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Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon Hardcover – 2012
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WINNER OF THE WORLD GOURMAND AWARD FOR BOOK OF THE YEAR 2012. This 386-page book dedicated to maple syrup offers 100 recipes by Martin Picard, 2000 photographs, a short story by Marc Séguin, a journal describing life at the shack during the sugaring-off season, a technical chapter on harvesting maple water and the production and consumption of maple syrup, together with many illustrations by Tom Tassel. A cross between an art book and a culinary encyclopedia, it is as unique as the international reputation of the Au Pied de Cochon restaurant. Culinary research intersects with tradition in this book which is as iconoclastic as Martin Picard's world famous cuisine. Mixing genres and styles, just like this chef does in his kitchen, the book offers a touch of literature, a smattering of sexy images together with scientific information and cutting-edge gastronomical research. More than just another cookbook, this book wants to mark the passage of time. It describes an entire year in the restaurant, in sync with the rhythms of the seasons, from the silences to the fiery outbursts in an internationally recognized kitchen. It pays tribute to gastronomical and sugarmaking traditions, intent on conserving them and passing them on. Maple syrup is as unique and rare a product as truffles or caviar, and readers around the world will be introduced to the wide range of its qualities and uses.
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Speaking of recipes, all of which include maple syrup (from tablespoons to liters, depending on the dish), you'll have to keep an open mind regarding what you might consider edible. In addition to standard desserts and roasts and sandwiches, you'll also find some unusual recipes such as squirrel sushi, accompanied by rather graphic photos regarding their preparation and eventual presentation. This book is absolutely not for vegetarians, or the squeamish. If you think meat only comes in styrofoam trays at the supermarket, you may want to stay away from this book.
The overall length of individual recipes may be off-putting, but there's a lot of technique in this cooking. Some recipes are most likely lost on home cooks who may not have access to certain ingredients, or who don't have the space or necessary equipment. But that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable reading, nevertheless. Most recipes, however, are within the realm of the average home cook's capabilities. All are clearly written and illustrated.
In all this is a solid effort, and it's obvious that Mr. Picard has a true passion for meats and, most of all, maple syrup.
Highly recommended whether you plan to cook from it or not.
If this is your first look at Au Pied de Cochon, I would still recommend their original cook book as a starter. This is a maple celebration/explosion and extremely centric on a single season of Quebec cooking. The original book is a great place to see the full spectrum of Au Pied de Cochon and how their dishes change through the seasons.
Granted this is a specialized theory, but it doesn't take much to feel out whats applicable for your level of cookery.
I cook for a living so this book turned me on big time..I can't wait to go see for myself..killing it with the food and appearing to have a blast doing so..perfect.