Friday, July 27, 2007
Desert Island Cookbook
Web Editor, Food Writer, Singer (and food blogger)
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.
Oysters and Pearls
Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Malpeque Oysters and Osetra Caviar