Bowl
Some 20 different ethnic groups live in Senegal, a country of wildly divergent landscapes that include deserts in the north and tropics in the south. And from there, Pierre Thiam offers us a new vision of African cuisine, a world far beyond the Mediterranean or even the foods of North Africa. There are peanut-dusted lamb skewers from Nigeria, fish soup, slow-stewed meats with palm oil and sesame seeds, and a simple baguette stuffed with a fried egg, french fries and a smear of spicy pepper sauce. There are small takeaways here, as well. A lime-onion confit, crystallized peanuts, pickled carrots or a simple sauce of olive oil, garlic, onion and lime juice. ◆