How important are cookbooks in your life and why do you read them? Inspiration, information, or transformation? Are you a cook who reads or a reader who cooks? I ask because, The London Cookbook: Recipes from the Restaurants, Cafes, and Hole-in-the-Wall Gems of a Modern City has crossed my path. It’s as thrilling to read as it is enjoyable to cook by. So I’m going to do something I never do. I’m going to skip the recipes in this review (for now). I’m not going to recreate a recipe (just yet). Instead, I’m going to talk about how the words made me feel as both a reader and a cook.
The London Cookbook is by Aleksandra Crapanzano who has a pedigree as a writer that’s very impressive. The James Beard Foundation gave her the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Distinguished Writing. Her work has appeared in all the food magazines that matter.
But that’s her resume. I want to talk about her words. Sure this book provides some enthusiast encouragement to get into the kitchen and cook. The carefully curated collection of recipes culled from the city’s best chefs will certainly stoke your wildest dinner party fantasies. But more importantly, I find The London Cookbook not just inspiring but motivating.
In the best sections of this book, the author expresses her excitement in discovering the “not to be missed” restaurants of a city she obviously adores. Perhaps it’s the thrill of discovering a new chef or simply distilling a well-known restaurant’s allure into one perfect dish. Crapanzano speaks to a food lover like me with a passion that borders of provocation. In other words, if you’re a serious cook, this book will ignite the fervor that brought you to the kitchen if the first place. Some of the recipes may seem daunting, but they’re explained with precision – in words familiar to all home cooks.
I live in Los Angeles and like London, there are always new neighborhoods and world-class restaurants to get excited about. The quest to experience them is a large part of what makes living in a giant metropolis so exciting. Crapanzano’s words translate the thrill of discovery into the belief that food so glorious can be achieved at home with nothing more than the skills this book so artfully explains.
There will be more to come from this book on this blog, I’m sure. GREG
I received a review copy of The London Cookbook: Recipes from the Restaurants, Cafes, and Hole-in-the-Wall Gems of a Modern City. All opinions are my own.