Most helpful critical review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Be sure you know what you're buying this for
on July 7, 2009
This was my first experience with a Charlie Trotter professional series book. Despite the topic being near and dear to my cookin' heart, I gave the book 3 stars; here's why:
The biggest weighing factor for me in a cookbook, gourmet or not, is what I like to call cookability. Simply put, this book can give you ideas, but the number of real "cookable" recipes for the hobby gourmand that makes up one of the book's audiences is smaller than I like to see in a book of this price level. Tracking down every ingredient will be a significant chore in the majority of them (though Trotter does encourage the use of substitutions- and even if he'd didn't, you'd do it anyways lol). Not making this task any easier is the glaring lack of a source list, which makes me wonder how many people he genuinely intends to cook from it. This doesn't take away from winners like Chestnut Soup with Foie Gras, but there's a reason you continually see that one mentioned- it's one of the easiest recipes in the book to source and prepare.
Despite the somewhat tepid review so far, I'm no hater. Those who are Trotter groupies will find plenty to love here. There's nothing wrong with wanting a cookbook to read for inspiration, relaxation, or just plain pimping out your coffee table, and this book will certainly accomplish that. It sports intricate, inspired recipes, beautiful oversized photography, and a classy layout. It almost does this job too well- quite frankly, it's too pretty of a book to keep in the kitchen to get messy while you check and re-check the recipe you're preparing on the fly. This isn't like a beat-up, broken in Paul Prudhomme book you dogear the pages on when you find something you like; in fact, if someone dog ears your copy, you'll genuinely want to smack them.
Overall, this review likely won't give you anything new you probably didn't already assume about it, but just know what it is you're getting into before you invest the significant chunk of change it'll set you back.