124 of 127 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Reference Material,
This review is from: Culinary Artistry (Roughcut)I am a self-taught home cook who enjoys the activities of the kitchen. I entered the cooking arena one of the standard ways, using cookbooks. Collections of recipes familarized me with the techniques and ethnic cooking styles. Gradually, my cookbook collection included reference books that provided some of the theory behind tastes and preparation styles. Gold's 1-2-3 series, Peterson's Sauces, and others introduced to me the philosophies that allow a cook to go beyond mimicking a recipe to improvising and even creating a dish. Culinary Artistry is perhaps the best available reference for learning about the traditions of combining flavors and food groups.
It contains vital information that I suspect is taught only in some of the culinary schools. It provides valuable charts of information about cooking and menu planning. The book contains sections on Menus, including a seasonality chart and a chart explaining successful seasoning combinations. There is a section for Composing Flavors, the highlight of which is a chart showing successful food contrasts. Another section involves Composing A Dish. Here there is a chart showing great food matches and one showing seasoning matches. The Composing A Menu section offers a chart showing frequent accompaniments to meats and paragraphs presenting theories about Hors Douevres, Cheeses, and Desserts. This was a sparse and incomplete passage in an otherwise comprehensive book. Finally, there was a fun section addressing the Evolution of Chef's Styles. Here the authors provide sample menus comparing chef's offerings from earlier decades to their present day productions.
The volume offers multiple anecdotes, quotes, and side bars concerning the views of popular chefs. Various recipes are interspersed to illustrate the principles. My one criticism was that the book was laid out like a college textbook. Photos, captions, quotes, highlighted lines, sidebars, and other areas compete on the same page, magazine style. The book serves as reference, frequently glanced at rather than read straight through as a narrative.