Top positive review
A good first textbook for the student cook or interested home cook.
on February 25, 2011
Charcuterie has become ever more popular and is being done by many small delis and restaurants. Even home cooks are getting into the act. This book is a professional quality text from the Culinary Institute of America to teach its students the entire process of charcuterie from choosing the right equipment, you make. The drawings and pictures are impressive and the teaching process is very good. If you read and follow this text carefully you will be well on your way to learning how to prepare salamis, sausages, pates, and other cooked, seasoned, and preserved meats.
This book has nine chapters. The first four deal with the basic equipment you will need, the spices, herbs & seasonings you will use, the kinds of meats (beef, pork, poultry & seafood) you can use and where he are cut from the animal, and the all-important issue of sanitation. Making something that can make you, your guests, or customers sick or worse is no good at all.
The next four chapters show the techniques of curing & brining, smoking, forcemeats, and sausages. Each chapter is more than half recipes you can make using the techniques shown early in the book and specifically in each of these chapters. There are many beautiful pictures and helpful illustrations to help you see what you need to do and what you are aiming to create.
The last chapter is full of recipes for sauces, chutneys, relishes, and all kinds of flavor accompaniments for your charcuterie. The back material also includes resources you can use to study more and pick up the equipment you need. There are also conversion tables, a glossary, and two indexes - one for the subjects and another for the recipes.
This is a handsome book and I think it looks great. It reads very well. I think the target market is the student or home cook looking for a way into the subject rather than as the definitive book for an experienced professional. But I have not made the things in this book. I lack the equipment to do so. However, I hope to get some and make some of these things. It looks like a lot of fun. I hope you enjoy doing it for yourself.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI