The Good Cook

Edited by Richard Olney

This finely-photographed book is food pornography at its most sophisticated. It’s both more and less than a true cook book, with theoretical and practical information taking up the bulk of the book, and a recipe section with directions that need a good reading through before you start as they can be a bit cursory. You’ll find in this book all you could possibly want to know about peeling chestnuts, larding beef, preparing polenta, filleting fish, and truly everything in between. Absolutely not for the vegetarian – that v-word isn’t even in the index, and the photos of flesh are quite graphic. The downer buying it in Thailand is its Eurocentrism – it’s not exactly useful to know when to hunt red deer here, for instance – but on the other hand after one too many pad thais the voyeurism its glossy pages invite becomes that much more delicious, and there are plenty of recipes you can still give a go. The aim of the book is to “give wings to the reader”: indeed browsing through is enough to make you toss in your electric wok and make a beeline to the nearest stove store.

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