Sunday, July 27, 2008

Intuitive Cooking: Book Review

We've been on the road, and I have A LOT of catch-up to share with you as we've been cooking together in lots of ways over the last few weeks. So, more on that very soon. For now, here's a great and inspiring look at this 215 page cooking school.

Intuitive Cooking by Joanne Saltzman

For everyone who ever wanted to attend cooking school, but for some reason couldn’t. For everyone who strives to make the perfectly balanced, healthy, mouthwatering, and impeccably seasoned meal. For everyone who ever wanted to explore the uniqueness your food offers and dance with its whole energy. Here it is: Intuitive Cooking, the new book from the amazing people at The Book Publishing Company. Written by Joanne Saltzman, founder and director of the Natural School of Cookery in Boulder Colorado, this book will bring you to new level of cooking and is a must-have for anyone wanting more than a conventional cookbook offers.

Intuitive Cooking is divided into three sections. The first, The Alphabet and Grammar of Cooking, covers just what the title tells us, the language of cooking and how it all fits together into the different elements that make up a good meal. Saltzman introduces us to her own cooking vocabulary developed over years of experimentation and improvisational cooking. She is one chef who is truly connected to the ingredients she uses. Following Saltzman’s lead, you will be too.

The second section, Cooking Methods, includes information about the various methods for cooking, as well as information about pretreatments and sauces. This section is both complete and well written. Studied, this is the section of the book that will transform the way you approach the food you have on hand.

The final section, Primary Elements and Recipe Sketches, the bulk of the book, is stuffed full of nearly 400 mouth watering combinations. Organized by vegetable family (root, onion, vine, pod/seed, sea vegetable, flower, fruit, stalk, mushroom, beans, gluten, soybeans) it includes information on first and second stage methods, as well as for selection and storage.

This is not a recipe book, but rather a book of combinations. Users of this book are given the necessary background and ideas for vegetables, proteins, herbs and spices, oils, liquids and salt form to use, but the intuition you bring to it is entirely your own. Fortunately, Saltzman gives both inspiration and techniques for developing it.

In addition to the main sections, there are many charts and tables. A total resource guide, this glossary will serve as welcome information to both the beginner and experienced cook.

If you can’t spend weeks, months, or even years devoting yourself to cooking school, Joanne Saltzman’s Intuitive Cooking is the next best thing. It is truly a gift of a resource sure to help you find your creative self in the kitchen. The result will be a dinner table boasting healthy, balanced, perfectly seasoned meals made with whole foods, intuition and love.

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