Thursday, July 15, 2010

my brand of summer reading...

This is an ultimate.

There are different ultimate cookbooks out there. Those great "sink your teeth into it", super full, amazing cookbooks.

I think some people feel that way about "The Joy of Cooking" or Julia Child's masterpiece, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". I'm personally a big fan of her "The Way to Cook". It taught me how to make my Coq au Vin, Brandon's favorite. But, to be honest. Julia's writing style wasn't my favorite. Many of her recipes involved referring back to other recipes and it can be a nightmare if you want to follow one recipe verbatim.

OK, this sounds like I'm not a Julia fan. I really am. I promise. I've taken to watching reruns of her show on the new "Cooking Channel" every day. I'm impressed daily by the leaps and bounds we've taken in cooking shows! 1970s food photography was pretty disgusting. And, don't even get me started on hygeine. Hello cross-contamination!?!?

But, I love to learn her classical techniques. There's a lack of classic technique being taught today. Everyone is so focused on 10 minute dinners, or super frugal cooking. What they fail to mention is that, a good basis of the tried and true techniques allows a cook to prepare faster. And, knowing what to buy store-bought and what to make yourself can save a cook hundreds of dollars a year! But, I guess that style isn't very vogue these days.

This all brings me to this book. Darina Allen (also known as "The Julia Child of Ireland") has compiled these skills into a book: "The Forgotten Skills of Cooking". Her theory is that the skills taught by her grandmother's generation are being lost generation through generation.

Brandon surprised me with this. Just because. Single girls (heck- non single girls) take note, settle for nothing less.

I have loved her approach. I have learned so much from reading already. The woman makes her own pruscuitto. You have no idea how badly I want to try that!

I highly recommend this book. I think you'd like it. If you are a little more than the average casserole chef, and want to delve deeper.

Recipe review:

I made Allen's basic cupcake recipe. I think it is definitely a more Irish style cupcake.

By this I mean, the cupcake was very dense and sturdy. I made an equally hearty nutella icing to top the cupcakes. Delicious, but not a great match. They were delicious, but made a good coffee dunking cupcake. Kind of like a pound cake. Not one I'll be using a lot. I think it might taste great soaked with irish cream, or some other liquid. Maybe espresso. But, it's just not the type of cupcake an American gal is used to.

I'm still enjoying the book, and hope to share some recipes soon!

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