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The year is not yet over and I have a strong contender for my favorite cookbook of the year. It is Rustica: A Return to Spanish Home Cooking by Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish ( Chronicle Books, 2011).
Simply put, I love everything about this book. The cover makes me swoon, and the artwork, layout and design, the feel of the paper, the stories, the recipe selections, the photographs, and the tone of the overall content gets my blood racing.
Do I know the authors? No, but I wish I did. Have I been to Spain? No, but I am ready.
Co-author Frank Camorra wrote the cookbook MoVida, which I also own. I like that book and the style is similar, but something about the design and the presentation is a little too blunt for me.
In Rustica:A Return to Spanish Home Cooking Frank's food is simple and the tone of the book is confident. Vignettes about culture, stories and information about ingredients and foodstuffs, and lush, dreamy photographs (kudos to photographer Alan Benson ) of Spanish life that roam time and place add to the appeal. The book captures the essence of food and place in a charming, warm way. And it comes neatly wrapped in a down-to-earth yet seductive volume that is hard to put down.
I like the idea behind the book, too. Frank journeyed through his native land and found more than 120 savory and sweet recipes from people in villages across Spain. He tailored these recipes which showcase the everyday foods that Spanish people eat. Not the fancy cutting edge foods that have become world-famous, but the dishes that are the foundations of Spanish food, the bedrock of traditions on which Spanish cooking is based.Read more ›
My family spent my early years working and living in Spain in the late '50s and early '60s, and the travels this book takes us into - the byways of Spain - just delighted me. I gave the book to several friends and family who love Spain as I do. The recipes are excellent and authentic, yet it's just as interesting to read for the glimpses into the "real" Spain, rather than the tourist Spain so many now experience. To this day, my favorite travels are into the back roads and pueblos of Spain.
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