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The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm [A Cookbook]

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A cookbook showcasing the luscious flavor of peaches in 50 sweet and savory dishes, drawing on the life stories and experiences of America's foremost peach farming family, the Masumotos of California's central valley.

Enjoy the luscious versatility of summer’s finest fruit with fifty sweet and savory dishes.
The Masumoto family’s amazing heirloom peaches—which are available for a few weeks each year at the best produce markets and top restaurants in the country—are widely considered the best peaches in the world. Their debut cookbook gathers the family’s favorite recipes, from classics like Hearty Peach Cobbler, Peach Chutney, and Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos to inspired combinations such as Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches, Caprese with Peaches, Spice-Rubbed Pork Chops and Grilled Peaches, and Stuffed French Toast. And the pristine flavor of a just-picked summer peach can be enjoyed year-round with the easy-to-follow instructions for drying, canning, freezing, or jamming the best of the harvest. 
With rich recipe and location photographs fresh from the orchard, this beautiful cookbook paints an intricate portrait of an organic farm that has been in the family for four generations. Accompanied by eloquent essays that evoke the soul of family farming and the nuances of a life filled with peaches,  The Perfect Peach  is for anyone who longs to savor the flavor of a pristinely ripe peach.

176 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Rick Bayless

20 books78 followers
Rick Bayless has written six cookbooks, including Mexican Everyday and Fiesta at Rick's. His product line of prepared foods is sold coast to coast. With his wife Deann he owns and operates Chicago’s casual Frontera Grill, named “Outstanding Restaurant” by the James Beard Foundation, and the four-star fine-dining Topolobampo. XOCO, a Leed-certified quick-serve restaurant, opened in 2009. He is the host of the public television series Mexico—One Plate at a Time.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
71 reviews26 followers
June 11, 2013
Let me be completely honest…I own a ridiculous amount of cookbooks. So many that I have a full book shelf in my kitchen and the rest are now taking up half of a double bookshelf in my living room. It seems I have a problem. Well, in today’s world with today’s technology with e-readers and apps like Pinterest, is there really any need for a traditional cookbook anymore? I will answer this for myself- Yes, there is. I’ve also been known to say I don’t buy books based on covers, however, cookbooks don’t fall under that train of thought since as humans, and we eat with our eyes. So, who sees a cover like the one here and doesn’t want to pick it up and thumb through it or run to the farmers market for some fresh peaches of your own? Yep, that was totally me and I did just that.

In this book it’s more of a family story and insight into generations of peach farming and the obstacles they face than a traditional cookbook. Of course the obstacles farmers face are hardly ever know to the rest of us who are blissfully unaware of as we’re picking through the produce section looking for that perfect peach. There are five chapters, each touching on different categories of recipes with interesting stories from the farm and how some of the dishes came to life. We get to know the entire family along with the devoted workers who tend the orchard. This is really more of an education and tutorial in peaches and what it's like to be a peach farmer than it is a traditional cookbook with recipes and no background.
Some recipes included are:
• Peach Margarita
• Cold Peach Soup
• Peach Bruschetta
• Peach and Nectarine Salsa
• Summer Thai Shrimp and Noodle Salad
• Shaking Beef with Peaches
• Mustard-Peach glazed Chicken
• Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos
• Peach Crostada
• Blackberry-Peach Bread Pudding
• Stuffed French Toast
• Peach Scones
• Walnut-Peach Strudel
• Peach Galette
• Peach Cobbler

What I found lacking in this book was photos. Considering cookbooks are supposed to sell a finished product and appeal to cooks new and old, having photos of each or even every other recipe has become somewhat expected. There are photos in the book of some dishes and of the orchard that are beautifully shot but I prefer more photos of the more complex recipes than what’s available. People need to see a dish to really want to know if they want to spend the time to make it.

The recipes are pretty nice and the few that I have tried were tasty. These are geared towards home cooks not chefs so there should not be too much apprehension from those wanting to dabble and play with a couple of recipes. The use of peaches here was nice and fresh and even though peaches are seasonal, the use of dried peaches in some recipes was a bit much at times. If you don’t dry your own peaches, like the Masumoto family, it may be difficult to find in smaller markets and I’m sorry, but a dried apricot will not replace a peach in my pantry.

I did enjoy the book as a whole and even though I would’ve liked more photos, it did satisfy my curiosity about peaches and their life before the supermarket. The only real struggle I had was with two recipes: Peach Crostada and Peach Galette (featured on the cover). Having a pastry degree is mostly a blessing until times like these. There is a huge difference between a Crostada and a Galette and unfortunately, a huge error was made with these recipes. Both recipes use a dough consisting of flour, sugar, butter, milk and eggs however, a traditional Galette is made using Puffed Pastry dough. With the Crostada recipe, the dough is placed in a tart pan (error #1) and peaches arranged within it. A traditional Crostada is made like an open-faced rustic pie pretty much identical to the photo used on the cover- which they have labeled as a galette. This is where my major bone of contention happens. If a tart pan is used, it is called a tart or tartlet. If the dough is folded over the fruit, it’s called a crostada. If puff pastry dough (bought or made) is used, it’s called a galette. These are the standard terms used in bake shops everywhere, or at least where people use the proper techniques and recipes.

Now, even though I had a minor dispute with the two recipes, I did still enjoy the book as a whole. Like I said before, it’s more of a book about peaches and farming them scattered with some family recipes. There are still a few more recipes I plan to try once more peaches start appearing in New England and I look forward to using them in some of the more unconventional ways featured in the book. I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys cookbooks specializing in certain ingredients or just your average day peach fanatic. I just personally wish the publisher would correct the error between the two recipes. I just don’t like promoting the misuse of culinary terms by home cooks. They trust cookbooks to teach them, let’s do it the right way please.

**I was provided a free copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Profile Image for Sandra Noel.
458 reviews
June 8, 2013
A cookbook showcasing the luscious flavor of peaches in 50 sweet and savory dishes, drawing on the life stories and experiences of America's foremost peach farming family, the Masumotos of California's central valley.

Everything you need to know about peaches, and then some!! Partly the story of the Masumoto Farm, and partly a cookbook, this book is a gem. I had no idea you could do so much with a peach! I will be honest and say that some of the recipes did not remotely appeal to me, but most looked and sounded amazing. I am itching for summer and its peach bounty to arrive to try out some of the luscious recipes.

I received a digital copy of this book from Ten Speed Press through NetGalley.com for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Darren.
1,193 reviews49 followers
June 14, 2013
Is there really a need for a book solely of peach-related recipes? Apparently so, and that might not be a bad thing either!

This is perhaps a showcase book, highlighting the flexibility of the humble peach, as viewed through the eyes of "America's foremost peach farming family". Mixed in with the recipes is the life story of the family and, of course, masses upon masses of information about the peach. Certainly after looking through this book you cannot be anything other than amazed about the potential diversity of the fruit!

The book's fifty recipes cover beverages as well as sweet, savoury and preservative dishes and, of course, the information just keeps on being given so you probably should take the time to read this book at least once sequentially to get the most out of it. This reviewer, perhaps influenced by the baking heat flooding his office and conspiring against the air conditioning system, particularly found the beverage section enticing and many of the recipes were earmarked for future use. Sadly the quality and selection of peaches (in Finland) is quite poor compared to other countries. Tinned peaches are no real solution either. This reviewer has also saved many recipes to "amend" and substitute other fruits in the future.

Each recipe is laid out well with some very engaging food photography to draw you in. The instructions are simple to follow and you do feel as if you are learning a lot as you are cooking. The "usual niggles" exist in this book too, namely the sole use of U.S. imperial unit measures and no at-a-glance estimated preparation and cooking times are given. This publisher is by no means the only "offender" here with this though.

A fairly comprehensive index rounds this book off along with a conversion table for measures (so why not put them directly in the recipes!). This book, at first, felt a bit of an outsider due to its price and ingredient-focussed nature, yet these initial concerns were soon removed and this became quite a quirky, interesting little thing to have. Unless you are a particular "peach addict" treat it as a bit of a luxury, one-off purchase to add to your reference library. You may soon find it is referred to quite frequently, particularly during the summer months. Just make sure you can find a source of good quality peaches!

The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm, written by David Mas Masumoto, Marcy Masumoto & Nikiko Masumoto and published by Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9781607743279, 168 pages. Typical price: USD22. YYYYY.

// This review appeared in YUM.fi and is reproduced here in full with permission of YUM.fi. YUM.fi celebrates the worldwide diversity of food and drink, as presented through the humble book. Whether you call it a cookery book, cook book, recipe book or something else (in the language of your choice) YUM will provide you with news and reviews of the latest books on the marketplace. //
122 reviews1 follower
October 28, 2020
I love the recipes and personal stories, but what may stick with me is how "time" is written about. I do sense "age" and "legacy" in what David writes about. In the recipes that Marcy contributes, you understand her cultural upbringing. With all the recipes, you learn about new ways to use up a lot of peaches that were recently gathered and don't require a lot of preparation time because there is still farm work to be done.
Profile Image for Therese Wiese.
465 reviews17 followers
July 14, 2021
Loved reading this cookbook! I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but the stories intertwined are wonderful. Each of the three - Mas, his wife Marcy (from Wisconsin) and their daughter Nikiko each provide some great observations and some really good basic knowledge of stone fruit. I also recomend Epitaph for a Peach, written by Mas, if you enjoy this cookbook.
1,403 reviews
February 17, 2022
I like peaches but I'm not a peach guy. The author is a peach guy and does a great job of both bringing out peach oriented recipes for all kinds of dishes (way beyond desserts) as well as anecdotes to life on a peach farm, the day to day as well as the life lived and insights. I found both parts delightful.
162 reviews
September 29, 2019
History, family heritage, farming, cooking all in one book focus on peaches
Profile Image for Laura.
2,876 reviews
January 12, 2020
makes me hungry for peach season - who knew peaches were so versetile - it made me see peaches differently.
Profile Image for Beth.
450 reviews4 followers
March 19, 2023
Bought and read this after enjoyed David's book Epitaph for a Peach.
Profile Image for Tyler.
156 reviews23 followers
May 3, 2013
I received a free ebook copy of this from NetGalley.

There are two critical components to this book, as the name implies; however, I found myself relatively uninterested in the stories portion and so will not be reviewing it here. There is some interesting information, of course, in the 'lessons' sections for instance, but I really came for the recipes.

Though I will spare a quick moment to admit I rolled my eyes at stories that talked of "Peach Virginity" and "Peach Porn."

I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. Perhaps I expected more, but many of the recipes were fairly basic and straightforward. It took some time for me to find a recipe that really caught my eye-- and even then they weren't usually that creative or inspiring, the latter being the main characteristic I like in my recipes.

The photography, while crisp and clear, and usually quite presentable, felt lacking. A lot of recipes were spared photos that I felt really could have used them or really could have livened up the books, while a lot of photos were given instead to the less crucial elements of the book-- a photo of peach pie, for instance, or more generic photos of peaches that looked almost like stock photography. Summer Thai Shrimp and Noodle Salad, to me, would make a much more effective photo insert than many of those chosen.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with the book, and there are good recipes in it, I just felt like it really wasn't anything special at all.
Profile Image for Dana.
117 reviews19 followers
July 24, 2016
This is a great cookbook. Every recipe uses really fresh ingredients, and the Masumotos’ love for their peaches exudes through every word. The authors are referred to on a first name basis throughout, and by the end, they feel almost like family to the reader. The articles interspersed in between delicious recipes are written in a conversational, confidential tone while providing thoughtful insight. At times, the essays did feel a bit too technical for my tastes (an in-depth exploration of the various peach varieties found on the Masumoto farm and their respective nuances, for example), but on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the workings of a family farm through this “literary cookbook,” and can’t wait to try out the delectable peach recipes!
Profile Image for Literati Literature Lovers.
1,913 reviews141 followers
June 11, 2013
Elizabeth's 3.5 Star Review has been posted on the blog here: http://literatiliteraturelovers.com/2...

This was not the best cookbook I've ever read but it was still somewhat enjoyable and I did learn a few things about peaches. Could have used more photos and recipes and there is a discrepancy between two recipes based on my own opinion and my background/training as a Pastry chef. Would recommend this book as a gift to peach fans or for anyone wanting an ingredient specific cookbook.
2 reviews
July 19, 2013
I heard about this book through one of the various newsletters I receive. After reading the entire book, I was excited about making some of the recipes and learned so much about peaches. I loved the stories shared by the authors and can relate to a couple of them while i was living next to a peach farm as a kid. I am not one to write reviews but I felt compelled to share these few words and I would recommend this book to anyone!
Profile Image for Beckey.
1,469 reviews113 followers
February 12, 2013
Tell me who don’t like peaches?
The book is more than just a cookbook of recipes; it also has some additional information as well.
The recipes in the book seem like they would be both enjoyable and delicious.
I am looking forward to trying the peach salsa and peach glazed as soon as fresh peaches come available in my area.
The book was an ARC for an honest review
Profile Image for Jocelin.
1,841 reviews44 followers
July 17, 2013
I was not aware of all the different types of peaches there were. The history of this peach farm was interesting as well. It is really special when a father can pass done his passion to his family. Great cookbook, it's a little limited because its only about peaches.
Profile Image for Tracey.
2,744 reviews
July 16, 2013
Cookbook/family history. Excellent tips for adapting recipes for sweeter/tarter, juicier/firmer peaches, as well as ways to freeze, dry, and otherwise salvage your surplus.
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18 reviews

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