Review: Darina Allen Forgotten Skills of Cooking
Hey lovely cooking friends!
OK so I posted a quick review of my new treasure, Maxime de la Falaise's Seven Centuries of English Cooking, which has given me some great ideas.
I was thinking tonight about what cookbook I actually use the most. I have a cookbook shelf in the kitchen, but there is one book that doesn't have a place on the shelf, as it usually lives on the counter. It is kind of battered, actually I think some of the stains on the cover ARE batter BTW, has a burn on one side from a moment of inattention, and it kind of smells funny. Probably spilled a couple of milk based sauces on it at some point.
Darina Allen, Forgotten Skills of Cooking; The Time-Honored Ways Are the Best- Over 700 Recipes Show You Why.
OK to start with, 700 recipes. The only cookbook that comes close to as comprehensive is Joy of Cooking (believe me I use the heck out of my copy of that). Allen has been described as the Julia Child of Ireland. I don't think that does her justice, as head of the Ballymoe cooking school, she is right up there with Alice Waters as far as the slow food movement.
So think of Forgotten Skills as a Julia Child book for the adventurous. It has great chapters on say, making a sourdough bread, but also talks a bit about how to dress game, and to use things like sweetbreads, tripe, and even a chapter on foraging (ramps and wild onions for salad anyone? And dandelion, often underestimated lawn weed.)
It isn't just tripe and lawn scraps, though, some of my favorite seafood, chicken, and beef recipes are here. An entire chapter on pork, that I ignore, as I married a Jewish wife (well she IS a lawyer, and sometimes have to travel for work, then it is pork festival).
Forty bucks isn't cheap, but it is a very versatile cookbook, I don't really follow recipes for exact but reading this cookbook is an education. And hey, I had a mouse three days ago, peek his head out from under my fridge. This cookbook made short work of that interloper. I can also testify that it stands up to all kinds of kitchen incidents, and will not immediately catch on fire if exposed to an open flame.
So it gets my best recommendation.
sourdough isn't a recipe, it is a process.