The Zuni Cafe CookbookLordy this book is so irritatingly ostentatious but damned good at the same time. I groaned audibly reading the introduction when the author casually mentioned how she was packing sausage in lavender to absorb the fragrance. Screw that nonsense and get cookin' woman!
That said Judy Rodgers, the chef-owner of San Francisco's Zuni Cafe, knows her way around a kitchen and knows how to tell about it as well. If you ignore her irksome vignettes about learning to cook while living is some rustic home in the French countryside you can get a lot out of this book.
Where this volume really shines is when Rodgers tosses away the gloss and gets down to the basics. Here explanation on how to make a proper chicken stock, for example, is one of the most straightforward I have ever read and one of the few that made me re-assess my own strategy for cooking it.
Since the book is targeted at that particular brand of California asshole that wants you to know they ate at Rodger's restaurant (so they buy this book and leave it conspicuously out on their kitchen counter), it leans heavily on the types of dishes you get served in such a swank establishment. This pays off for the regular cook by showing first-hand how relatively rustic dishes are upgraded for fine dining.
Not a bad cookbook by any means but only pick it up if you find it on sale.
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