Friday, July 27, 2007

Desert Island Cookbook

20TH ANNUAL SOCIAL SESSION, FR... Digital ID: 472419. New York Public Library
Ganda Suthivarakom
Web Editor, Food Writer, Singer (and food blogger)
Brooklyn, NY

The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller

Why do you like it? : It's like an Oliver Sacks glimpse into the mind of an extreme OCD case who happens to be OC about food. The pictures and stories are so fetish-y. You go from a gorgeous page of meticulously shaped vegetable cuts to a story about Thomas Keller bashing a rabbit's brains in. Between all of these Stepford photographs of white plates and fish packed on ice in the direction they swim in, you have stories about the chef's isolation from society at a remote restaurant with no address, another of a shepherd being ordered to lie in hay soaked with sheep excrement. When you read it, it's easy to believe the rumors about him, that he is a difficult master whose perfectionist demands border on abuse. He's the tortured genius, hiding away in the idyllic countryside, manipulating nature with religious fervor. How much is myth and how much is truth? I don't know, but it makes for a great story.

I love freaks and outsiders, perhaps because I am not a very extreme person. I'll never make anything in the book. It requires way more patience than I have. The closest I've ever come was using half the recipe for braised short ribs. Who knows if I'll ever make it to the French Laundry or Per Se, either. Doesn't matter to me -- the recipes stand alone for their plays on flavor, words, imagery, and the ridiculous amount of detail that go into them.

Favorite recipe?:
Oysters and Pearls
Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Malpeque Oysters and Osetra Caviar

1 comment:

angi said...

stumbled across your blog thru heidi's 101 cookbooks link. how cool that you have access to all these old cookbooks! on the french laundry cookbook front, do you know about this blog by a woman in maryland who's attempting to cook every recipe in the book ( )? i find it fascinating so i thought i'd pass it along.