The Cook's Canon: 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know (Cookbooks)

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9780060083908: The Cook's Canon: 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know (Cookbooks)

The Cook's Canon is Raymond Sokolov's pick of the recipes essential for culinary literacy. He provides crystal-clear recipes for 101 classics, from Apple Pie to Zabaglione. Each iconic recipe is paired with a short essay -- historical, ethnographic, chemical, physical, and often very funny. Readers who know their way around the kitchen will rediscover what got them into food in the first place, and they can feast on witty morsels of the origins and significance of these beloved dishes. Neophytes will find a short and brilliantly informed survey course in The Cook's Canon, a liberal arts education for the palate.

The Cook's Canon celebrates great and fundamental food ideas from all the world's great and fundamental cuisines: French, of course, and Chinese, but also Italian, Moroccan, Thai, Indian, English, and German. While no short-list of favorites could take in the thousands of fabulous things human beings have learned to cook since the first genius chef boiled water over fire, Sokolov's canon is an indispensable, satisfying, and inspiring introduction (or re-introduction) to the world's culinary classics.

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Review:

The Cook's Canon: 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know is Rayomond Sokolov's tenth book. Add to that his years of magazine and newspaper columns devoted to digging down to the roots of a dish or food tradition and you have a man who knows a thing or two. Drawing on his own taste and ideas--and his concern that a current generation of talented food enthusiasts, amateur and professional alike, don't seem to know much at all about the evolution of the food we eat and take for granted--Sokolov has come up with 101 recipes he thinks everyone should know and understand. He's looking to "train the palates of a generation whose connection with traditional food has been short-circuited." The recipes he has chosen, then, are classics accompanied by "historical and cultural and sometimes scientific information that tells in some depth where they came from, what they meant to the people who first ate them before they spread to other societies, and why they are importa! nt to us now."

Since Sokolov is writing for an English-speaking readership, he has chosen the recipes that reflect that prejudice, Euro- and Gallocentric recipes for the most part, with a tip of the hat to China, India, and Morocco. For those inclined to argue with the choices, Sokolov says so much the better, "because that will mean that you have thought passionately about the subject." He begins with Apple Pie and ends with Zabiglione. In between, in alphabetical order, you'll find the likes of Chicken Adobo, Doughnuts, Jambon Persillé, Osso Buco alla Milanese, Pork Vindaloo, Shepherd's Pie, Suckling Pig, Terrine of Foie Gras, and Vinaigrette. His notes accompanying each recipe are entertaining and informative. --Schuyler Ingle

About the Author:

Raymond Sokolov, former restaurant critic and food editor of the New York Times, served as the editor of the Wall Street Journal's Leisure and Arts page for twenty years and continues to write about food for national publications. Sokolov has written several cookbooks, including The Cook's Canon, The Saucier's Apprentice, Great Recipes from the "New York Times," and With the Grain, as well as Wayward Reporter, a biography of A.J. Liebling. He also wrote a column on America's foodways for Natural History, excerpts from which are collected in Fading Feast. Sokolov lives in New York City.

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