REVIEW by Cristina Morozzi
Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, by Pellegrino Artusi, and The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book by Alice B.Toklas
As the holiday season approaches, our thoughts turn to gift exchanges, parties with colleagues, friends and family, and traditional festive treats and dishes. And while some decide to celebrate the holidays in a restaurant, for many of us holiday meals mean traditional, homemade dishes that are made from scratch instead of experimental ones prepared by chefs. And since in difficult times going backwards is an effective lifeline, we point you to two somewhat special, old-fashioned cookbooks with simple and tasty recipes.
A classic book which was published over a century ago, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well by Pellegrino Artusi, continues to be highly successful, along with The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book by Alice B. Toklas, companion of Gertrude Stein, a Paris resident and patron of artists who was born into a Jewish family of German descent.
A meatloaf recipe by Pellegrino Artusi testifies to his elegant, humorous way of writing and his narrative approach: “Come along, Mr Meatloaf, don’t hang around: I want to introduce you to my readers. I know that you are modest and humble because, given your origins, you know yourself less than others; but be brave and do not doubt that with a few words said in your favor, you will find someone who will want to taste you and who will even enjoy you.” Despite the humble origins of the meatloaf, which in this recipe is made using leftover boiled meats, this dish is tasty and one that many will happily eat.
Instead Toklas, who was an American who moved to Paris, unveils tricks in French cooking: “Add red wine when preparing beef, white wine to chicken, veal and pork. Two tablespoons of cognac added to beef and mutton give a very special flavor…Cream should be added to sauces at the last moment so that it does not overheat or boil; it should be blended by shaking the pan, not stirring.”