`Lobel's Meat and Wine' by Stanley, Leon, Evan, Mark, and David Lobel (of Lobel's Meats in upper East side Manhattan) plus Mary Goodbody and David Whiteman totally reversed my negative attitude toward `cooking with wine' books, and has seriously brought into question my review of the Lobel's earlier book, `Lobel's Prime Cuts'.
For starters, it is perfectly obvious to limit a book on wine cookery to meats (including poultry and game meats), as wine is simply not an important player in cooking practically everything else, including finfish and shellfish.
But the main interest is perfectly stated in David Rosengarten's Foreword where he says the two introductory chapters, `How to Choose Food-Friendly Wines' and `Cooking with Meat and Wine in Today's Kitchen' are simply worth the price of the book all by themselves. The best part of the first chapter is that it describes wines for the total novice, like me. It also tickles me to see it treat with importance one of the very few corners of wine knowledge I happen to have visited, that being the wines of Austria, which are famous for their very young, green, almost raw white wines.
The heart of the whole book is the second of these two chapters, which is nothing less than a monograph reporting on a series of cooking experiments varying wine cooking with various different styles of dishes. I am impressed that the authors say that even they were surprised by some of the results based on time-honored techniques.
After these groundbreaking findings are eight (8) chapters of recipes with the usual categories of meat and poultry recipes. Just another little touch to make this book even better is the fact that all recipes are listed after the chapter title page. These chapters are:
Beef (15 recipes) with a fair selection of all our favorite beef and wine classics such as `Beef in the Style of Burgundy' and `Hungarian Beef Goulash'. The authors go the extra mile in providing a superior recipe for making classic Hungarian dumplings to go along with this dish. As in all the other chapters, the authors are not claiming these are all `classic' or `traditional' recipes, since some traditional ingredients may be left out here and there, but they are all close, as far as I can see.
Veal (9 recipes) including classic Roman `Veal Scallopini with Prosciutto and Sage' and `Traditional Milanese-Style Braised Veal Shanks'.
Pork (10 Recipes) including `Pork Cutlets with Apples, Onions, and Marjoram' and `Medallions of Pork with Prunes in the Style of the Loire Valley'.
Lamb (12 Recipes) including `Marinated Greek-Style Lamb Kabobs and `Rioja-Style Grilled Lamb Chops'.
Chicken and Rabbit (13 Recipes) including `Classic Chicken in Red Wine' and `Portuguese-Style Jugged Chicken'.
Game Birds and Other Game (7 recipes) including `Venison Stew with Grappa-Herbed Cream' and `Squab with Sweet Tuscan Wine Sauce'.
Organ and Mixed Meats (6 Recipes) including `Tuscan Style Meat Loaf' and `Madrid-Style Tripe with Oxtail and Chorizo'.
Stocks and Seasoning Pastes (9 recipes) including `Portuguese Style Hot Red Pepper Paste' and `Italian Style Lard Paste'.
As should be evident from this selection of recipe names, almost all recipes come from French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, or Greek roots, the homelands of ancient viniculture. I'm just a bit surprised that there are not more recipes from Germany or other parts of `Mitteleuropa'. In reading the recipes, it is also apparent that without even mentioning this principle, the authors almost always follow the hoary old French principle of `terroir', or pairing wines and principle ingredients from the same location.
While these recipes may not be `authentic', most of them are so well known, you will not have any trouble tracking down more authentic versions in your well-worn copies of Julia Child, Paula Wolfert, Penelope Casas, Diane Kochilas, or Elizabeth David. And, you will be well prepared to improvise on and improve any wine choices these venerable authors made for their versions of these dishes.
While this book is a great addition to any carnivore's culinary library, it is not a complete meat cookery book. For that, I suggest either Aidells and Kelly's `The Complete Meat Cookbook' or Schlesinger and Willoughby's `How to Cook Meat'. For poultry, see `Cook's Illustrated's `The Complete Book of Chicken'.
An excellent read and collection of recipes for any serious cook!