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The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux Hardcover – April 3, 2012
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“Advanced, intelligent pickling recipes from the starred Chicago chef, plus inspiring seasonal menus in which to use them.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Virant is a fine coach for cooks accustomed to packing strawberry freezer jam into upping their game and inspiring those interested in keeping local flavors on their table year-round.”
—The Chicago Tribune, 4/11/12
“With clear instructions and a full seasonal spectrum of inspiration, this has already made its way to the top of my stack of spring cookbooks.”
—KQED Bay Area Bites, 4/9/12
"The Preservation Kitchen makes us want to can everything."
"If any book could inspire me to can, it's this one...To flip through this book is to await every turn of the season and every visit to the farmer's market to come."
—Time Out Chicago: Cookbook of the Week 4/5/12
“Virant's suggestions for cooking with preserved foods are helpful for both beginning and experienced cooks, and provided menu plans focus on making the preserves shine. A unique guide to elevating pickling and preserves, recommended for adventurous cooks and eaters.”
—Library Journal, 2/1/12
“Paul Virant takes us on a delicious journey in The Preservation Kitchen, to unexpected spots that ring of traditions long forgotten, to exciting places that our palates want to savor for hours. Paul’s Fried Chicken with Cherry Bomb Pepper Sausage Gravy and Drop Biscuits is soul food for a new millennium and his Beer Jam and Ramp Sauerkraut may just show up on my restaurant menus.”
—Rick Bayless, Chef/Owner of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and XOCO, Chicago
“Along with being a great technical guide to preserving fruits and vegetables, The Preservation Kitchen gives the reader a first-hand look at Paul’s exceptional talent and culinary philosophy. By sharing his immense knowledge and passion, he leads the way as a great craftsman and mentor for future generations of food professionals and enthusiasts. Paul’s zest for life and great food is contagious!”
—Jacquy Pfeiffer, Founder of The French Pastry School
“Paul Virant’s approach to the modern kitchen extends seasonal boundaries far beyond nature’s reach. By suspending local treasures in time, and incorporating them creatively, he has redefined American cooking as we know it. Truly a jar star!”
—Paul Kahan, Executive Chef/Partner of Blackbird, avec, The Publican, and Big Star
Virant offers seasonally inspired menus—beef chili with pickled candy onions, chased by his wife’s chocolate chip cookies, for a wintry warmer; grilled and pickled summer squash salad and summer berry soda floats for a breezy supper—that make use of the fruits (and veggies) of their labors. Geared toward ambitious home cooks and professional chefs, these recipes could inspire the rest of us to fit into one of those categories.
—Carly Boers, chicagomag.com
About the Author
Chef-owner Paul Virant's name is synonymous with local, seasonal eating, a distinction that has brought him accolades from national and regional publications. In 2005, before his restaurant, Vie, had been open for a full year, Chicago Magazine named Virant the city's Best New Chef. Soon after, Vie was featured in Food & Wine, the Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times, and Time Out Chicago. In 2007, Food & Wine named Virant among its Best New Chefs, in 2010 Vie picked up a Michelin star, and in 2011 Virant was nominated for a James Beard award. In addition to awards, Virant has appeared on NBC's Today and, with chef de cuisine, Nathan Sears, competed in a close match on Iron Chef America. In addition to running Vie, Virant became chef and partner at Perennial Virant in Chicago in 2011.
Kate Leahy co-authored A16 Food + Wine (Ten Speed Press, 2008), the IACP 2009 Cookbook of the Year and recipient of the Julia Child first book award. Her work has been recognized by the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. A professional cook turned food writer, she has written for Food52, Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Plate and shares recipes and insights on her website, kateleahycooks.com.
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1. Format: The pictures are nicely done as is the art. The tables are a bit misplaced and awkward with respect to the content, and they don't seem to flow with the layout as well as they could. The graphics could use some captions. There were times when I saw a picture and was wondering what it was, the recipe before the graphic or the recipe after the graphic. A little guesswork and I was able to identify each one, but readers hate guessing.
Even though the layout was a bit weird, I REALLY loved the font and font spacing. VERY readable, and this is something sourly lacking in many books, so high praise for the fonts.
2. Content: The content is new and refreshing and treats the concept of 'preserves' with respect. These are not your grandmas pickles so if you are hoping for a more traditional approach to 'pickling' and 'preserves' you will be disappointed. This is a new spin with tons of interesting flavor combinations pulling together many new ideas.
3. Reference: The table of contents were well done, no complaints, index seemed to be kinda jammed in there. The acknowledgements seemed a bit rushed and non-inspiring. The lack of a bibliography and a resources sections were the most disappointing parts of the book by far. So, for resources I understand the author is emphasizing local, local, local, and I'm cool with that, but not having to find my own resources for pink salt (curing salt) would be nice as would a compendium of other resources I could turn to. It's hard for me to give credibility to an author who does not have a bibliography from which he/she draws from to form their own epistemology and it seems a bit arrogant to assume we are not shaped by others. HOWEVER, to be my own devils advocate, a lot of this stuff is SO unique perhaps the chef is really, that great. I presume he is.
Thanks for a great book, and I can't wait to get 5-pounds of asparagus for some pickles! Kudos!