East of Paris: The New Cuisines of Austria and the Danube (Ecco) Hardcover – 7 Oct 2004
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An illustrated collection of recipes for classic regional Austrian dishes.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I understand that David Bouley is held in a high regard, just reading Charlie Trotter's review is enough said, but, I think that is based largely inpart on Bouley's restaurant, not the book itself. I also beleive that much of what is in this book is not meant for the novice cook. I consider myself experienced and more than capable of preparing an out and out quality meal, but this book is not helpful in explaining technique or corresponding the text and pictures to an actual outcome.
I say beware of this book. Check it out from a library or borrow a copy from a friend and try the recipies first. I think that if you were to buy this based upon reviews or a cursory glance, you will be disappointed in how the recipies translate into stunning dishes in your own kitchen. If you struglle or fail, as I did, it is disheartening and should in no way reflect upon you as a cook. I will be honest, I was discouraged, but I had to sit and think about the audience for this book and the level of skill it is written for. I think anyone considering this book as a gift or addition to their own library needs to consider these two factors prior to making a purchase. And, if in doubt, spend some time looking it over carefully in a bookstore coffeeshop before you buy.
Make no mistake this book is wonderfully photographed and well constructed, but contnet wise, I cannot say that it is among my favorites nor do I find it a very useful or insightful text.
For the more discerning cookbook buyers among you, this is a celebrity chef coffee table style book of recipes from David Bouley?s restaurant ?Danube? which specializes in recipes from Vienna or in the style of Vienna, primarily those which would have been served to the Hapsburgs rather than simpler fare found in a Prater district caf?. This is Austrian haute cuisine, oddly showing much more influence from northern Italy than from Paris (hence the title of the book). This makes eminent sense as much of northern Italy was once under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Recipes are divided among seven (7) chapters primarily presenting cuisine by season. Chapters are:
Fall: 14 recipes featuring cabbage, plums, truffles, and suckling pig.
Winter: 16 recipes freaturing venison, strudel, goulash, and viener schnitzel
Spring: 13 recipes featuring salads, rabbit, lobster, and crab
Summer: 12 recipes featuring veal shank, lamb chops, mackeral, salmon, and foie gras
Signature Dishes: 8 cocktail recipes plus 14 entrees, including 7 seafood entrees
Traditional sweets: 15 recipes including the world famous Sachertorte and Linzertorte. Yum
Pantry: 13 recipes for stocks, doughs, and cures
Most recipes are relatively long but very well written (Melissa Clark, one of the co-authors, is a professional writer who has written or collaborated on 16 books, including at least one on desserts). Aside from the usual ocurrences of foie gras, black truffles, and caviar one would expect from a cuisine prepared for emperors, there are few unusual ingredients. One of the least familiar is a soft ricotta like cheese named Quark (Topfen in German) which is a soft, fresh, white curd cheese similar to pot cheese. I have never seen it in my local megamart, but then I never looked for it.
For the cuisine of Vienna, there are a surprisingly large number of seafood recipes, although I suspect that by the middle of the 19th century, Vienna was within 12 to 16 hours of the Adriatic coast by train.
The layout of the book and the photography are as good or better than similar books with equal or higher list prices. The photographs of frolicking sous chefs are kept to a minimum and the photographs really succeed in making the food, especially the pasteries, look appetizing.
If you have no cookbook which include the flagship Viennese tortes and strudels, this alone is worth the price of admission. The recipe for Sachertorte, for example, is similar to the recipe in the recent book ?Kaffeehaus? by Rick Rodgers, but seems to achieve a much fancier result with two layers instead of one and with more chocolate, but less sugar.
I would trade a Daniel Boulud and two Jacques Pepin softcovers for this one. This may not be for everyone, and the authors are honest about not doing historically accurate cuisine (?New Cuisines of Austria and the Danube?) but if part of your heart belongs to Austria, you will enjoy this book.
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