The Weston A. Price Way

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Review: "The Lost Art of Real Cooking -Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time"

Find this fantastic little
cookbook in the carousel above!
"This wins my vote as the funniest, most eclectic, and most exotic collection of recipes to have been published in a century or more. A lot of these arts are indeed lost and deserve to be brought back." ~Nancy Harmon Jenkins, food writer and author of The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook.

Co-Written by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger of  the "Paprika" blog, (see among links at bottom of page.), this small book is full of fun and enlightening recipes!

It is here that I learned to catch wild yeast for my sourdough and make the most simple tomato sauce that turns out to taste like a rich meat sauce. I learned how super hot ovens + steam = deep brown, crispy crusts with tender insides.

Here, one can learn how to smoke meats, cure meats and prepare organ meats...and for the adventurous... those "other" meat parts most of us normally shy away from. Learn to make your own pastrami and beef jerky. Need more fish in your diet? You're sure to find a traditionally prepared dish here, such as codfish fritters and nutrient-dense fish stock.

Not only for the pioneer spirit, some recipes come to us from France, such as brandade de morue, a dip that is actually a sort of egg-less, fluffy mayo to be served with a crusty bread.

Learn to make wonderful dairy products including cheeses and creme' fraiche. There are condiments, pies, strudels and doughnuts...How to prepare digestive aids like tasty sauerkraut and other fermented veggies. Even learn about how to care for your cast iron cookware, which many of us pounce on without understanding the need for pre-care and upkeep.

And for those who prefer something stronger than kombucha, water kefir and beet kvass, there is even a section for you. There, learn to make your own wines and beers, not just for drinking, but for adding to your cooking. One carries the name of  "Psychic Love Wine" - a name reminiscent of the days of "The Dating Game", "Flower Power", maxi skirts, floppy hats, VW vans and "Peace, Baby! Peace!" (Any other baby- boomers out there chuckling?)

I think the most charming thing about this cookbook, aside from the personalities portrayed by its writers, and it's vast array of interesting, healthful recipes, is the manner in which the recipes are presented...a format I have adopted because I am so delighted with it.

Most recipes today are written in the "Boston Cooking School" manner, with ingredients first and instructions next. Most of us are used to it and just accept it as is. But have you ever felt a bit frustrated at the going back-and-forth from the next ingredient to finding your place in the instructions? Before the Boston Cooking School format, recipes were written out in almost story-like fashion. This is the way it's done in The Lost Art of Real Cooking. (I have made one change to this as I try to remember to highlight ingredients and steps as I go so they are easier for the reader to distinguish from the parts that aren't quite as important to the recipe.)

One of the reasons for writing a recipe this way is that in traditional cooking, some dishes span days of time due to fermentation or other methods of cooking. Also, we all know that we should read the entire recipe before embarking upon the act of creating the dish, but often, the less experienced, (or more impatient of us), do not. A recipe written in the older, traditional format, such as those in  The Lost Art of Real Cooking, encourages that...and it is, quite frankly, more entertaining and enjoyable to read.

I realized that this is a matter of opinion, but hey, it's a book review and that's how I view it. I give this book a total thumbs up. You don't even have to cook anything in order to enjoy it.

If you want to see more about The Lost Art of Real Cooking, check out the book carousel at the top of the page...It's in there! (And for the record, I am only allowed to put 10 books in the carousel at a time. I do not choose books according to how well they sell or do not sell. I choose them according to what I have read and found entertaining or enlightening...or what I want to read as soon as possible!)

~Happy Reading...AND traditional cooking!

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