ooking by Hand has you hooked the moment you pick it up, and it does so without the usual chef showpiece features of stunning photography, glorious design, and glossy pages. Just heartwarming, inventive dishes and insightful writing that take you to the heart and soul of all that makes Italian cooking so good and hence so popular—pasta, wild mushrooms, balsamic vinegar (a 14 page essay), tomatoes (Twelve Ways of Looking at Tomatoes), and cured pork. There are 140 recipes celebrating these ingredients and their Italian heritage—Salad of Bitter Greens, Walnuts, Tesa, and Parmigiano; Chilled Shellfish with Salsa Verde; Short Ribs Agrodolce and Tagliolini Pasta with Crab, and for dessert, Semifreddo of Peaches and Mascarpone, and Hazelnut Meringata with Chocolate and Espresso Sauce.
The dishes in Cooking by Hand are labors of love and are meant to be prepared with your hands, and that is what author Paul Bertolli believes is required for good food. But it is also about understanding, time and devotion, not struggling with fancy ingredients and tricks of the trade. Techniques are described in a narrative form that feels more like conversation than instruction. More than recipes, this book is also a collection of rich food memories and artisan-style techniques for making foods from scratch that will make us have a greater affinity for the food we eat, and in so doing, better cooks.
One of the most respected chefs in the country, Paul Bertolli earns glowing praise for the food at California’s renowned Oliveto Restaurant and is certainly an accomplished chef (of the famed Chez Panisse). But he is also a wonderful, heartfelt writer and his work here is approachable and honest. One is not only inspired to recreate some of these dishes, but actually feels in doing so the dishes will turn out every bit as good as he is describing them. Cooking by Hand has a richness of taste, style, and heart that make it a unique and much loved addition to any cookbook collection. The section on Sausage Making & Meat Curing entitled “Whole Hog” alone is reason enough to purchase this book.
Categories - Celebrity Chef, Restaurant, Regional, International