Just as Alice Waters has earned a prominent place in American culture for championing organic foodstuffs and sparking a culinary revolution, The Art of Simple Food has earned its place in many a kitchen as an elegant workhorse. With straightforward recipes that can easily be riffed upon and adapted to the changing seasonal bounty, the book has immediate, fresh appeal. Now it’s joined by the even more ardently veggie-centric The Art of Simple Food II (Clarkson Potter, $35). This companion volume addresses cooking from the home garden, and whether you have long toiled in an edible garden or are just beginning to consider dabbling with small containers, you’ll find encouragement both practical and gastronomical here. Waters proffers seasoned advice about seed varieties and gardening methods, and tops them off with preparation suggestions for every stage of harvest. In her introduction, Waters heralds today’s need (environmental, ethical, cultural, culinary) for “gastronome gardeners” in the style of Thomas Jefferson; now you can be one of them!
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Published: Clarkson Potter - October 29th, 2013
Can a cookbook have terroir? I’ve never eaten at David Kinch’s new Manresa, but after spending a couple of long evenings with this exceptionally complex and textured cookbook, I feel as though I know it inside and out. Manresa (Ten Speed, $50) is beautifully photographed and the text is enhanced by evocative woodcut prints by artist Tom Killion, but what really separates it from other cookbooks is the quality of its writing. More than in any other cookbook I’ve ever read, here Kinch and his co-author Christine Muhlke examine the philosophy of the cookbook and of the genesis of a recipe itself. While you might not necessarily be able to re-create Kinch’s specific and complex recipes like “A Winter Tidal Pool” (which includes pickled kelp, abalone, mushroom gel, and oyster gel) in your home kitchen, his ruminative approach to food ensures that you will think about the elements of cooking, and the creation and balance of your own recipes, in a whole new way.
Folks clamor for the 240 loaves that Chad Robertson bakes every day at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. His two influential primers, Tartine and Tartine Bakery, gave home bakers insights into his naturally leavened breads with “old souls.” Last year Robertson took up a new challenge: baking in new ways with ancient strains of wheat and other whole grains. The result is Tartine Book No. 3: Modern Ancient Classic Whole (Chronicle, $40). Robertson focuses on einkorn, emmer, and spelt (“rich in flavor, higher in protein…a more delicate gluten, and easier to digest”). He also developed new “porridge” breads, sprouted grain breads, crispbreads, even Tartine desserts with nut milks and new sweeteners. Follow Robertson to a new, “ancient” realm of baking.