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Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys [Hardcover]

David Tanis
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 25.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

5 Oct 2010
David Tanis is a chef, cook, teacher, and author whose career has spanned three decades. When he's not cooking in restaurants, he's cooking for his friends at home or travelling the world's open-air markets. Tanis has been featured in The New York Times.Whereas the menus in A Platter of Figs were designed to feed eight to ten with grace and ease, the menus in this book serve four to six. There are twenty-four menus, six per season, each of them amusingly and engagingly titled and punctuated with rich mini-essays full of information and insight. The menus are bookended by a chapter on private rituals, those treats for when you're on your own in the kitchen with no one else to satisfy, and at the other end, menus for holiday feasts.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan (5 Oct 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157965407X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579654078
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 19.9 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tanis does Tanis and its brilliant 12 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the second book by David Tanis ( a platter of figs was his first). What makes this so good is the same formula, interesting recipes, easy instructions, excellent pictures and of course his stories. Working from a small if not micro kitchen he creates exceptional meals. His use of fresh ingredients artfully put together is a winning combination. He is part of the organic fresh food local movement of Alice Waters and wonderful it is.

A great book for every kitchen
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5.0 out of 5 stars even though... 4 Mar 2012
Format:Hardcover
Even though the measurements for the recipes in this book are American...it is a fantasctic collections of writings and menus. I must say that the "kitchen rituals" section of the book where Mr. Tanis chats about personal moments in the kitchen is charming and endearing not to mention useful!. The menus divided into seasonal selections are mouth watering and can be easily converted to English standards. Its as good a book as Mr. Tanis's prior volume, which was listed in the Chronical's top 50 cookbooks of all time. A Platter of Figs & Other Recipes
I eagerly await his next!
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars jokerman 19 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover
A beautiful and well thought out book in many respects, but I was disappointed that the recipes came with American measurements and no conversion charts. Surely, the publishers could have added the equivalents in ounces and grammes. For that reason only I wouldn't recommend this book.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
158 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for home cooks that's both accessible and original 4 Nov 2010
By Jesse Kornbluth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
My wife used to be Somebody in the New York fine dining world. As for me, one of the only two jobs that's required my daily presence was as a French chef. But going out to dinner has pretty much disappeared from our lives.
Our 8.5-year-old is the major reason. She has homework now, and reading, and piano pieces to practice, and although she is the-best-girl-in-the-world, we feel the need to sit with her in the early evening, whip in hand, while she gets it all done. Then there's the bedtime ritual --- my wife delivers a nightly lecture called "Bore Me to Sleep." By then, it's nine o'clock. Two hours until Jon Stewart. Haul in a sitter, rush to a restaurant? I think not.

What's that? At a child-friendly hour, we could take the kid out with us? No, no, no and no. The Princess is in year four or five of a lycopene addiction so severe that her culinary parameters start at pasta and end at pizza --- no way is she going to sit in a real restaurant. And we tire of Sal's Pizza.

So we cook at home. Sometimes for others. Mostly for ourselves.

Few cookbooks are of much use to us. They're too fancy, too formal. They're too basic, too simple. They're too regional, too specialized.

David Tanis, in "Heart of the Artichoke," gets it just right. No shocker there: He's the half-time chef at Chez Panisse --- he lives in Paris the other six months --- and he's a great representative for Alice Waters. That is, his thing is first-class ingredients, served with one twist --- a spice you wouldn't have thought of, a vegetable others would ignore. The result is familiar and novel, which is très cool. To quote Ms. Waters: "David will give me a menu, and I'll imagine what it will taste like, and then it's nothing like what I imagined. That's the thrill to me."

Tanis is well-traveled, and his influences range wide: Mexico, South America, France, Vietnam, Sicily. Indeed, he's such a citizen of the world that our own cuisine is an acquired taste:

"When I cook American food, it's a little like when I conjure up my inner Italian or inner Spaniard --- it's a bit of a masquerade. If I crave American food, I have to go into my pretend-citizen mode. It's as if I'm doomed to travel the world in search of my real culture. It's not that I'm not American, it's that I grew up in Ohio, where there's no discernible regional cuisine --- unless you count funnel cakes. Owing to that particular geographical spot and era, I gained my knowledge of American cooking through other people's reminiscences. And the occasional foray into James Beard. There's something odd about having nostalgia for something I never really knew. It wasn't until I got out into the world that I learned about corn bread and gumbo, Indian pudding, chicken and dumplings, sweet pickles, and fried green tomatoes."

Appreciate the irony: His "American" dishes are more satisfying than those of many American cooks because our cuisine is a midlife enthusiasm. He's sifted and chosen well --- the recipes we like best are native-born, if not exactly unvarnished Americana.

And Tanis has sensible values that our can-do pragmatists would admire: "I'm a restaurant chef who has always preferred to cook at home." What is a home-cooked meal? Sometimes it's "a plate of potato salad and a beer," sometimes it's "much more than that." In this book, you get the range. First, it's divided into seasons. And then there are the secondary categories. "Cooking small" (meals when it's just you). "Medium" (menus for four to six people). And "large" (feasts for crowds).

Tanis has preferences, which he shares in a charming opening section. After a meal, he likes fruit. Cookies? Yes, "but not giant cookies, and not chocolate chip, and not oatmeal." He travels with key provisions, starting --- smartly --- with harissa. He craves a ham sandwich, with butter, on a baguette, in a French bar. (He also likes tripe and makes his own chorizo, which is where we part company.)

Some of his delightfully twisted recipes: fennel soup, zucchini pancakes, pork --- not veal --- scaloppini, fried fish with tarragon mayonnaise, broiled pineapple with rum. Many are shown with photographs you'd happily cut out and eat. (No wonder --- the photographer is Christopher Hirsheimer, half of the Canal House team.)
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just an artichoke 6 Dec 2010
By wogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
David Tanis presents a cookbook that celebrates in season meals. It is not just recipes but his reflections on cooking these foods. He begins with a section on his kitchen rituals, remembering how he ate oatmeal, the first time he ate an artichoke, among others.

The book is divided into seasonal menus: spring, summer, fall and winter, each with 5 menus His focaccia is amazing, as is the Digestivo with fresh berries and then the Molasses pecan squares are a favorite, we have even substituted walnuts with great success. Another section has 4 feasts and the recipes for them, including a deconstructed turkey.
The index is done by ingredient, but could have used better spacing and highlighting. It is also frustrating to look up Focaccia and not have it listed, because it is not an ingredient.

Tanis believes in simplicity and his food-recipes are not that difficult. They are different and simple but yet complicated flavors. This is an unusual cookbook for those that collect them and for those who would like to cook something that is a conundrum between simple and complex.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The chef who really GETS IT! 28 Nov 2010
By Australianhomecook - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have given away as presents over 60 copies of David's first book. He cooks as I cook and eat ... only so much better. His book was not widely available in Australia's book shops. I stumbled over it accidentally and couldn't put it down.

This second book, "heart of the artichoke ..." is just as wonderful. The recipes are manageable for the average cook and the taste results are authentic and superb. I cooked the de-constructed turkey for thanksgiving and it was simply stunning. Rave reviews from those at the table including 2 chefs. I will never roast a turkey the old way again. My love of Pho (iconic Vietnamese soup) comes from living a year in Saigon during the Vietnam war. It is the soup I must have often for comfort and confirmation that all is right in my world. David's recipe for Pho is absolutely authentic. The recipes are wide-ranging and very interesting. This book reveals more of David's attitude to food, life, living which has pleased me immensely. Anyone who always travels with chillies in his pocket is my kind of guy! This is a book to buy and never lend out. Everyone should have their own copy. It's the perfect Christmas gift. I have purchased 22 copies to give as gifts in late December.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and sensibly written cookbook 12 Jan 2011
By Z. Zaletel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I will keep my comments brief, as Jesse Kornbluth and others have done a good job speaking about the book in general. I will say that we've had this book for about a month, and have already cooked a number of recipes from it. The recipes are laid out in a seasonal menu / meal format, and the meals we've prepared from it thus far have all been fantastic.

While not packed to the gills with recipe after recipe, those included are offer a nice variety of flavors and ingredients which make each dish and meal (thus far) that we've enjoyed a small, scrumptious feast.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tanis comes through again! 1 Jan 2011
By Bettina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed "A Platter of Figs" and this is a nice follow up. It has the same general style with great storytelling. I enjoy making the full menus. He's a master at simple ingredients prepared simply. Although some recipes take time, they normally have easy steps to build to the flavor complexity. This book ventures a little further out in terms of non-standard ingredients. But, if you have a butcher near you, all should be doable.
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