Trendy, Confusing, Wild,
Beautiful, Busy, Wallpaper Magazine, just
some of the attributes that have come to my mind since receiving
Alain Ducasses' book "Spoon Food and Wine.
I am still not sure if I like it or not, the layout is very eye demanding, the recipes are layed out in a way that it will be difficult to stand in your kitchen and to try to follow them easily. I suggest that if you do, you actually write them down in an easy to follow format rather than using the book to cook along to.
Almost all recipes have a continuous script for the ingredients which makes it easy to skip one of them (happened to yours truly while trying one of them).
Like the concept of Ducasses' Spoon restaurants, there is a certain spirit of exploration needed to truly enjoy this style of cooking and cookbook. This is evident in the sectioning of the book, it starts with appetizers, then goes on to starters (silly me thought that appetizers were starters… sorry) which are then subdivided into salads and soups (so I guess appetizers that don't find their way in either of these categories are under appetizers).
It continues with a section on tofu, before it gets to steaming
and a section called spoonfuls, which is a section that could
be either appetizer or soups or maybe all of them are thought
to be subcategories of appetizers, well who knows, did I confuse
you? It all seems pretty seamless confusion to me. Thereafter
are pasta and sandwiches… now I am lost.
After this a more traditional section setup continues with sauces, just what you expect after all of the above - you will find anything from a sauce to a relish, to compotes as well as chutneys and pickles. At the end is a nice section for basic sauces that is well layed out and easy to follow.
The book continues with a section on fish (and shellfish) and this is followed by the meat and poultry. Desserts are next and this section is in my view the best of all of them, since each recipe has a corresponding picture attached to it.
I tried the spring rolls with crab and grapefruit filling, the recipe worked and tasted good, the food photography is very well done with what seems like a mixture of studio and natural lighting, in and out of focus shots to make the book more vibrant, which at times combined with the layout makes the book very irritating to the eye (maybe I am getting old).
I like the wine suggestions with each recipe and I think that giving a suggestion for US as well as for a French wine takes that idea to a different level, I just wonder what happened to the other countries that produce great wines. The price of $40 is a little on the steep side for the book, but then again it isn't since it carries Alain Ducasses name on it.
Overall not a bad buy, but not an essential to have in your library.