Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Lost Art of Real Cooking, by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafzinger

The Lost Art of Real Cooking, by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafzinger. 

This was a fabulous and easy read.  It's a small book, but packed with some great, simple kitchen wisdom.

They covered the following subjects:

1.   Ferments of Vetetables and Legumes
2.   Fresh Vegetables and Legumes
3.   Fruits and Nuts
4.   Grains and Pasta
5.   Bread
6.   Meat
7.   Fish
8.   Poultry
9.   Dairy Products and Cheese
10. Fremented Beverages
11. Pies, Pastry, and Other Confections

Most of the book was based on traditional ways of preparing foods.  And they were down on any electric machines being used in the kitchen.  All of their recipes used hand-powered tools, which was kind of refreshing.  You could figure out how to use your labor saving devices.

I was most interested in their vegetable ferments, tortillas, sprouted bread, sourdough bread and sausage making.  They make it all seem so simple and do-able for the average joe.  And they were keen on 'templates' more then recipes. Which I prefer.  Giving the general principles and then suggesting other options and encouraging imagination. 

I love this quote from the introduction: 'It's time to take back the kitchen.  It's time to unlock the pantry, to venture once again into our cellars and storehouses, and break free from the golden shackles of convenient, ready-made, industrial food.  It's time to cook supper.

Have no fear. Whether you were raised on boxed mac 'n' cheese or suckled by a vending machine, you can learn to fend for yourself in the kitchen.'

'The premise of this book is a simple one.  For the past half century, Americans have been convinced that cooking is drudgery, an odious task to be avoided at any cost, so that time might be freed up to do other more Important things.'  But they make the point that cooking is fun, cooking is what we DO for entertainment and survival.  And that sums up the book quite nicely.

So if you're looking to start switching your kitchen into a more traditional one, but find it overwhelming, this is a fantastic book to read.  It makes it seem doable and almost a guilty pleasure!  

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