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A Country Cook's Kitchen: Time-Tested Kitchen Skills

Locavores, Foodies, and Food Adventurers Rejoice!

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Book Jacket for A Country Cook's Kitchen

A Country Cook's Kitchen: Time-Tested Kitchen Skills

Whether you have caught onto the locavore trend and find yourself spending most of your free time at farmer's markets, enjoy discovering restaurants that cook with fresh local ingredients, or simply like to take a nice Sunday drive into the country to pick up artisan made products, you're going to savor reading and using this book.

Make Your Own Artisan Food Gifts

So many of us have grown to appreciate the quality of small batch produced food products. Perhaps it's because farmer's markets have been popping up along our local roads, inviting us to stop for fresh-picked fruits and vegetables, and in the process picking up the fresh breads, jams, and cheeses produced by the farms. Or maybe it's because we've grown nostalgic for home-canned goodies that our grandmothers once made and gave to every relative and neighbor as gifts around the holidays. But once you've tried these artisan products, you realize there's a difference, and wonder if you too can create food magic in your own kitchen.

The answer is a resounding "yes" if you have a copy of "A Country Cook's Kitchen" waiting for your next cooking adventure. Author Alison Walker is the food and drink editor at "Country Living" and is considered Britain's authority on country culinary traditions, particularly those involving seasonal ingredients. She shares her clear expertise throughout this book, breaking them into five main categories: baking; dairy; preserving; bottling and liqueurs; curing and potting.

Each chapter explains the main ingredients necessary for the technique, the equipment required, and gives basic recipes with many suggested variations. For example, in the Dairy chapter Walker begins with a basic recipe for making butter followed by variations including salted, cinnamon, herb and anchovy butters (any of which can be applied to purchased butter if you choose to pass on making the basic recipe). If you're hosting a tea party, the clotted cream recipe will be perfect to serve with your scones. Or, if cheese is what you crave in dairy products, you'll find recipes for soft goat cheese that can be included in your next cheese board, ricotta for making cheesecake, or mascarpone for a special pasta dish.

Did I Mention the Photographs?

As much as I like to play in the kitchen, I don't have nearly as much time as I would like. That's when my kitchen time turns to reading my cookbooks and savoring the photos of recipes I dream about cooking someday. And this book is full of dream photos to keep me motivated to cook. The photographs convey the feeling of a country store, with pages that carry the look of worn barn plank shelves displaying their wares. Even if you can't find the time to smoke your own organic bacon or trout, you can read how it's done while imagining the final result. And though you may not have the time to smoke your own trout, you may find the time to prepare Smoked Trout Fishcakes with Tartare Sauce if you can purchase the smoked fish in a local specialty food shop.

So Who Should Pass Up this Book?

If you prefer your food to be prepared by large, commercial food manufacturers, you'll probably not appreciate the charm of this book. If you're perfectly happy to do all of your shopping in a conventional supermarket, this may not be the guide for you. In addition, if you only want quickie recipes and never find yourself browsing cookbooks just for fun, you can do without this book, as well.

But if you enjoy dreaming about your next trip down a country lane, hoping to discover the next country store and the food possibilities waiting to be found, you'll want this book to tide you over until you can take your next road trip. Ad if one of your free time hobbies is spending time in your kitchen making specialty foods to impress your friends the next time you entertain or give as gifts on special occasions, this book deserves a special place on your kitchen shelves.

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