Sunday, September 13, 2015

REVIEW: "Old-School Comfort Food--The Way I Learned to Cook" by popular TV Chef Alex Guarnaschelli

Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook



How does one become an Iron Chef and a Chopped judge on Food Network—and what does she really cook at home?

 

Alex Guarnaschelli grew up in a home suffused with a love of cooking, where soufflés and cheeseburgers were equally revered. The daughter of a respected cookbook editor and a Chinese cooking enthusiast, Alex developed a passion for food at a young age, sealing her professional fate. Old-School Comfort Food shares her journey from waist-high taste-tester to trained chef who now adores spending time in the kitchen with her daughter, along with the 100 recipes for how she learned to cook—and the way she still loves to eat.

 

Here are Alex’s secrets to great home cooking, where humble ingredients and familiar preparations combine with excellent technique and care to create memorable meals. Alex brings her recipes to life with reminiscences of everything from stealing tomatoes from her aunt’s garden and her first bite of her mother’s pâté to being one of the few women in the kitchen of a renowned Parisian restaurant and serving celebrity clientele in her own successful New York City establishments. With 75 color photographs and ephemera, Old-School Comfort Food is Alex’s love letter to deliciousness.


MY REVIEW:  Our concept of "comfort food" is influenced by the family kitchen of our childhood and our encounters with food from outside the home. If you are a true "foodie", then you have a fascination with all the things that combine to complete your food and make it into the finished dish which you consume. "Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook", by accomplished chef and TV personality Alex Guarnaschelli, is a perfect example of how our differences in heritage and life experiences shape our idea of what is our comfort zone, and that includes our favorite foods and beverages. Written with dry humor, and a refreshing, down-to-earth tone, this cookbook almost makes you feel as though you and Alex are having a conversation about food. Even if your idea of comfort food is much different than hers, you will appreciate her amazing "journey in food". Her earliest food impressions were provided by her esteemed cookbook-editor mother, and by her father, whose Italian heritage was blended with a love for cooking Chinese food. Once grown, and out on her own, Alex traveled the globe, cooking and learning from some of the most highly-renowned chefs in a number of the most prestigious restaurants in the world. Her eventual return to her home turf of New York added further layers to her adventures in food, as she worked in a Madison Square Garden steakhouse, taught at the Institute of Culinary Education, and even held a job as private chef for a family on Park Avenue. Now an executive chef at more than one top New York City establishment, Alex is also a veteran star of numerous TV food and cooking programs. In addition to sharing her recipes, Alex also shares cooking techniques and essential kitchen tools, and she is not afraid to specify her favorite brand names for ingredients. She also provides a "sources" pages featuring some of her personal picks for places and products. Here are some of her recipes which I found most appealing: "Overnight Garlic Bread"; "Chilled Iceberg Wedge with Blue Cheese and Leeks"; "Shrimp and Cucumber Salad"; "Mom's Meatloaf"; "Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops with Apple and Brussels Sprouts"; "Broiled Bluefish with Corn and Bacon"; "Mashed Potatoes Chantilly"; "Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Caramel Top"; and "Evil Cheese Biscuits". Also included is a "Make it from Scratch" chapter which provides recipes for such kitchen staples as butter, pickles, BBQ sauce, and hot sauce. You will enjoy this view of "comfort food" from an author whose love of subject and considerable skills and knowledge shine through from page to page.

Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine

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