I love cookbooks. Old ones, out of date ones, full of pictures, or no pictures at all. I love them. I love especially, cookbooks that tell a story like these:
Yes, they are spiral bound. Yes, they may only have 1 or 2 recipes that I love. But they introduce most recipes or at least the chapters with a story.
Here are two newer ones that are particularly chatty:
These two, pictured above, are not only dog-eared for all the recipes that are so unique, and have turned out awesome, they also create a story around the food that makes me just want to make it.
That is why I LOVE Anthony Bourdain’s newest cookbook. Surprisingly, he’s kind of chatty.
I received a free e-copy to review, but I will be getting a print version on my own for sure. He is a master story-teller besides being an awesome cook. While Bourdain can be abrasive in his personality, his food is masterful. He spent 28 years as a professional chef, and then wrote Kitchen Confidential (2000) a tell-all about the “back of the house” in the restaurants we all adored. His shows on CNN, both No Reservations and Parts Unknown, which take viewers on an awesome foodie-ride across food cultures around the world show us his personality. And as we have seen it change all these years on TV, his manner has become less “drugs and rock & roll” and more “dysfunctional family-guy.”
Enter this newest cookbook, Appetites. In it, Bourdain gives us story after story, often about his family life, with each dish he creates. From macaroni and cheese or meatloaf, to a masterful Thanksgiving plan from A-Z, and ranging to Korean specialties like Budae Jigae. He is doing it all, and although he knows chef-techniques, this is a home-cookbook. He is clear in the instruction, and minimal in the necessary ingredients lists. I love that. I love that he is no-nonsense and gives it to us straight. He says in the book about making Thanksgiving:
“Preparing a holiday meal can be a stressful affair. It’s not mystery why murder rates spike between November and late December…No need…the key to a relatively easy, smooth-running, violence-free Thanksgiving is to adopt the following three-day strategy…” (p.185)
And then he does. He lays out a three day prep-ahead plan for a stress-free holiday meal. I love it. Seriously, love this. There is so much packed in this book full of narrative, fun, clearly instructed meals along with more involved recipes: Examples of the “Poultry” chapter are Chicken Pot Pie, Korean Fried Chicken, Cast-Iron Grilled Chicken, Roasted Quail with Polenta, or Thanksgiving as I mentioned). All of it is easy to find with a great table of contents (not to be underrated) and index (always underrated, but super important in a cookbook!).
He is quirky and irreverant in his story telling, but also a superb chef and cookbook author. I may not always agree with his opinions on life, but in cooking, I am totally a fan.
Appetites: A Cookbook
By: Anthony Bourdain, Laurie Woolever
Synopsis: Recommend Highly
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 304 including illustrations, index
Sale Date: October 25, 2016