Top positive review
122 people found this helpful
on 19 October 2011
As other reviewers have noted, it's a handsome well-produced book. I have found the writing style excellent: clear, almost conversational, and friendly. The chapter introductions alone give you great explanations about the subjects to follow. I also really like the typography and layout. The font used is classic, and very easy on the eye, and reminds me of some of the better books my mum used in the 70's. The recipes themselves are not broken down into too many steps, and are nicely padded with white space, which all helps to put you at ease, and keep the metaphorical temperature down. The photos are amazing too.
I much prefer this to the "In Search of Perfection" books, where single recipes spanned a chapter, and often several days preparation.
The recipes I have tried so far have been superb, although I agree that the "roast chicken" mentioned by another reviewer reads a little unsettling (I haven't tried it yet). At one end of the scale, the US FDA recommends a minimum internal temp of 74C for poultry, at the other, an excellent German book I have devoted solely to low-temperature cooking of meat suggests an OVEN temperature of 75C for chicken breasts! In the same way that it's become permitted/encouraged to serve pork with a glimmer of pink now, which never used to be the case, I think the boundaries are being "investigated" when it comes to chicken too. The big unknown is the true quality & condition of the bird in your fridge... Equally, as most people are still hard-wired to recoil from chicken with any hint of pink (unless it's tandoori pink!) the good cook will use their nous to prepare it in a way that is most palatable to their diners, as that reviewer did.
I also like the fact that some real sweet recipes are included, i.e. like you'd get from the sweetshop, not just desserts. That's always been a slightly mysterious subject, and the recipes here are a relatively easy way of surprising and confounding people who might otherwise be sceptical of this type of cooking. Drinks, snacks and side-dishes are here too, so you can jazz up even the simplest get-together with a few clever touches.
Other than the sous-vide stuff (which is only a small section anyway), the equipment demands are fairly modest. The only disingenuous note was that "dry ice can now be bought online". Yes it can, but the best offer I could find had a "minimum order value of £120" and was about 40kg. Which is going a bit far for 4 portions of ice-cream. Maybe some enterprising suppliers will take note and produce a CO2 Gift Set ;-)
All in all, highly recommended.