Old-School Comfort Food-The Way I Learned to Cook by Alex Guarnaschelli
Published by Clarkson Potter ISBN 978-0-307-95655-2
Hardcover, $30, 304 pages
She was very funny and blunt in her talk, and I enjoyed her stories about growing up on 55th Street and 7th Ave. in Manhattan. Her mother edited cookbooks and her father was an adventurous cook himself, so Alex learned much about food from both of them. (My post on her talk is here.)
Her cookbook Old-School Comfort Food- The Way I Learned to Cook is a terrific blend of stories and recipes that she created. She is a wonderful writer, and her voice comes through clearly in her stories. The beginning of the book, with her fascinating food history from helping her mother with recipes in her childhood to her culinary education working in the kitchens of famous chefs like Guy Savoy in France and Daniel Boulud in New York, could be expanded to a full length autobiography it is so interesting. (I loved the Prince story!)
Sometimes cookbooks by chefs contain recipes that as I peruse them I think "that is too complicated for me", and frankly after reading Guarnaschelli's history I thought that might be the case here. She has incredible skills that I do not possess.
But looking through the book I had over a dozen post-it notes for recipes I want to try, including:
- Broccoli and Onion Dip
- White Mushrooms on Toast
- Arugula and Strawberry Salad
- Beef Meatballs and Sauce with Rigatoni
- Braided Short Rib French Onion Soup
The recipe for Beef Meatballs and Sauce with Rigatoni is available on her website here.
At the end of the book Guarnaschelli has a section titled "Sources" that lists some of her "old-school favorite places to explore new ingredients or taste a bit of nostalgia." Since she lives in New York, many of the places are there, and that means I will be adding them to my list of places to explore. It's great that she tells you which vendors to visit at Union Square's Greenmarket.
I wasn't sure that this would be a cookbook that I would like or use, but I'm so glad that I got a signed copy at the Open House. It's always fun to find something you didn't expect.
rating 4 of 5