Friday, June 22, 2012

Cooking from the Farmers' Market

Williams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers MarketWilliams-Sonoma Cooking from the Farmers Market by Jodi Liano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The photos in this new cookbook are luscious--food porn, to be honest. Gorgeous and mouth-watering enough to make me wish I liked cooking. Tempting enough to have me thinking about actually attempting a few of the simpler recipes.

Make no mistake, this is not a cookbook intended for the culinary novice. I had hopes it might be, especially when it opened with photos of fresh food and charts of fruit and vegetable seasons. It even ends with a fabulous index (by ingredient!) and recipes for some oft-repeated basics like pastry dough and cooked white rice. And every fruit or vegetable begins with a lesson on what to look for, how to store it, and a brief history of the item. Love that!

However, as simple as some of the recipes are, others call for things like "oyster sauce." (Is that a real thing, and do I even want to know?) Not every recipe has been photographed, nor have any key steps. There are cheeses I've never heard of, and instructions I don't fully understand. Blanching, for example. Despite the instructions at the end of the book on how to do that, I'm still not clear on what that word means outside the context of human emotions and facial expressions.

Rather, this is a book one has for inspiration. For planning a fancy dinner party menu to delight one's guests. Or to give to a true foodie--someone whose passion involves shopping for and cooking lovely, healthy food. Don't get me wrong: I adore this book and am thrilled to have received an eBook version through NetGalley. I have immensely enjoyed reading it and even learned a few things along the way. I plan to try out a handful of the recipes on Sundays when I can both go to my local farmers' market and have the free time to work on preparing the dishes. But this beautiful book is better suited to a chef. Maybe not a professional chef who should have already learned these things in culinary school, but an amateur hobbyist chef who enjoys entertaining family and friends.

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