3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is clearly Jeffrey Weiss' first book, because he puts his heart and soul into it.
Not just a collection of recipes, this is an introduction to the pigs that are native to different regions of Spain, to the way they are butchered, to the delicious things that are made from them, and to the people he met, worked with, ate with, and hung out with there, every step along the way. With his words and the photographs, he tries to capture the history, the different cultures – all that goes into the "soul" of a cuisine.
Professional and serious meatheads will appreciate that the recipes give the quantities as weights and not dry measures and that all his recipes are based on what he calls the "charcutier's percentage." In other words, he models his approach on what professional bakers do, where everything that goes into a dough is given as a percentage of the total amount of flour, which is always 100%. In his recipes, the basic unit is 1kg of meat (2.2 lbs), and this system makes it easy to scale the recipe up or down from there. This approach may be unfamiliar to most home cooks, but if they think about it and try it, they will quickly find it liberating. You no longer need an exact quantity of meat for the recipe to work. Start with what you have or want to make, and calculate all the other ingredients based on the percentage.
The book is not perfect, as a few things got missed. He has some unusual recipes for sausages that contain fair amounts of potato and pumpkin (pp. 317-21) that I really want to try, but, after telling you how to cook the potato and pumpkin, he neglects to tell you when or how to mix it in. But in a book this good, a few oversights can easily be forgiven.
Finally, this a book that does not hide the author's personality; it features it. And, like many a chef de cuisine, he comes off as brash and opinionated. Perhaps he's compensating for his "past life in spandex and sequins" as an elite figure skater (check out video clips on youtube; he's great!), but whatever the reason, if you're not into the whole, hard-workin, hard-livin, macho butcher persona, it may put you off. Personally, I don't mind. It's a book about HIS immersion into the world of Spanish charcuteria and what he brought back from it, and if he tried to efface his personality, the book would be poorer for it.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
REAL is the word to summarize this 'how to' book and its Spanish focus on charcuterie--the curing, smoking and preserving of meats, poultry, fish and vegetables in ways they are served in places like tapas bars or can be purchased in specialty shops. Jeffrey Weiss graduated from the well-regarded Hotel and Restaurant School at Cornell University--say, as good as the Culinary Institute of America, but with a broader focus. Down the road, he worked for José' Andres--a great Spanish-American chef whose cookbooks I love. Real is also what the reader gets with Mr. Weiss' 'writing voice': he has a vulgar turn of mind that sometimes finds its way onto the page, as already noted by other reviewers. He also lets a few too many Spanish words dance upon the page without providing explanations in English for Anglophone readers. 'Adobo', 'Escabeche' and 'Embutidos' come quickly to mind as examples. Of course, this is a book that means to celebrate Spanish culture and America has plenty of residents who speak plenty of Spanish.
The genesis of the book is the year Jeffrey Weiss spent as an ICEX fellow studying foodways in Spain and that is where the authenticity comes in. The author begins with the famous Iberico breed of pig, explaining how it is raised and slaughtered, in this case, in a convivial group setting at a farmhouse. He takes the reader step by step through breaking down the carcass into some basic cuts and covers grinding, seasoning, stuffing into casings, linking, fermenting, smoking, drying and so on. Chapter four provides a detailed explanation of brines and brining; cures and curing. There is a brining table that contains information on brining whole and selected cuts of beef,chicken, turkey and, of course, pork. Other chapters present categories of dishes: marinated items under the headlines of 'Adobos', Escabeche, and so on. 'So on' includes: Conserves and Confits, Pates and Terrines, Garnishes and Salsas and other accompaniments (simple desserts) and appropriate beverages. Recipes are provided for curing a traditional ham, for preserving lard and bacon, for salting anchovies, for making typical tapas from salt codfish, partridge, pork products, vegetables like mushrooms and mixed vegetables--selected items the author likes and offers at his restaurant that are also typical of Spain. Pictures of products and platings go with each recipe so we can see how they come out. Making the recipes, in a good many cases, also requires the reader to have read, understood and remembered the foundational chapters on tools, materials and techniques. This level of commitment may be beyond the needs of 'coffee table book' readers and it will not be necessary for readers who are along primarily to enjoy the food tourism!
The photography in this book is excellent. It was provided by Nathan Rawlinson and there are fine illustrations by Sergio Mora. These skilled craftsmen deserve to be recognized on the cover and they are! I only wish that the editor had insisted on suitable captions for each picture. This is a glaring omission.
Still, I love this book because I make things like these and this book's recipes tell me how to make more things exactly like these. Were I to continue to travel in Spain (as I have) I would also want to read this book to help me to recognize items for a 'pick up picnic' or to order from a fine menu.
Text, pictures, information: this book is a 'must have' for home cooks who want to make a cross-section of 'charcuterie' in the Spanish manner. It is not a classic of cookbook writing style, nor is it intended to be a comprehensive treatise on the subject.