Detailed cookbook full of goodies and stunning photography
Still in Vancouver, still waiting for my visa application to go through. It has been really difficult to watch things happen while my own life is out of my control, and stalled. There are good and bad days, but each day so far has been marked by the sameness of not receiving the notification that my visa has been granted.
I’ve turned some of my attention to catching up on projects that I’ve set aside for too long, and also to getting into the library(!) because I have read through most of my childhood bookshelves. I decided to explore a section I had never been to before – the cooking section – and came home with two gems.
Inside Heston Blumenthal at Home
For those who are unfamiliar, Heston Blumenthal is the chef of renowned 3-Michelin-starred restaurant The Fat Duck, in Berkshire, west of London, England. His menus are very experimental and I can’t say they look like quite my sort of thing, but in order to be so experimental, one has to know the basics inside out. That’s what this cookbook is – a lot of really solid and basic cooking knowledge with recipes, theory, and wonderful photography. As I flipped through the book quickly in the library, the whole section dedicated to cooking stocks caught my eye, and I was sold. I’m perpetually on a hunt for good homemade veggie stock that I can fill my freezer with! The theory sections in the book are also proving to be interesting – I’m a geek when it comes to the chemistry of cooking and baking, and the book definitely satisfies my need to know why you should do certain things in your recipes, along with reliable recipes to try out.
The book is a hefty $69 in bookstores in Canada, but I have found it on Amazon for $37US, which is a bargain. I think I’ll be adding it to my cookbook repertoire soon! (Get Heston Blumenthal at Home here through Amazon – yes, I do get a little bit of the commission for telling you about this wonderful book.)
Don’t underestimate the power of words…
The other cookbook that has turned out to be incredibly interesting has been Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now. It is completely opposite of the Heston Blumenthal book in that there are no fancy photographs every few pages, and it is printed on modest recycled paper. It’s unusual for a cookbook without images to capture my attention so well, I have to admit, but Melissa is talking about something important here. There are 120 recipes arranged by month to help you figure out what to do with all the produce (or lack thereof) that’s in season. The recipes are easy and inventive, framed by little anecdotes about the seasons or that particular recipe, and my favourite: the “What Else?” sections at the end of the recipes to give you pointers on how to change things up, how to turn it into a quick meal, etc. It is through these anecdotes and the post scripts that Melissa’s enthusiasm about her cooking really shines, and I found myself caught up in her excitement and wishing I could lay my hands on some of the out-of-season veggies now to try the recipes. I’d like to think if I wrote a cookbook I’d be somewhat like her – bursting with information, tips, etc. to make sure my readers succeed with, and understand, and enjoy the dishes as much as I do!
The sun’s been peeking through the clouds once in a while today, and I’ve got to get another run in before my 10K race tomorrow. I say race loosely, because I am not really “racing” anyone, but nonetheless, it is an organized event that’s timed. I’ll check back in later to share what else has been going on in my stalled life!