Cooking and eating

For some people, to live is to eat. I am one of those people. I live a "food centered life". So, I have written down my Cookbook reviews and a few menus from past meals. And, I have written down a few creations . First, a quote from Roger Vergé:

"To cook well, one need only be a gourmand, a hungry appreciator of flavors. Rather, I should probably say, one must be a gourmand to be a good cook. A recipe is like written music. One can follow it very exactly and yet achieve an unintelligent, mechanical, or mediocre result... The recipe is only music on the page it is you who will make it sing. To cook is to create, to marry ingredients as poets marry words, to play chords with flavors, to invent new and subtle harmonies." Roger Vergé, translated from "Ma Cuisine du Soleil" (c) 1978.

Pictures of feasts


This was cooked at the end of January, 1999 while fluffy snow was falling outside.

The wine was a California sparkler, not too bad.

This is a meal I cooked in early June of 1999 (before it really got hot):

Wines were a Babcock Sauvignon Blanc and Sean Thackery's Pleaides VI

Here's a meal from the Union Square Cookbook (I recommend it without hesitation and enthusiastically). Here is the menu:

Wines were a Ridge Zin meritage and a Belvedere dessert wine.

For Thanksgiving 1995, we had:

Wines were: Pol Roger (N.V.) champagne, Foxen 1992 Chardonnary and Ridge Zinfadel.

New Year's, 1997 (served 28 December) All dishes from Charlie Palmer (Aureole)

The Ides of March, 1998 All recipes from "Cuisine of Venice and surrounding Northern regions"

Cookbook reviews

Cookbooks can be great fun if the writer has a sense of humor and an unerring sense of what is required and what is not. Be that as it may, the overall quality of cookbooks varies from dreadful to superb. Here are some review of cookbooks at home:

Julia Child - The Art of French Cooking
This is truly a classic and what's more, it's surprisingly easy to cook out of. Of course, Julia's droll humor is found throughout and it comes complete with wine recommendations. I find the simple recipes to be delightful.
Jean George VonGerichten
In spite of the fact that Jo-Jo is one of my favorite chefs alive, his cookbook leaves much to be desired. The recipes can yield fabulous results and yet others are fundamentally lacking in needed instructions. If you watch him live, you will see how much he leaves out.
Michael Romano - The Union Square Cookbook
What a pleasure it is to cook from this tome. Every dish has been tested and what's more, easily yields fine results. So easy to please and yet so delicious. I recommend this book without hesitation as a way to taste what's in New York's most popular restuarant. This book is now being remaindered, so don't pay full price.
Michael Romano - The Union Square Cookbook #2
It's a hard act to follow volume one (above). And so, I regret to say the recipes here just aren't quite up to the usual Union Square quality. That doesn't say they're not good, but it's not as failsafe as the first edition.
Marcella Hazan - Classic Italian Cooking
Marcella Hazan is our doyen of Italian cooking; mind you, she is from Venezia, so her emphasis is not on red sauces but on white and other sauces. Her recipes are concise, easy to follow and produce great results. All of her cookbooks are highly recommended.
Nick Maglieri - How to Bake
An amazing book - so far every recipe just works. Easy, simple to follow and it works. He has a new chocolate book too. I'm not sure the title is accurate it's not so much how to as "do this".
The published Morrow once had a series entitles "The 3 Star Crefs of France"; these were translations from the French series published by Lafont. I own all but one. They are quirky books lacking in structure but they have many ideas. Here is a list of the titles:
The Nouvelle Cuisine of Jean and Pierre Troisgros
Surprisingly classical.
The Cuisine of Freddy Giradet
I like Giradet's cooking; he has a certain adventure that comes through. FYI: he is retired.
Michel Guèrard's Cuisine Gourmande
It's hard to believe that Gue'rard did a gourmand cookbook. But he did.
Michel Guèrard's Cuisine Minceur
I have tried a number of recipes in this book and they were terrible. Of course, maybe it's just Cuisine Minceaur. Best recipe I found was for a salad dressing.
The Three-star Recipes of Alain Senderens
Senderens is also an interesting cook with varying takes on classic recipes.
Roger Vergé's Cuisine of the South of France
Vergé had a 3* (was demoted, gasp) and this reflects him at his peak. There is a much more glossy book ... but this isn't it.

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