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Pot on the Fire: Further Confessions of a Renegade Cook

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  104 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Pot on the Fire is the latest collection from "the most enticingly serendipitous voice on the culinary front since Elizabeth David and M.F.K. Fisher" (Connoisseur). As the title suggests, it celebrates-and, in classic Thorne style, ponders, probes, and scrutinizes-a lifelong engagement with the elements of cooking, and elemental cooking from cioppino to kedgeree. John Thor ...more
ebook, 528 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by North Point Press (first published 2000)
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Sep 15, 2007 Chadwick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cooks
Shelves: food
John Thorn's writing reminds me of Pauline Oliveros' concept of Deep Listening: when Thorn starts to cook something, he moves in with it, inhabits it, allows it to tell him how to prepare it. The essays in this collection (from his Outlaw Cook newsletter) mostly each focus on one dish, or even one ingredient. Each methodically explores the origins and history of that dish, and its place in its cuisine. He then goes through his personal experiences with cooking whichever subject, how it fits in w ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a pleasure to read a book written by someone who cares so much about a good meal. This is a simple, thorough approach to cooking. The book has recipes but that isn't the focus. It is a narrative about how a good recipe or meal comes about within the full context of the cook of that meal, in ths case, Thorne. I found his discussion of caponata especially fruitful. I have always disliked that dish, whether cooked myself or eaten elsewhere. Finding it to be greasy, often slimy and chewy. After ...more
Seems better balanced than the other book I have read of his, Outlaw Cook. I suspect some of the essays seem to share a common base. I liked parts of Outlaw Cook, but a few essays seemed overly dramatic and struck me as Thorne was trying too hard to examine himself. This book has a more more warm and stable feeling. [return][return]His descriptions of food are superb, as are his hints and citations which make me want to hunt down more books about food. (I'd empathize books on food, not just cook ...more
Amanda Vogelbaum
Oct 24, 2007 Amanda Vogelbaum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Food enthusiasts
Co-authored by an open-minded husband and wife team. Think of them as food detectives or culinary anthropologists whose well-written food memoir (not their only one) will surely transport you though space and time to experience some truly unique food adventures. Reap the benefits of their careful research and partake in the adventure by attempting the recipes that conclude each chapter. For lovers of both food and history. Bon appetit!
Apr 13, 2012 Zach rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Thorne seems to be the type of ADD-obsessive with whom I can identify. Each chapter is about a dish, ingredient, or technique, normally stumbled upon by accident. The history of each food is well-written and meandering, and the recipes are all accessible.

I'm glad I read it. I've made a couple recipes from the book, and I think I appreciate them a little more having read some of the backstory behind the food.
Torrey Lewis
Parts of this book I found fascinating, like the culinary history of Ireland, and the progression of cooking rice through the ages. Other parts got bogged down in needless subtle variations of recipes and praise of cookbooks through the ages. Overall an interesting read, and it is a book that I will probably use as a reference in the future, but not one that I will have the desire to re-read in its entirety.
May 06, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
His obsession with perfecting cetain dishes is impressive, and although I would not have the focus make rice over and over and over again, it's nice to have someone do it for me and then write about it. I think I will also read Serious Pig and check out his newsletter.
Dec 22, 2013 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, essays, cookbook
Great collection of essays for the food lover.
Jun 25, 2007 nina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
made me sleepy. not in a bad way.
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