Twenty Dinners by Ithai Schori and Chris Taylor
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Clarkson Potter (April 7, 2015)
A photographer (who happens to be an ex-restaurant cook) and an indie rock star (who happens to be an avid home cook) show you how to slow down your life by cooking beautiful, straightforward, but sophisticated, food for–and with–friends.
When he’s on tour with his band, Grizzly Bear, what Chris Taylor misses most about home is the kitchen and the company. With his friend Ithai Schori, he cooks dinner parties for four to forty, using skills Chris learned from his mom and Ithai picked up working at high-end restaurants.
Their food is full of smart techniques that make everything taste just a little better than you thought possible–like toasting nuts in browned butter or charring apples for a complex applesauce–but their style is laid-back and unhurried.
This is about cooking not just for, but with, your friends, and so the authors enlisted their favorite pastry chef, mixologist, sommelier, and baristas to write detailed material on wine, desserts, stocking a home bar, mixing drinks, and buying and brewing fantastic coffee.
Through more than 100 seasonally arranged recipes and gorgeous, evocative photographs of their gatherings you fall into their world, where you and your friends have all day to put food on the table, and where there’s always time for another cocktail in a mason jar before dinner.
Don’t you love the cover? I know I do. That’s what first drew me to the book. Then I read the blurb and was sold!
The contents are… Introduction, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. Then there are sections that cover Techniques & Terms & Handy Advice, Tools & Pantry & Shopping For Ingredients, the acknowledgments and the index. The Introduction tells us how the authors started cooking together etc.
Right after the Introduction there is there Chris’s Story, which starts with “I swear, my mom could smell when I was cutting an onion wrong. I first learned about cooking by hanging out in the kitchen with her, an amazing cook who learned from her mom. No matter how high the tree I had climbed at the park or how much I might have wanted to stay out with friends, I always came home in time for dinner. I was always there to help my mom cook- preparing vegetables and meat by her specific requests. When I did it wrong she’d always notice and would patiently ask me to do it again, telling me why were cutting things up a certain way and how different cuts cooked at different rates, which is why you wanted everything to be the same size”.
Ithai’s Story starts with “Oh man, I used to make some of the worst food when I was a kid. My parents would go out for the night and I would try to cook something for my brother and me. An ambitious kid in a kitchen is not a pretty sight, and there were definitely nights when my brother went to sleep hungry. I think he still has nightmares from that time. I tried to make a stir-fry. I thought all there was to it was grabbing everything in the fridge, stirring it together, and throwing some soy sauce on it. I was wrong. Really really wrong. But over time, I got better”.
Some of the recipes were ones I’d never heard of before like Whiskey’d Burrata Toast and Duck Confit & Tagliatelle. I learned a few things from reading this book, one of them was that pasta water is an underrated ingredient. It’s a classic Italian grandmother’s secret to reserve some of the pasta cooking water to give sauce a little more body. And you can also add it to any pasta dish that’s a bit dry. I think I’ll try that next time I cook pasta.
This book was a joy to read. I loved the recipes and the photos were beautiful. There are so many recipes in this book that I want to try, but I decided to start with a simple and quick one, and since I’ve never tried pickling anything I thought I’d start with Sweet And Sour Pickle Brine. I was going to make it last night but our a/c went out and I’m not standing at a hot stove. The a/c guy will be here this afternoon thankfully. Anyway, I’ll make the recipe and post the review next week.
I love this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Italian food or just loves cookbooks.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review