This looked interesting so I clicked on "find on Amazon" because my son's birthday is coming up; I sent him a copy. I've read half of Hen's Teeth andThis looked interesting so I clicked on "find on Amazon" because my son's birthday is coming up; I sent him a copy. I've read half of Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes by Stephen Jay Gould and loved it, so I figured this was a good bet....more
I won an advance copy of this book in a drawing, and read it with the determination of not letting that fact influence me in favor of the book. I needI won an advance copy of this book in a drawing, and read it with the determination of not letting that fact influence me in favor of the book. I needn't have worried, quality speaks for itself. I expected a version of a cookbook, and found instead a well-written memoir. The quest for the perfect mouth-watering experience is not easily or often well-written, except in this case.
What I liked most about this book is that it is a description of the journey as well as of the destination. There are disappointments and "eureka!" moments. We get to meet the people along the way, from the hostess at a restaurant who calls her male customers "honey" to the old woman who cures sausages in a lard bucket to the butcher who is particular about which part of the animal is hanging from a hook. We are given descriptions of the author's world travels that almost enable us to smell the landscape around us.
Oh, and the tastes! The English language does not often evoke flavors and textures in the mind, but this author knows the key. Sometimes he tricked my brain and toungue into reminiscences of my best meals, including aromas.
In addition, there is enough educational material, both on flavors and cooking, and on the science behind flavors and cooking, to fascinate even the most jaded foodie. Those who like that sort of thing will want to keep a highlighter handy. The author's personal preferences are clear, but he shares others' points of view without ridiculing them.
We learn about the business and economics of beef mass production and about the small farmer who breeds for flavor instead of for profit. The influence of the cultural preferences in different countries on what meat is available at the market are explored. All of this is written in evocative prose that is well-edited enough to keep one interested through descriptions of enzymes and the Maillard reaction and snakes in Italy and palmitic acid and the beef-breeding experiments of pre-war Nazi Germany and prehistoric cave paintings in France.
By the end, I was thrilled to find enough information to enable me to acquire and cook fantastic steaks of my own. Yippeee!!!
This book fascinated me, and I hope you will find it as enjoyable as I did. I look forward to Schatzker's next book....more
My husband is reading this and says it's fantastic.
I found it gossipy and entertaining. I especially liked his descriptions of memorable meals, and reMy husband is reading this and says it's fantastic.
I found it gossipy and entertaining. I especially liked his descriptions of memorable meals, and recognized one in the deli on Houston Street, an experience my family and I recognized and also found memorable....more