Sunday reading, in print | 03.06.2012

For a couple of years I practically stopped buying cookbooks. I felt I owned quite a few and wanted to get better acquainted with those before acquiring new ones. But recently the temptation has been too great, so I’ve ended the moratorium.

I am hugely excited by April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig, which I’d awaited impatiently since my first meal at The Spotted Pig quite some years ago. The book lives up to the high expectations. It’s lovely, design and photography wise; it’s personal, from the introduction to the headnotes and of course the recipes themselves. For a mouth-watering preview, check out Lottie + Doof’s timely rendition of the rhubarb fool with cardamom cream, as well as the Amateur Gourmet’s enthusiastic post about curry, which Adam unabashedly calls The Best Curry of Your Life, though, in the book, April simply calls it ‘My Curry.’

Recently, I really enjoyed Joe Beef chefs Frédéric Morin and David McMillan’s interview in Lucky Peach magazine, all the deadpan talk about the grueling and sometimes outright unsavory realities of restaurant life. Had I known about the restaurant when we were in Montréal last summer I would have loved to go, though admittedly, as with another long-coveted Montréal dining experience Au Pied de Cochon, I would probably not have made a reservation in time anyway. For now I have the inspiring cookbook. And I am plotting to go back and be better prepared.

Have I mentioned how much I like Kurt Gutenbrunner’s restaurants? His beautiful recent cookbook includes the most beloved recipes — creamed spinach that is reason alone to go to Blaue Gans, the quark and paprika spread liptauer that should accompany every summer apéritif, gulash for the colder months… — but also unexpected stunners: ramp spaetzle! It is high time to acquire a spaetzle hobel.

And a happy surprise arrived right around my birthday a couple of months ago when my mother sent me Jennifer McLagan’s Odd Bits: How To Cook the Rest of the Animal. As the name clearly states, it’s all about cooking cheeks and tripe and brain and kidneys and such. Brilliant. Especially since a very real butcher recently opened very near us, one that receives entire carcasses and cuts them up right in front of you, tongue, head, trotters, and all. A truly accessible world of nose to tail eating lies ahead.

Happy Sunday!

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7 Responses to “Sunday reading, in print | 03.06.2012”

  1. Smith & Ratliff Says:

    This post really resonated with me, as we just made the carrot, avocado, and orange salad from April’s book, and just two weeks ago, we were in Montreal where we ate at both Au Pied de Cochon (twice, in fact!) and Joe Beef. Sounds like have similar tastes!

    • valerie Says:

      I’m glad you liked the post and thanks for your comment, which allowed me to discover your blog. Just from a quick browsing trip I must say I’m with you about Murray’s, and chicken liver mousse! It’s lovely. And how lucky of you to have been to Au Pied de Cochon and Joe Beef, you are clearly much better prepared. I will keep dreaming over the cookbooks, until our next trip…

  2. Michelle Says:

    I’ve really slowed down my cookbook buying, too (except for old ones I find at antique and junk stores). For a long while, there really weren’t many that interested me. Seems like a lot of good ones have come out recently though. And all of these are on my list!

    • valerie Says:

      Michelle, I know there are so many tempting cookbooks, it’s hard – though necessary – to make a choice. These were simply irresistible!

  3. baconbiscuit212 Says:

    I saw that on Lottie + Doof too! Have you made anything out of Bloomfield’s book yet? I was going to make those ramp butter toasts with fried kale eggs, but I never got around to getting quail eggs. I ended up using my ramps for something else!

    We might be surfing the same eating wavelength. I love KG too (his Hungarian goulash with spaetzle at Cafe Sabarsky? I dream about it). I didn’t get into Au Pied de Cochon either. I had this idea that if I showed up early enough and looked hungry, the hostess would take pity on me. No luck. It was closed for a private party!

    • valerie Says:

      I’ve read through large chunks of April Bloomfield’s book, but haven’t made anything from it yet. If I have time today I was hoping to reimagine her rhubarb fool recipe as ice cream. We will see. My experience at Au Pied de Cochon was extremely ill unprepared. At the last minute I decided to trudge through half of Montreal on foot with my three children hoping to grab a late lunch there, only to discover they are closed for lunch…

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