Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (April 3, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.1 x 9.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #82,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #117 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Entertaining & Holidays > Seasonal #130 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Canning & Preserving
Anyone considering this book should be aware that it takes a pre-modern, even anti-modernist approach to food preservation.For example, when it comes to getting jams, jellies, mostarda, etc to set up, he relies exclusively on a pectin stock that he urges you to make yourself from green apples. Since commercial pectin has been available for more than a century now, is made in the same way (by cooking pectin-rich fruits and vegetables), is tested for strength and thus produces reliable results, it's more than a little bizarre and atavistic that he won't even consider it in his recipes. If you want to substitute it, you're on your own. Granted, anyone interested in food preservation takes a certain pleasure and pride in making things themselves, but before I buy 5 pounds of apples and spend an hour in front of a hot stove cooking them down, I want to know that it's going to be better than what's commercially available. Just because you make it yourself doesn't necessarily make it better or more virtuous.And I found his apple pectin recipe wildly unreliable. After following it, I had to reduce it by two thirds before even this "pectin" stock would set up. Even then, it took almost three times as much as his mostarda recipe called for before it achieved a soft set. So, all in all, the pectin seemed to be off by a factor of about 9. Such inaccuracy is aggravating enough, but it also seriously affects every recipe you use it in. Since he calls for more than 5 cups of sugar in his pectin recipe, if you need to reduce it by two thirds and then use tree times as much, you are adding 9 times more sugar and thus throwing off the balance of every recipe you use it in. All that added sugar transformed his mostarda into more of an insipid jelly.
Great book, lot's of interesting ideas and the kind of quality I have come to expect from 10-Speed Press. I have not yet made anything from the books plethora of recipes and formulae, but there are several I have marked.1. Format: The pictures are nicely done as is the art. The tables are a bit misplaced and awkward with respect to the content, and they don't seem to flow with the layout as well as they could. The graphics could use some captions. There were times when I saw a picture and was wondering what it was, the recipe before the graphic or the recipe after the graphic. A little guesswork and I was able to identify each one, but readers hate guessing.Even though the layout was a bit weird, I REALLY loved the font and font spacing. VERY readable, and this is something sourly lacking in many books, so high praise for the fonts.2. Content: The content is new and refreshing and treats the concept of 'preserves' with respect. These are not your grandmas pickles so if you are hoping for a more traditional approach to 'pickling' and 'preserves' you will be disappointed. This is a new spin with tons of interesting flavor combinations pulling together many new ideas.3. Reference: The table of contents were well done, no complaints, index seemed to be kinda jammed in there. The acknowledgements seemed a bit rushed and non-inspiring. The lack of a bibliography and a resources sections were the most disappointing parts of the book by far. So, for resources I understand the author is emphasizing local, local, local, and I'm cool with that, but not having to find my own resources for pink salt (curing salt) would be nice as would a compendium of other resources I could turn to.
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