on 20 August 2010
There is no doubt that this is a lovely piece of book production - handsome, thoughtfully laid out, splendid photographs and feels good in the hand. Produced by Artisan a splendid American publisher. David Tanis works with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and he is praised by Paula Wolfert - you know you are in good hands.
And there are some lovely recipes here (arranged by season conveniently) - particularly for me some of the accompaniments - Watercress, Beet and Egg Salad, tomato bread, crostini with ricotta, deconstructed salad nicoise. The main dishes and desserts are all appealing too - and not complex - but very dependent on top quality ingredients. It is a book produced by a man who clearly understands and loves food - I would love to live near his restaurant.
So why am I left feeling a little disappointed. I guess it is two things: it is a lot of book for relatively few recipes (I am one of those who would trade all the personal stuff and life history for more recipes) and many the recipes are excellent versions of relatively common dishes. So far - and I haven't completed reading it - I have found a lot of versions of dishes I know that I will cook with pleasure - I haven't yet found that killer new dish (and maybe I am wrong to be looking for it).
But it is absolutely worth 4 stars, I will cook from it (tomorrow actually) and I do recommend it.
on 21 December 2010
I have now had this cookbook for a year and been through all four seasons (the book is organised seasonally). I have not yet had a bad recipe and I have had many truly excellent recipes. This book is all about letting the quality of ingredients shine, and the recipes really let that happen. I find that I keep on going back to familiar recipes and, unusually for me, I now have twelve recipes from the book which I have cooked at least three times - I'm not sure that any other cookbook I own has supplied more than three such recipes!
Really, the only negative I can find is that some of the recipes seem to be for entire armies, so you do need to do a reality check on quantities when preparing to shop for the ingredients.