Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Best Cookbook of the Month

If I had my own Downton Abbey I would definitely want April Bloomfield running the kitchen downstairs.  In her first cookbook, "A Girl and Her Pig", Bloomfield doles out loads of enthusiasm for her downhome English cooking and makes everything—from oatmeal or chili pepper pancakes to roast lamb's head—sound (and look, as the food photography is great) delicious and worth at least trying, if not perfecting.

But let me be straight with you:  In a way this cookbook let me down a bit, and perhaps I was (definitely) spoiled by the Momofuku cookbook, but I was hoping to learn a lot more about Bloomfeld's career and the history of her three (but kind of four) restaurants.  Reading the book, one must take it as a given that Bloomfeld went from being offered the head chef position to running two more restaurants.  Along those same lines, the book seems short on dishes her restaurants are known for--there's no Spotted Pig blue cheese cheeseburger or Breslin lamburger, for example.  (But yes, the super popular, super awesome Sheep's milk ricotta gnudi from the Spotted Pig are included).  Maybe it's because those two burgers are too big, trade-secretwise, to release into the world.  But I'd at least like a hint, or a tip, for them and other things I remember from her menus.

Still, great book.

And what did I learn from reading it?  Just as I felt that Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything could have used the subtitle "with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon", Bloomfeld has shown me that just about every dish could use, or needs, a pinch of red pepper flakes--or a few pequin peppers, whatever those might be.

And what do I plan on cooking?  For now, definitely the Carrot, Avocado and Orange Salad and the Skirt Steak with Watercress and Chilies and one of the lentil or chickpea dishes.  Very safe, I know.  But give me time.  I'll eventually fry my own pig ear.


Pearl said...

Flipped through this book a few weeks ago. Lets try cooking something when Im back in town?

Brigham said...

Go flip through again, look for some possible somethings