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Charcutería: The Soul of Spain Kindle Edition

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Length: 464 pages
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Editorial Reviews


2015 James Beard Award nominee: Best Single-Subject cookbook
2015 Gourmand World Cookbook Award nominee: Best Foreign-International Cuisine

"Charcutería is not just another in a slew of American books devoted to this ancient craft, it's the first to explore the Spanish tradition of curing meat and fish—a lovely, loving, fascinating, and, most all, useful book all lovers of the craft should be grateful for." —Michael Ruhlman, author of Charcuterie and Ruhlman's Twenty

"Charcutería goes beyond the famous Spanish hams to consider the whole of the country’s cured meats, and it provides recipes. 'Awesome from top to bottom,' commented one of the judges. 'It strikes me as a must-have book that will stand the test of time. It is also literary; it captures the spirit of the enterprise.'" —Art of Eating Prize, 2015 shortlist nominee

"Charcutería brings to life—with real heart, history and technique—an astonishing look at the legacy of Spain’s flavorful meats....This book perfectly marries the necessary techniques of brining, salting, fermenting, and drying with the exceptional stories of Spain’s particular animals...It connects the past to the present. And I know it will open up the door to new possibilities for what you can create at home." —José Andrés, 2011 "Outstanding Chef," James Beard Foundation

"Spanish charcutería is world class, yet no one has written a definitive cookbook to help American cooks learn how to make these fine sausages, terrines, and other cured meats. Jeffrey Weiss reveals all in Charcutería: The Soul of Spain, with authentic recipes learned at the side of Spain's finest practitioners of the charcutería art." —Bruce Aidells, author of The Great Meat Cookbook

"The pig is the heraldic beast of Spanish gastronomy, and the products it yields are perhaps Spain's most vivid symbols of abundance, thrift, and sheer indulgence. In his handsome, witty, comprehensive book on Spain's charcutería, Jeffrey Weiss knowledgeably addresses this whole big, delicious subject and leaves us hungering to taste the wonderments of which he writes." —Colman Andrews, editorial director,

About the Author

Jeffrey Weiss is a professional chef with more than 15 years of experience, having cooked with James Beard award-winning chef José Andrés and Spanish-based chefs Daní Garcia and Adolfo Muñoz. He is one of a select few Americans to earn the prestigious ICEX culinary scholarship that allowed him to live in Spain, learn the regional cuisines, and cook in the kitchens of top Spanish chefs. He graduated from the Mission College School of Hospitality Management and Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. He lives in Monterey, CA. 

José Andrés was named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation in 2011. He is an internationally recognized culinary innovator, cookbook author, television personality, hunger issues advocate, and the chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. He lives in Bethesda, MD. 

Nathan Rawlinson is a James Beard-nominated photographer based in New York City. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at Eleven Madison Park as a manager and sommelier for four years before starting his photography business. His work has been featured in The New York Times,, and

Sergio Mora is an illustrator based in Barcelona.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Zdzislaw Nagengast on March 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is the definitive book on Spanish charcuteria, that alone makes this an important book. But, it is so much more than a exhaustive and thorough review of a culinary tradition. It is an amazing book. Few books on food fire the imagination as much as this book did for me. The author did more than document a culture and its charcuteria traditions; he captures your interest by appealing to your heart as much as he appeals to your intellect. It is clear that this author has a love affair with Spanish cuisine and culture and his passion and respect for the traditions comes across in every page. It is totally engrossing and sweeps you into its content; and it is the content that puts the book over the top.

First of all it provides you with clearly written and easily accessible instructions. He starts with the pig. The challenges and threats that exist to the preservation of the historically important pig breeds and the husbandry practices that make the pigs so remarkable. Pigs are natures glorious gift to us. He discusses the butchering traditions of Spain and how they differ from our own and how those differences affect the quality of the products produced. He does this without being screechy, there are no screeds here, just thoughtful commentary. He talks about the techniques of preserving and preparing the parts of the pig. He gives you technical information without overwhelming you; his explanation of the butcher's ratios is excellent as a simple example. He also recognizes that most readers will not have sophisticated equipment available to them and he talks about how to improvise solutions for a home practitioner.

The book is about charcuteria, Consequently is not just about the pig. He introduces us to seafood and the Spanish methods of preservation.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hunter Angler Gardener Cook on April 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that I foresee using for many years to come. I've been cooking Spanish food for about a decade, and while I'd made many batches of Spanish-style sausage using the books of the late, great Penelope Casas, I had always hoped that there would be a book with a more serious slant on Spanish sausage-making. This is that book. Weiss knows his meat and his sausage-making, where you must be precise and where you can fudge a little.

The breadth and depth of recipes for salami and fresh sausages in this book, not to mention instructions for making your own Spanish-style ham (if you are brave and patient) are worth the price alone. But Weiss also has excellent recipes for curing fish - including salt cod - making pickles of all shapes and sizes, as well as recipes for composed dishes and desserts. Iberico lard cookies, anyone?

Be forewarned, however: This is not a basic charcuterie book. It is important to have some basic knowledge of how to make sausage before tackling these recipes. Can you do them as a oure novice? Yes, you can make simple chorizo and such, but pay very close attention to Weiss' safety instructions. If you are a newbie, Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman's "Charcuterie" is probably a better place to begin. If you do know how to make sausages, however, you can find yourself getting lost in these recipes -- and I mean that in a good way. So many ways to make blood sausage and chorizo!

The only issue I have with this book are his canning instructions. He makes it appear that you can safely can, say, cured anchovies with a boiling-water bath. This is unsafe, and maybe he doesn't mean it, but as I read this book the only place I kept taking issue with Weiss was his canning instructions -- except for his recipes for pickles.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By #glutenfreeshiho on March 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Don't let the cover fool you. It looks so serious and traditional but when you open the book and start turning the colorful pages you immediately know that you have a fun filled educational book written by a passionate chef and the many important tips he learned from his mentors that just happen to be some of the most influential chefs in Spain and beyond. I was so excited to receive my book in the mail yesterday that I ran down to get it autographed today! Can't wait to eat, breath and dream charcuterie! Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain is one kickass book if I say so myself.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Larbo on June 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is clearly Jeffrey Weiss' first book, because he puts his heart and soul into it.

Not just a collection of recipes, this is an introduction to the pigs that are native to different regions of Spain, to the way they are butchered, to the delicious things that are made from them, and to the people he met, worked with, ate with, and hung out with there, every step along the way. With his words and the photographs, he tries to capture the history, the different cultures – all that goes into the "soul" of a cuisine.

Professional and serious meatheads will appreciate that the recipes give the quantities as weights and not dry measures and that all his recipes are based on what he calls the "charcutier's percentage." In other words, he models his approach on what professional bakers do, where everything that goes into a dough is given as a percentage of the total amount of flour, which is always 100%. In his recipes, the basic unit is 1kg of meat (2.2 lbs), and this system makes it easy to scale the recipe up or down from there. This approach may be unfamiliar to most home cooks, but if they think about it and try it, they will quickly find it liberating. You no longer need an exact quantity of meat for the recipe to work. Start with what you have or want to make, and calculate all the other ingredients based on the percentage.

The book is not perfect, as a few things got missed. He has some unusual recipes for sausages that contain fair amounts of potato and pumpkin (pp. 317-21) that I really want to try, but, after telling you how to cook the potato and pumpkin, he neglects to tell you when or how to mix it in. But in a book this good, a few oversights can easily be forgiven.
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