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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cookbook Review: The Lost Art of Real Cooking

The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time
I want a copy of this cookbook.  It is actually on my Christmas list.  The library is great for screening books.  Usually, I end up copying a recipe or two, but in the case of  The Lost Art of Real Cooking by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger, I want it all.

I loved the introduction of The Lost Art of Real Cooking which is addressed, “Dear Gentle Reader,” much like a book in the eighteenth century may have started. Among other things, the authors say they want to, “break free from the golden shackles of convenient ready-made, industrial food.” They also warn “if you cannot abide by long hours in the kitchen, this is no book for you.” With that warning in mind, I read through the small, but highly entertaining tome, The Lost Art of Real Cooking.


Written by two fearless cooks, this book takes you on a journey back in time. Interspersed between their recipes are actual excerpts from recipes written in the 1600 and 1700s. The only equipment needed to cook and bake these recipes are cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens, a baking stone, a big stockpot and some smaller saucepans, sharp knives, stout wooden spoons, mixing bowls, a few glass jars, a metal and a rubber spatula, a whisk, meat tenderizer and a sturdy mortar and pestle. With these few things, Ken and Rosanna have set out to conquer the world. Did you notice there was no mention of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer or a Cuisenart food processor? Nope. Not a single appliance made their cut, except of course an oven and a refrigerator.

There is no set cuisine in this book. They roam from sauerkraut to miso, from dolmas to corn tortillas. With their easy to read recipes, I ended the book ready to make pickles, capture wild yeast, render some lard and make a round of cheddar cheese. They made it all sound do-able!

Really, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It contained page after page of useful information; not just for the urban homesteader, but for anyone looking to wean themselves off of commercially made convenience foods.
Check out their blogs, too: Ken Albala's Food Rant and Paprika.

Note: I received no compensation for this post and all opinions are mine alone.

11 comments:

katerina said...

Sounds like a very interesting book to me!

Adora's Box said...

I just love old and old fashioned books because I am such an old fashioned cook. This sounds like the perfect Christmas gift for me.

Drick said...

that is my kind of cooking too... something about nostalgic ways seems to make food taste better....

Evan B said...

Just another cookbook I have to add to my list! Thanks a lot :) I already have about 10 going.. ha I hope you get a copy for Christmas!

Jason Phelps said...

I love to read reviews of cookbooks. Funny thing is I don't have many and don't really use them. It is fun to see what inspires others though.

This one is interesting in the historical aspects. Might have to take a look.

Jason

Elisabeth said...

I checked out Paprika's blog...seems like they abandoned their blog, or too busy writing another cookbook. I browsed through this blog last year, and found the recipes very knowledgable.
The other blog is very interesting, as well.
I imagine the book is similar to their blog's recipes.
Thanks for sharing...I am following your blog...hope you will follow mine too!
Thank you for your kind comment on my blog!

thespicegarden said...

I am a total fiend when it comes to cook books ... and books, in general. This sounds like it's right up my alley! Being at home also makes it okay for me to spend hours in the kitchen ... no greater place in my opinion! Good review!

Claudia said...

I love nostalgic cooking and like you - I am very fond of the intro: Dear gentle reader...

Joanne said...

This sounds like such a fun read! It really transports you back in time...

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

I love the sounds of this! Adding it to my Christmas list! Dear Santa...

snapshots said...

Interestingly enough, I read this review, thought the book sounded interesting and fun, but said nothing to my husband (he was out of town at the time). While he, in the meantime, read a review on it an another cookbook in Sucessful Farming magazine and ordered me a copy for Christmas! IT is an interesting and helpful book!

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