Charlie Trotter's Meat & Game is the fifth high quality cookbook
to be published by the chef, in a series of books that represents
the food (and secrets) of his much-lauded Chicago restaurant.
If you already have a Trotter book or two in your possession
you are going to be familiar with the format of his latest.
The book is broken down in to seven chapters; Introduction,
Light Poultry & Other Fowl, Robust Poultry & Other
Fowl, Light Meat & Game, Robust Meat & Game Varietal
Meat & an Appendices.
It must be said that it will take the most patient food lover
to completely follow a recipe from start to finish - they
are crazy long! My feeling is that the best way to utilize
books with incredibly comprehensive recipes is to take inspiration
from the whole dish and utilize segments of the recipe say
a technique, sauce, marinade or reduction.
Wine notes - you bet! Trotter's sommelier Belinda Chang throws
reader's a bone or two on the wine-pairing front and to be
honest they are great pairings. My only dislike (not that
Belinda will lose too much sleep over it) is that the rational
she gives for her wine selections are very flowery and border
Each recipe is accompanied by a full-page photograph. The
images truly represent the food, clean uncluttered shots minus
any distracting wine glasses or props. Not surprisingly Tim
Turner scored a James Beard award for his work on this book.
Supplemental "down on the farm and out in the wood" shots
have been captured through the lens of Michael Voltattorni.
This aspect of the book reminded me of French chef Georges
Blanc's book The Natural Cuisine of Georges Blanc (1987 Stewart,
Tabori & Chang). Blanc's book came abound with pictures of
the French countryside. Trotter has followed a similar theory
to Blanc including the roots of where many of his finest ingredients
come from an unnecessary addition on the surface yet testament
to chefs of his caliber; not just producing a book with recipes
but offering a publication that reminds us that good food
start life way before our suppliers bring it to our doorsteps.
The cost of Charlie Trotter's Meat and Game comes with a strong price tag fifty bucks - that is a lot of beer tokens for
a book ($35 online [£40.00 UK]). To make sense of the extra
ten to fifteen dollars I picked up a similar (chill out Charlie
I said similar) fine dining book. Putting the two side by
side for inspection. Both books serve the same purpose but
with Trotter's I noticed the extra quality that permeates
through. Printed on thicker paper, bound tighter, additional
touches like the ribbons that I used to mark pages in the
book and extravagant photographs show that the chef has set
out to create a book that not only smokes the competition
but also will lead the industry standard in cookbooks.
The quality out weighs the price. If you are serious about
food you gotta get this one.