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Preview — Serious Pig by John Thorne
Serious Pig: An American Cook in Search of His Roots
by John Thorne (Goodreads Author)
In this collection of essays, John Thorne sets our to explore the origins of his identity as a cook, going "here" (the Maine coast, where he'd summered as a child and returned as an adult for a decade's sojourn), "there" (southern Louisiana, where he was captivated by Creole and Cajun cooking), and "everywhere" (where he provides a sympathetic reading of such national culi ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published November 15th 1996 by North Point Press
(first published 1996)
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Jul 05, 2007 Chadwick rated it 5 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommends it for: cooks
I read this book again and again. I use it in the kitchen more than almost any other text, not only for the recipes but for the well-thought out approach to craft that Thorne shares throughout all of these essays. His basic clam chowder is one of the finest things that I have ever made, and despite my growing up in Southwest Louisiana, this book's Yankee author taught me how to make the best jambalaya I have ever tasted.
John Thorne is one of my favorite food writers. He’s been doing it long before it was fashionable-or profitable! His first book, Simple Cooking, is out of print, but I credit it for awakening me to the delight of the kitchen. So, I am doing my part in trying to create a larger audience for him. He also publishes a newsletter/website, The Outlaw Cook, which is chock full of fun stuff. You will get insights, recipes, and food lore all wrapped up in delicious writing. Check him out!
Too much serious; not enough pig. This book longs to be taken seriously. It begs for it. The end result is a pretentious work that has some interesting recipes (although I haven't tried any to see what comes from them) sparsely spread between a collection of C- sociology papers. There are a few interesting insights, but they're too few and far between. The section on chili must be purposefully put at the very end, because most sensible readers would stop right there.
I read this because Alton Brown recommended it, and I can see why, but it was a lot of information and little of it seemed applicable to me and my cooking style. Part 1 describes a rustic, New England style, heavy on the crustaceans. Part 2 is entirely New Orleans and, while I love a good jambalaya, doesn't do much for me in the everyday. Part 3 is the "serious pig" and really is serious about pig. I'm glad I have it for reference if I ever decide to roast a whole one.