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Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington Hardcover – September 22, 2004

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Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington + The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook: A Consuming Passion
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bulfinch; 1st edition (September 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821228455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821228456
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.9 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The great chef Patrick O'Connell went to college to please his parents. "They bought into the American dream, believing that their children should never have to toil, sweat, or perform physical labor," he writes in his extraordinary new cookbook (after The Inn at Little Washington: A Consuming Passion). Like many people of their generation, O'Connell's parents considered working in a restaurant to be a lower order of work that people resorted to if they couldn't get a higher education. But O'Connell, who taught himself to cook by reading cookbooks, became part of the revolution in American cuisine over the 25 years that changed that perception. Eventually (with his partner Reinhardt Lynch), O'Connell turned a former gas station in the Virginia countryside into one of the most sumptuous and original restaurants and inns in the world. There, happily sweating and toiling, he set about refining many of the dishes of his all-American Irish Catholic childhood: fish sticks on Friday night became Sole Fingers with Green Herb Mayonnaise.The recipes collected here, which O'Connell explains with warmth and simplicity and introduces with wonderfully funny memories from his baby boomer childhood, demonstrate that the greatest American cooking is more than a version of regional cuisine. Like Alice Waters and other pioneers in the American culinary revolution, O'Connell is obsessive about using fresh local meats and produce. But he adds another ingredient—a twist of insight and witty invention. O'Connell gives us Lilliputian Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches; Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham (and smoked gouda) and Spruced Up Turkey (which garnishes a brined turkey with spruce branches to impart a wild and woodsy taste). He shows that true refinement has to do with simplicity, with being exquisitely sensitive yet free enough from convention to perceive and to make just the right gesture. Arriving at a time when there is so much fear that European cultivation and ethnic depth is being wiped out by American brand name sameness, this cookbook is a jewel—and a watershed. O'Connell shows the world how deep and cultivated American cuisine can be. 230 photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

Patrick O’Connell is a self-taught chef who has pioneered a regional American cuisine in the Virginia countryside by using fresh local ingredients. He has been referred to as "the pope of American haute cuisine" and is president of the North American Relais Gourmands. Selecting the Inn at Little Washington as one of the top ten restaurants in the world, Patricia Wells hails O’Connell as "a rare chef with a sense of near-perfect taste, like a musician with perfect pitch."

O’Connell offers vastly refined versions of his favorite American food: Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham, Crab Cake "Sandwich" with Fried Green Tomatoes, Veal Medallions with Country Ham Ravioli, and Warm Plum Torte with Sweet Corn Ice Cream. All the recipes use fresh American ingredients to make delicious dishes that rival the finest foods from France and Italy.

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Customer Reviews

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I've bought this book a few weeks ago.
I like this book so much, that I had to get his first book, A Consumming Passion.
Recipes are easy to follow and results have been great.
L. Wood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Dena Mopsik on June 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I made the truffle dusted scallops over cauliflower puree with red wine reduction last week. The food was so good that I wanted to cry. It was easily one of the best meals that I've ever made. It was technically manageable, very creative (albeit with a lot of butter :), and reminded me of the dinners that I've had at the Inn. Since then I've poured over the cookbook and I'm even more impressed -- all the recipes are straightforward, clear, sophisticated, and can be done in a home kitchen. The recipes don't assume that there is a sous chef in the wings -- it's all very manageable for a solo home cook. The pictures are beautiful too. Cooking from and studying this book has definitely improved to my culinary abilities. I'm going to buy an electric ice cream machine now so that I can make some of those very interesting sorbets that are written up in here -- yummy!

I've never posted to Amazon before, but the book inspired me to add a review. Once my waistline recovers, I'm going to plan my next meal from the Inn. . .
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on October 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Patrick O'Connell's second book, `Refined American Cuisine' does everything that a great restaurant cookbook should do, which are present really good recipes of dishes people like to eat. Chef O'Connell won my mind over early in the book when he writes that he was self-taught and that restaurant praxis has a lot to teach the home amateur cook. When I began my home schooling on cooking, this was one of the first principles I adapted and one reason I continue to buy and read cookbooks associated with good restaurants, even though some, like Emeril Lagasse's recent books, are advertisements for the restaurant(s).

Most cookbooks written by celebrity chefs generally include a sizable dollop of memoir or insights into culinary technique. As this Bulfinch Press book is both oversized and overpriced and has much the same appearance of Artisan publisher's books by Thomas Keller and Frank Stitt, I would expect one or the other or both, but this work rests its pricy quality squarely on the recipes, with just a few pages on the author's journey to cooking and the origins of his venue, The Inn at Little Washington in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 67 miles from `big Washington' on the Potomac.

The recipes can bear the weight. They are exactly what recipes from a highly acclaimed restaurant in a book for amateur cooks and foodies should be. Tasty, interesting, and relatively easy to make with few if any unusual ingredients. The crowning touch is a recipe for a potato, parsnip, and carrot gratin. How can I give anything less than five (5) stars to a book with a good recipe for a potato, parsnip, and carrot gratin made with butter?

I will even forgive the author for including several distinctively European classic dishes in a book about American cuisine.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
One truly misses out if you don't read the intro material at the beginning of cookbooks. I've found this to become my favorite part, which truly then explains what one finds in the recipes which follow.

This one has great intro material. O'Connell was trained by reading cookbooks, and his cuisine can be defined by the answer he gives to a question most chefs must tire of hearing: What kind of food do you serve at your restaurant? His answer: refined American cuisine.

This combined with another theme in his intro is captivating and motivating: what is this dish trying to say? What his creations say is a sophisticated taste that knows how to highlight, embelish and create counterpoint tastes around, under which highlight and support the dominant taste or ingredient.

Refined cuisine taken to a high personal level describes this cookbook which is pointedly designed to the home gourmet.

Exceptional fare is to be found among such as: Grown-up Oatmeal Souflles; Jellied Melon Parfaits; Minature Ham Biscuits with Mascarpone Pepper Jelly; Chilled Plum Soup; Melange of Jumbo Lump Crab, Mango, and Avocado in a Tropical Fruit Puree; Shavings of Country Ham with Parmesan, Pears and Pine Nuts; Scallop, Ham and Pineapple Sandwiches; Eggplant Ravioli with Medallions of Maine Lobster and Tomato-Basil Butter; Pistachio-Crusted Lamb Chops on Rutabaga Rosti with Gingered Carrot Sauce; Scaloppine of Chicken with Grapefruit and Pink Peppercorns; Bay Scallops with Mushrooms, Peppers and Grilled Italian Sausage; Warm Plum Torte with Sweet Corn Ice Cream; Frozen Eggnog Souffle; A Pear Trio: Sorbet, Tart and Fallen Souffle.

Additionally there is nice Pantry section as well as brief history of this famous restaurant.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By CB on September 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I own over a hundred cookbooks, and this is one of the best. First of all, it is beautifully laid out, with photos of almost, if not every recipe. The recipes themselves are, despite fancy names, are almost all easy to make, and only require a few basic cooking skills. Some of the recipes include; from the breakfast chapter; oatmeal souffles, and bourbon pecan waffles, from the snack chapter; bbq rabbit turnovers, and rosemary-garlic cornbread madeleines, from the soup chapter; watermelon tequila, and apple-rutabega soup. There are two chapters on first courses, one is for cold, and includes recipes such as; crab avacado and mango melange, and sorrel jelly, and a chapter on hot first courses including; pistachio prawns, lobster w/ rosemary cream, and shrimp-corn risotto. This is followed by a chapter on salads and cheeses including; asian chicken salad, and cucumber sorbet. The main dish chapter includes; eggplant ravioli, braised duck w/ wilted watercress, and pistachio crusted lamb chops. Side dish recipes include; bread pudding stuffing w/ onion cream sauce, and potato gratin w/ parsnips and carrots. And what would a cookbook be without desserts? Recipes include; fallen pear souffle, caramelized banana tart, and frozen eggnog souffle. There is also a pantry chapter in the back which has the sauce, dressings, and garnish recipes. I highly recommend this book. I like this book so much, that I had to get his first book, A Consumming Passion.
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