Wednesday, November 11, 2009

disappointed from the vale

i was very excited this week and it was the fault of really. i have spent several pounds buying books and cds from the US. As such then send me emails to let me know of similar books and cds that i might be interested in. The particular book that caught my eye was entitled, 'great chefs cook vegan', and was a compendium of 3 and 4 course menus that some of the best chefs in the US had put together. names that you may have heard are Thomas keller (we've done one of his), jean-georges vongerichten and loads of others. because i like to buy in bundles, and that is what amazon are after anyway, i looked through some of the titles in the category, 'people who bought this book also bought'. in the end i had 7 vegan cookbooks on the way. they arrived, as ever, in drips and drabs. two titles first then five. when the five arrived i made myself read the other four before starting the main book. the others were very good, vegan guides to mexico, india and somewhere else offering up one or two interesting dishes apiece. the italian vegan was very good as was a second book on asian cooking. finally i had had enough of the starters and wanted to tuck in to the main course. What set the book apart was the photography. a few of the other books had no photographs at all, merely recipes. this had wall-to-wall photography of each dish, in-depth recipes, chef profiles, the lot. except, well except for the thing that you need most, empathy. the recipes read like military operations and the compiling, done by a vegan named linda long, would have been all the better had each of the chefs been told what the others were doing. i counted 4 (or 5, i never really counted) starter dishes of beetroot with various sauces. the whole book lacked what is most important in any cooking but more so in vegan cookery, imagination. i had hoped that this would unlock the secrets to a classical approach to vegan cookery but it appears that it does not exist. certainly if these chefs can't find it, then it must be bloody hard to find.

the upshot is i'll be returning to the best of them all, in my opinion, eric tucker, and re-reading the two millenium restaurant books. there-in lie recipes and pictures(not too many, not enough really) that excite both the imagination and the taste-buds. if you want to take a look at this (coffee-table) book, let me know and i'll let you have a lend.

cheers and two beers (i've already had a rum in my hot chocolate after golf)


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