Book Reviews

Book Review – Heart of the Artichoke and other Kitchen Journeys

By David Tanis

American chef David Tanis doesn’t altogether approve of kitchen gadgets, much preferring his sharp knife, a wooden spoon and a cast-iron pan; though he does concede that a vegetable peeler is handy along with a pestle and mortal and maybe a blender.

So it comes as no surprise to read that he doesn’t approve of bread making machines, much preferring to get his hands in the dough and giving the dough time to rest and prove slowly and naturally. He’s been making bread that way since he was 17, and as he has been head chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California for over 25 years, 17 was obviously some while ago, he knows what he’s talking about. Cooking for him should not be rushed – terrines are given time to mature, pears poached in red wine are left overnight to develop colour and flavour.

But that does not mean that he dismisses simple, quickly made dishes. Whilst you might not fancy making your own chorizo (he does) what could be easier or more delicious than his asparagus scrambled eggs, or a meal of peppery chicken wings served with fried green tomatoes and a spicy cabbage slaw, and for dessert – a platter of ripe fresh figs and grapes?

Interspersed with the recipes are some mouth-watering illustrations and gentle anecdotes from David about his travels and work experiences. A lovely book.

Heart of the Artichoke and other Kitchen Journeys, David Tanis, published by Artisan. ISBN 978-1-5796-5407-8. £25. $35.

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