Friday, September 17, 2010

Forgotten Skills of Cooking, by Darina Allen

Forgotten Skills of Cooking, by Darina Allen

I really enjoyed reading through this really big, thorough book.  I was encouraged to try some new recipes (esp with eggs and meat) and excited, even more, about the idea of finding and preserving some meat through sausages, etc.  I love the idea of having a large quantity of prepared meat on hand. Probably because it's the only thing that really seems to keep us from being grumpy, hungry and craving every junk that comes to our mind.  Beans are great, but they don't do it for us right now.

It's the kind of book I wish I could just tear out certain recipes. I really don't want such a large book on my shelf, when I know I won't use the vast majority of the info in it (although I'm glad I read it to acquaint myself with it all).  But there are some recipes that I really want on hand. But too many to type out.  

Darina Allen runs a 'Forgotten Skills Cooking School' in Ireland.  I'd LOVE to attend.  Of course, it will never happen, but it sounds like a lot of fun.  She wrote this book to offer much of what she teaches to the general public. For people like myself who will never make it to her class, but still desire the information she has to offer.

It was encouraging to hear how many time she happy recounted the growing number of 'young' people who are interested in 'back to the basic' food preparation. I'm glad I'm not the only one. 

She covers the following topics by chapter: foraging, fish, game, beef, dairy, eggs and poultry, pig, lamb, vegetables, herbs, and salad, preserving, desserts, cakes and cookies, bread, household tips, resources.  She did succumb to the popular idea of low-fat being better. But she also acknowledged that this phobia is relatively new, so she did not have many low-fat recipes. 

I especially enjoyed the chapters on fish, eggs and pig.  She even told how to keep a few chickens at home.  Her chapter on preserving was a great overview of the whole process.  I've read on the subject often, but don't have much to experiment with.  I keep hoping if I read the basics over and over, when I am gifted with a glut of something, I'll have a pretty good idea of what to do. 

Some recipes I want to try after reading the book are: cottage cheese, quiche, pickled eggs, souffles, bread sauce, sausages, salami, chorizo, 

She was big on using every part of the animal.  She was witty and anecdotal.  She really made you want to go give her a big hug!  All in all, I really enjoyed reading through her book and feel a little less peculiar for wanting to feed my family the 'old-fashioned' way.  I would highly recommend anyone wanting to learn to cook more traditionally to peruse her book.

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