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Heart of the Artichoke: and Other Kitchen Journeys

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  627 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Recipes from a very small kitchen by a man with a very large talent.

Nobody better embodies the present-day mantra "Eat real food in season" than David Tanis, one of the most original voices in American cooking. For more than a quarter-century, Tanis has been the chef at the groundbreaking Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California, where the menu consists solely of a single pe
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Artisan (first published October 18th 2010)
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First Second Books
This cookbook is so delightful, you guys!

I suspect that David Tanis has a lot more time than I do to stay at home and cook things slowly, but this book has a lot of things in it that are easy, delicious ways to re-think classic dishes without a huge amount of effort.

(Also, it has traveling food advice that I am never going to manage to follow because I cannot bring an extra carry-on of food with me whilst traveling. But I admire it!)
Sarah Key
Apr 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
What a good book! It's basically half memoir and half recipe, so it made for a very interesting read. I loved how Tanis compared other countries' cuisine to America's. It gave the reader a real perspective on other cultures and made you feel as if you were traveling the world just by staying in your own kitchen.

This probably isn't the best cookbook for beginners in the kitchen. Tanis is not going to tell you how long to boil that carrot and he certainly isn't going to tell you exactly how much o
Dec 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I don't fully know what to make of this cookbook. I heard that a famous chef recently bagged on author David Tanis with the comment, "A platter of figs is NOT a recipe!" That's kind of how I feel about this cookbook as well, but that's not to say I disliked it.

I mean, the guy is a good writer, and his ideas about food are simple and very noble sounding (nothing but the highest quality ingredients, in season). This book starts with about 14 Kitchen Traditions he enjoys (such as making Spanish Ch
penny shima glanz
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cooking
Sometimes all I want in a cookbook is the recipes and I don't care if there is anything else. That doesn't happen very often.

Thankfully Tanis has written a book that is much more. It is a wonderful story of his relationship with food and cooking and happens to include seasonal recipes and menu ideas that are inspiring and provide a basis for further creativity.

Seriously, how could I not enjoy the writings of a man with a deep love of those zippered plastic bags that I find useful for everything
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
a friend sent this book to me. what a great gift. photos are beautiful. recipes and writing are interesting too. i'm a fan of David Tanis so that helps too. the book is worth it for the photos alone however the perspective that good food is for everyone and not just hipster foodies is how I've always felt about food and cooking. Remember when we didn't need to put the word local or natural (whatever that means now) in front of food packaging because, well, it just was? that's not to say that the ...more
Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mir by: Erin
Shelves: culinary
Another Christmas present, from my friend Erin.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I feared this might be another of the highbrow coffee table "cookbooks" put out by so many foodies but was pleasantly surprised. Quite a few bookmarks! ...more
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the book I decided on as my prize from a challenge. It is as much fun to read as cook from. There are many things I like about this cookbook but only one thing I don't like. The thing I don't like is that not all recipes give serving sizes.

The book starts out with a "Little Disclaimer" telling you the book isn't about artichokes even though it does have a few artichoke recipes. Then it goes on to tell you how he came up with the name for the book.

Next comes "A Cuisine in M
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I think this is the first cookbook I have read straight through cover-to-cover as one would a non-cookbook. In part this is because of Tanis's chatty, personable narration and the way the book is set up by seasons and menus. There is a wholeness to the section that you do not get when a cookbook is divided by types of food. The menus he has created seem absolutely sybaritic, despite the fact that they often contain simple ingredients. Perhaps this is because of the spices he chooses, the emphasi ...more
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
I won't give this a rating because I expected more anecdotes and less recipes but that's not the book's fault. I copied out a couple of the recipes but they're generally not my cup of tea. Again, not the fault of the recipes, just a mismatch between what I like to eat and how he likes to cook. They could be perfectly good recipes.

Some interesting stuff all the same. When he remakes an old favorite, like "Shrimp Cocktail In a Glass", I bet his version is a lot better tasting than anything I've ev
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read, and how often is a cookbook something you read cover to cover? I enjoyed the opening - devoted to David Tanis' private food rituals. The heart of the book was a four-part tribute to the simple pleasures offered up by the seasons. The finish was a set of simple menus, though almost every section of the book was structured as, at least, a three course menu.

I adapted the sweet lamb tagine stew recipe for a pork shoulder and it was marvelous. Because his recipes were described in s
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it
If one is a meat-eater, one should disregard the rating I have given this beautifully constructed cookbook. I don't eat meat, and as a consequence would not buy this cookbook--there are just too many critter recipes among its pages. I grew up on a farm--I know where my food comes from. My path toward vegetarian eating began relatively early. First it was lamb, because I as a child I helped my grandmother bottle feed lambs rejected by their mothers. Then it was pig, because they're just so damned ...more
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wishlist, food
From a 6-month-on chef at Chez Panisse, this is a cookbook with soul. It reads like an intimate diary full of musings and practical applications. I've always wanted to try making Pho, and have finally found a recipe that coaxes out that desire in just the right way. The thematic menus are just as inviting, and I would likely first try "The Ripeness of Red Chiles", including a Platter of Jicama, Radishes, Avocados and Oranges; Slow-Cooked Carne Adovada with Hominy; and Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream ...more
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I didn't realize when I picked this up that it was the same author as A Platter of Figs. I'm glad I didn't, because while PoF was a nice read, I didn't find it a particularly useful cookbook. Mine and Tanis's palettes hadn't aligned--until now.

Heart of the Articoke is significantly more my speed. The book has three primary sections: Kitchen Rituals (found it somewhat useless), recipes by season (still a brilliant way to order a book, imo) and large-group recipes (significantly less useless than
Sue Gregoire
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this one! I dont care for cookbooks that are dry and read like textbooks. Conversely, I also don't care for those where I find the author's voice intrusive. This one gets the balance just right. David Tanis conveys his genuine enthusiasm for food without being preachy or coming off like a food snob. One or two of the recipes seemed a little much for the average home cook, but there were more that I plan to try. And the book itself is gorgeous - its printed on heavy, high quality paper an ...more
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Some day. Some day I'm going to own these David Tanis cookbooks and I will puruse through them and commit to a whole menu of his once a month. I love how he has a section of Spring Menus and talks about the importance of arugula and how to use it (pesto! what a great idea!) and uses ingredients that would be in season at that time. I wish I had the time to commit to this book, but like his last one, I'll chose one or two recipes, I'm sure, be absolutely nuts over the recipe and then tell myself ...more
Liana Brooks
I put this on my wish list as soon as I heard about it, and bought it the week it came out. I loved PLATTER OF FIGS and, if possible, HEART OF THE ARTICHOKE exceeded my expectations.

The book is divided into three main sections: meals for one or two people, meals for a family-size group (the same style as PLATTER - divided by season ect), and meals for a gathering. I've cooked my way through most of the book, and read all the accompanying stories a dozen times. Once again, Tanis charms and entert
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Of all the famous chefs associated with the glorious Chez Panisse, I think David Tanis has to be my favorite. I love this cookbook--love the way the recipes are divided into season (as it should be) and is delightfully full of stories about Tanis' lifelong relationship with food. And so many pictures..! Love this one. His Tomato salad with olives and coriander is so amazing that you can take out the garlic and onion and it is still bursting with flavor! I really recommend this cookbook. It is on ...more
Erin Price
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked this up off the recently-returned shelf at the library because I love artichokes, not to mention food memoirs. When I saw that the author is connected to Chez Panisse, well, I was sold. A mixture of stories and recipes, interspersed with delectable-looking photographs of the menus, this is worth a skim for any foodie of the Michael Pollan persuasion. My only complaint is that it's now overdue, so I won't have time to copy out all the recipes I wanted to try. ...more
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
An excellent book with delightful tales of the author's experiences with food, both on his own and sharing with others. Somehow, his recounts (both vivid and personal) seem to be able to transport me to the various countries mentioned and I found myself savouring the dishes. What's more, the recipes are too irresistible to be ignored; I can't wait to try them! ...more
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
David Tanis, part time chef at Chez Panisse, prefers to cook at home. His book is beautifully written and photographed and is brimming with recipes that are not overly complicated using seasonal ingredients, and great for the home cook. Kudos for creating recipes for small, medium and large meals. Not everyone cooks for an army every night. This one will get lots of use.
Dec 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: food-drink
A beautifully published book, and I certainly agree with his food philosophies of seasonal eating and regional growing, but...the recipes made me wonder how they will turn out. They seem a "tad" general in construction, so that it could be just as he says, and the dish is delicious, could need a lot of tweaking. Time will tell as I test them. ...more
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was so lovely - a lot like Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. It's a very romantic view of food, with solid recipes. There are a few pretentious parts (the section on supermarket foods was especially annoying), but overall it was great. ...more
Lindsay Allen
Jan 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Not too many helpful recipes, but I like his food philosophy. Recipes are a bit lofty for me (obscure foods). My favorite quote is regarding jam: "I am not making it for posterity. I am making it for breakfast." ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite mix of delicious stories, mouth-watering photography, outstanding design and finely selected and ordered recipes, this is without contest the signal best cookbook I've had the pleasure to read. ...more
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Soulful and simple recipes with a focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. I particularly appreciated the emphasis on ritual when cooking for one and the lovely stories included with each recipe/menu.
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This book was lovely, didactic but in a totally amusing way, and had a bunch of recipes I want to try. I can't really review it yet (and the four stars are tentative/premature) because I haven't tried any of them yet, but I'm totally excited to do so! And it was a fun read/flip-through. ...more
Beth Lequeuvre
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is food memoir just as much as it is cookbook. Enjoyable read. I love how it is divided into 3 parts: 1st where you are pretty much just cooking for yourself, 2nd cooking for 4-6 and 3rd cooking for 15-20. I'd consider purchasing this one. ...more
Jan 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Quick skimming read for some good stories + tips, with a grain of salt -- although didn't deep dive into any recipe ideas. ...more
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Interesting food writing and solid recipes. I can't wait to read more of his work. ...more
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David Tanis has worked as a professional chef for over three decades, and is the author of several acclaimed cookbooks, including A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, which was chosen as one of the 50 best cookbooks ever by the Guardian/Observer (U.K.).

He spent many years as chef with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California; he ran the kitchen of the highly praised Café Esc

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“Give two cooks the same ingredients and the same recipe; it is fascinating to observe how, like handwriting, their results differ. After you cook a dish repeatedly, you begin to understand it. Then you can reinvent it a bit and make it yours. A written recipe can be useful, but sometimes the notes scribbled in the margin are the key to a superlative rendition. Each new version may inspire improvisation based on fresh understanding. It doesn't have to be as dramatic as all that, but such exciting minor epiphanies keep cooking lively.” 14 likes
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