Monday, June 25, 2012
Best Cookbook of the Month
Zackary Palaccio currently has four restaurants—two Fatty Crabs and two Fatty Cues—and now he has one cookbook, "Eat With Your Hands." My three meals at Fatty Crabs were all good and my two meals at Fatty Cue (the Brooklyn one) were both table-poundingly delicious, and his cookbook gives you everything you need (directionswise, of course) to replicate many a dish from these south-Asian inspired restaurants.
To me the intimidating thing about the book is the enormous amount of ingredients it calls for that I have never, ever heard of—really the shopping list for almost every (perhaps I exaggerate) recipe calls for something I've never heard of and would not know even where to begin looking for it at—and I live in Chinatown. On the plus side, the pictures are delicious, Palaccio's enthusiam is infectious, and the amount of knowledge he drops precipitous. The range of dishes covered in the book is expansive enough to rival How to Cook Anything. There are stews, roasts, salads, sandwiches, steaks, slaws, curries and etceteras of frog, fish, lamb, pig, goat, vegetable, bunny and noodle to be found within this book that is almost a tome. I think aside from the unfamiliarity of the ingredients the real problem I have with a lot of these recipes is I just don't know how to expect most of these things to taste—the photo of the Beef Rendang is exciting, but what does a good rendang taste like? How will I know if I made it right? What is the flavor of assum gelugor and Gula Jawa Syrup? Right now rather simple recipes are jumping out at me, like a nice hanger steak marinated in palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice salad (recipe here) and the caramel pork with hong kong noodles, I should give a few of them a shot and perhaps some day I'll move on to Goat's-Milk-Braised Goat Parts or throw a proper full-hog pig roast. If I ever have a backyard.