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Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes Hardcover – September 1, 2008
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Jennifer McLagan is a chef, food stylist, and writer who has worked in London and Paris as well as her native Australia. Her book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, won the Best Single Subject Cookbook award, as well as Cookbook of the Year, at the 2009 James Beard Awards. Her first book, Bones, was widely acclaimed, winning the James Beard Award for single-subject food writing. She is a regular contributor to Fine Cooking and Food & Drink. She has lived in Toronto for more than 27 years with her sculptor husband, Haralds Gaikis, with whom she escapes to Paris as often as possible. On both sides of the Atlantic, Jennifer maintains friendly relations with her butchers, who put aside their best fat and bones for her.
(Photo © Rob Fiocca)
Pumpkin and Bacon Soup
(Makes 3 quarts/3 l)
- 1/2 pound/225 g side (slab) bacon
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 1 large sprig sage
- hubbard squash or other firm, dry pumpkin or winter squash (about 3-1/3 pounds/1.5 kg)
- 8 cups/2 l water
- Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the rind and any hard, dry skin from the bacon. Cut the bacon into 1/4-inch/6-mm dice.
Place a large saucepan over low heat, add the bacon pieces, and cook gently so they render their fat. When most of their fat is rendered, add the onion, celery, and sage, stirring to coat with the fat. Cook until the vegetables soften slightly, about 7 minutes.
Cut the squash into quarters and remove the seeds. Peel the squash and coarsely chop into smaller, even-sized pieces. Set aside.
Pour 1 cup/250 ml of the water into the pan with the vegetables, increase the heat to high and, using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Add the remaining 7 cups/1.75 l water, the squash pieces, 1 tablespoon of salt, and some pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until the squash is very soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the sage and let the soup cool slightly.
Purée the soup, in batches, in a blender and pour into a clean saucepan. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and reheat the soup to serve.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Here is one thing I will say, since I have cooked out of this book this week, I am not hungry or craving food.
From butter to meat fats, McLagan gives you quite a history lesson on the subject of fat (and you can't miss the section on where the ghastly margarine came from!) to whet your appetite for some truly incredible fat-based dishes to make. Not all of them are low in carbohydrates, but they can easily be adapted to just about any diet. Except for a low-fat one. Sorry low-fatties!
Okay, a serious review--this is a great cookbook. I've made a few of the recipes in this book(braised oxtail and bone marrow tacos), and they are really good. But my absolute favorite part is the beginning, where McLagan discusses why animal fats are unjustly blamed for heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Dare I say the current food pyramid is a political plot? A vast left-wing conspiracy? Am I the only person who saw SOYLENT GREEN?
Of course, gentle reader, you will have to watch your portion sizes when you cook these foods--this is not an "all you can eat" air-popped whatever. The point is not to eat all you can, but to get full, and stop eating.
I especially liked this book because I just finished reading "The Vegetarian Myth", which is a much longer argument against a grain-based diet, and is chock-full of nifty scientific evidence that animal fat doesn't kill people.
But get this cookbook--you will feel like Martha Stewart and Ted Nugent all at once!
IF you don't like eating food that you think you need an engineering degree to make, read this book.
I am not some Zen guru or yoga master...I am a guy who has always liked to cook. What I seem to notice and dislike more and more these days is that everything we seem to eat is "produced" somewhere...in some factory. For me, the beauty of cooking is in simplicity. FAT is a book that has helped me to focus on the important parts of cooking. I am not sure how accurate all of the information in the book is, but 99.99% of it just makes sense in my head...and that is what I care about.
If you love to cook or you love someone who loves to cook, then get this book. You will be happy you did.