Chadwick's Reviews > Pot on the Fire: Further Exploits of a Renegade Cook

Pot on the Fire by John Thorne
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Sep 15, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: food
Recommended for: cooks
Read in September, 2007

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 with his home life with his wife and collaborator Matt Thorn, and their experiences in devising a way to prepare it that suits their tastes. Each essay is beautifully written and meticulously researched. Thorn has taught me more about cooking than any other writer, perhaps with the exception of Julia Child. He has his prejudices. notably a tendancy towards a minimalist sort of "authenticity," but this is something that makes him all the more useful as a teacher, in that he presents a very fundamental approach to a given dish, allowing each cook to find was of making it their own. My copy of Serious Pig has more food stains on it than any other, and i consider that to be the highest possible praise. Once I obtain my own copy of Pot on the Fire, I feel certain that it will share that fate.
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