From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Tanis (A Platter of Figs) has been a chef at Berkeley's Chez Panisse for so long, he seems to have achieved a certain California Zen master state of being. A recipe is "what happens between the concept of a dish and its final result," he observes, then paints a fine line between "om" and "yum" with 14 meditations on kitchen rituals, small moments of epiphany that tie his childhood oatmeal to his adult polenta or celebrate the genius of the Ziploc bag. Cooks who live in an unchanging climate seem to have a penchant for dividing their cookbooks into seasonal chapters and Tanis is no exception. The (artichoke) heart of this work consists of 20 full menus, five for each season. Spring offerings include Vietnamese vegetable summer rolls, and "The Flavor of Smoke," featuring tea-smoked chicken salad. Summer belongs to herbs with choices like flat-roasted chicken with rosemary, and rice salad with sweet herbs. With the fall comes flatbread, a focaccia served alongside stuffed raviolone. And winter brings fragrant lamb with prunes and almonds. Tanis rounds out the book with four feasts, celebrational meals involving a suckling pig or kid goat stew. When not easing the reader into some potentially complex dishes, Tanis enjoys reliving his culinary European adventures, adding an unfortunate air of pretension to his otherwise sincere labor of love. (Nov.) (c)
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About the Author
In his three decades behind the stove, David Tanis has overseen kitchens in Santa Fe and Paris and throughout the San Francisco Bay area, mostly notable at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, where he was a chef for nearly 20 years. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and Fine Cooking magazine and he currently writes the weekly City Kitchen column for The New York Times. Tanis’s A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes was chosen as one of the 50 best cookbooks ever written by The Guardian/Observer (UK), and his Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys was nominated for a James Beard Award.