Prior to my trip back to the states this week, I just put in my order for some new cookbooks to schlep back with me. Because of limited space chez David, I have to be somewhat selective about which books I get, since there’s only so many things I can squeeze in around here.
These are the six that made the cut, although I’ll probably see a few more that I can’t resist.
God help the baggage handlers, if I do.
1. This is the book that so many, including me, have been waiting for: A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, the new book by David Tanis. For those of you who don’t know him, David was and is a chef at Chez Panisse, and was there when I started way-back-when.
Since then David moved to Paris part-time and started a fabulous supper club, Chien Lunatique, and has made me some of the most spectacularly-simple and spectacularly-good meals. Romain is still raving about his pot au feu….four years later! I believe last time he brought it up, he got a little misty-eyed. I don’t know if I can repeat that exceptional meal, but if the recipe’s in here, I’m certainly going to try. I could use someone getting misty-eyed about something I do once in a while, too.
2. Even though I can’t pronounce his name, like—at all…I loved the last book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, The River Cottage Meat Book. And even though I never got around to making the Deviled Kidneys, which I was going to do for the site (mind you, not because I’ve been craving kidneys), this remains one of my all-time favorite books.
The River Cottage Cookbook is Hugh Whatever-His-Last Name-Is’ general cookbook and I’m anxious to see what’s inside this one. I hope it’s worth the wait. And weight. Hefting in at 3-pounds, that’s a few less bags of marshmallows I can haul back.
3. Years ago Richard Olney came to Chez Panisse when this book was originally released. He brought bottle of this world-famous Sauternes with him, considered by many to be the best, and rarest, wine in the world. One sip justifies the price, in my humble opinion.
Yet I stupidly…or I guess I should say, foolishly didn’t get a copy of the book. It went out of print, prices skyrocketed into the hundreds, and I was sad about my missed opportunity. After years of waiting, lusting after this book about my favorite wine, and a few false starts, Yquem has finally been re-released and I can’t wait to pour through the pages. Even if I can’t pour much of the pricey elixir itself.
4. The cover of Fat by Jennifer McLagan is gorgeous, and shows what a brilliant, gorgeous, and beautifully-executed cover can do for a mis-understood ingredient.
I want fat. And soon, I’m gonna get it.
5. Normally I’m not so keen on chef’s books. Too often they’re wordy, overblown, and the recipes are invariably multi-day affairs. Not exactly the way I like to cook.
I already know I’m going to make nothing from this jumbo book. But if the concept and style live up to the hype and promise, Alinea is perhaps going to be the most exciting book to come along in a long time. I’m anxious to see what chef Grant Achatz has produced in this unconventionally-produced cookbook.
6. Who gives a damn what’s inside—I can’t wait to get my hands on Dessert FourPlay.
For obvious reasons.
(And I’m beginning to see why they keep squirreling my picture away inside of my books. Hrrmph!)