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Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore Hardcover – Oct 13 2005


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Frequently Bought Together

Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore + Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes + Odd Bits
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cookbooks (Oct. 13 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060585374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060585372
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.1 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this expansive tome, food stylist and writer McLagan offers an alternative to the rubbery chicken breasts and fish filets now standard in Western cookery. By eliminating bones (and fat) from our diet, McLagan passionately argues, we've traded flavor for health and efficiency. Indeed, her book operates on the premise that the pleasure of gnawing on a lamb chop cannot be underestimated. More than a cookbook, this is a compendium of folklore, literary quotes and historical facts that refer to bones' significance across cultures from ancient times to today. There are chapters on beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish and game, each with an introductory section explaining anatomy and recommended cooking temperatures. Sidebars offer suggestions for carving, using unlikely parts, and recovering endangered bone-cooking arts like "spatchcocking," or removing the wishbone from a bird. McLagan's recipes range from arcane (Lancashire Hot Pot, which traditionally consists of a deep dish of stew covered with a potato crust, and long lamb bones piercing through the topping) to contemporary continental (Osso Bucco with Fennel and Blood Orange Sauce). While some recipes are time-consuming, McLagan's instructions are generally clear and precise. With its emphasis on tradition and technique, this work won't appeal to the 20-minute chef, but it will be a welcome addition to the slow-food aficionado's library. Photos. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jennifer McLagan has more than twenty-five years of experience in the food world. She has worked as a chef in her native Australia, as well as in London and Paris. Now based in Toronto, she survives the frozen north by escaping as often as possible to Paris with her husband, Haralds. She is very friendly with her butchers on both sides of the Atlantic and they put their best bones aside for her.

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Most helpful customer reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Norton on Nov. 20 2005
Format: Hardcover
From the first receipe I tried I was won over.
Beefsteak Fiorentina is the fastest way that you can satisfy the need for meat that I've tried so far.
The simplicity of the writing is such that one easily understands what they need to do to achieve success. But there is enough detail and history that those of us with a need for information will be satisfied and digging for more.
The illustrations and photographs complete the straightforward design of the book, which will make it a neccessary addition to any meat lovers library.
It's a purchase that you won't regret.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. J. Thompson TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 6 2011
Format: Hardcover
I recently reviewed this same author's book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes and gave it a well-deserved 5 stars. I am afraid I cannot do that here. When my wife saw the book she said she thought it would be hard to fill a book this size with interesting stuff about bones. She was half-joking but after reading it I think she may have been correct. There was some fairly decent stuff on making stock from bones but nothing I haven't seen elsewhere. Most of the other recipes were not very special; there was a recipe for Chicken with Riesling, for example, that was nice enough, but the only relevance it had to the book topic was that it used drumsticks (ie: the meat was still on the bone. Indeed, that pretty much seemed to be the rationale for including the vast bulk of the recipes in this book. As a final criticism, although the dearth of pictures in 'Fat' did not diminish the value of the book in my mind, here it did. Pictures are always helpful in cookery books but in this case some pictures illustrating the carving and jointing techniques described would REALLY have been helpful.
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Format: Hardcover
After two years of longing for this wonderful book, I finally ordered it from Amazon in time to prepare a 18 pound Baron of Beef for my daughters wedding. It was a daunting task as it is not an every day occurance and represents a major investment. Bones walked me through the preparations of the Au Jus in advance of the wedding and guided me through the perfect preparation of our Baron. It was all perfect and the book is an inspiration for future meals, something you do not get when just downloading recipes from the various cooking sites. A real keeper.
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By Doug W. Murray TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Nov. 18 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I now have, use and recommend 3 of McLagan's books. I find them very helpful when trying to use the whole works and convince others to do so.

Doug Murray
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 28 reviews
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Great Recipes and Great Foodie Read. Buy It Now! July 27 2006
By B. Marold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
`Bones' by Australian chef and culinary writer, Jennifer McLagen, currently of Toronto, Canada is a major contribution to our understanding of so many things which are good about food, and which we have forgotten, or tend to ignore. There is a conventional wisdom, aphoristic expressions of which are sprinkled liberally about the margins of this work, which endorses the value of bones and the meat which lies closest to same. And yet, my mother, in the name of modern culinary frugality, and in spite of growing up in a Pennsylvania Dutch household that should have known better, constantly harangues me on not buying meat with embedded bones. This leads to all sorts of cases where I'm entreated to give up the joys of a leg of lamb on the bone, not to mention lamb shanks or `osso buco'.

The pretext is that pound for pound, the boneless meat is a better value for the money. This monotone doctrine is probably wrong much of the time even if one did a careful pound of protein per dollar analysis of the two products, but that misses the point. This book is one long argument for the value added obtained from bones with our meat.

One thing I wish to stress is that one should not assume this book is a long essay or memoir in the style of Peter Kaminsky's `Pig Perfect'. The subtitle, `Recipes, History, & Lore' is a quite accurate statement of the distribution of content between recipes and `other stuff'. In fact, one can easily acquire this book as a general cookbook on how to cook animal protein, as it covers protein on the hoof, on the wing, and on (and in) the water. Virtually the only kind of protein it does not cover are those beasties such as the crustaceans and mollusks who wear their stiffening body parts on the outside.

Specifically, the author has chapters on:

Beef and Veal, including Bison

Pork

Lamb

Poultry, including game birds

Fish, round and flat

Game, primarily venison and related meat on the hoof

Boneologue, with bone derived desserts, if you can believe it.

The two primary values derived from bone are gelatin and marrow. The first is one of those great universal ingredients, almost as valuable as lard or sugar, in the cooking of France. In fact, if one were to look for those things that most distinguish French cuisine from all others, it would probably include the use of gelatin in both stocks, desserts, and aspics used to keep food fresh on the buffet table. In comparison, marrow is almost a footnote, roughly similar to bottarga as an esoteric ingredient.

With the importance of bony gelatin in stocks, it is no surprise that virtually every chapter but the last begins with a recipe for the appropriate stock. So, this book becomes also a great reference for making meat and fish stocks.

It is no surprise that in a book on animal bones, there will be diagrams of the skeletons of each type of animal. This may be one of my few complaints about the book, in that for their relative importance, they are relatively small and poorly annotated. I can get much more by looking up the butchering diagrams in my Larousse Gastronomique. Similarly, I thing much of the discussion would have been much more illuminating if pictures of the various types of cuts were on display. This would have been much more valuable than the artsy black and white pics of cleaned bones and color pics of dishes, which I rarely look at in a cookbook anyway. But let us not let this distract you from a truly rich and readable cookbook.

As all recipes deal with bony cuts, I am especially pleased that so many of the recipes are braises. There are so many that Ms. McLagan makes special mention of the technique she learned from Thomas Keller's `The French Laundry Cookbook' of laying a circle of parchment paper on top of the braising meat and liquid. As Sara Moulton found out when she learned this technique from Jacques Pepin, this is not a personal `trick' dreamt up by some modern chef, it is actually a well-established practice in the French restaurant kitchen.

This is just one example of the great care Ms. McLagan applies to her recipe writing. Every recipe has its little hints and suggestions and warnings to prevent an inadvertent drying out. She is especially good on the proper technique of using the instant read or permenantly installed thermometer. This point alone makes the book important for amateur cooks.

The selection of recipes is just the right mix of familiar and unusual dishes. If you happen to own a substantial library of cookbooks, there is more than enough here to interest you. The recipes for game and the notes on cooking Bison and Beefalo alone are worth the price of admission.

For an average cookbook price, you get lots of great recipes for animal protein plus lots of entertaining wit and wisdom on making the most of the bones before the dog gets a hold of them.
79 of 83 people found the following review helpful
a real cookbook for real eaters Nov. 23 2005
By Laura Calder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
With so many overnight cooking sensations (people who don't actually know anything about food) and so many quick and breezy non-recipes floating around of the toss-spaghetti-with-olive oil-and-pepper variety, it is a relief for serious eaters like me and for people interested in real cooking to come across a proper cookbook like Bones.

BONES is clever idea (McLagan deserves points just for coming up with it), well-researched, timely (I'd almost say urgent) and very beautiful to look at. Above all, this book is an inspiration for better eating by someone who really knows her food.

I've made Jennifer McLagan's recipes from magazine articles before and my experience is that they are always imaginative (without being wildly exotic) and they always work. Every recipe I have tried has been beautiful and delicious. Recommended.
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful & Just a little Unusual June 15 2007
By Rabid Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This will indeed sound strange: I am preferentially a vegetarian (which means that I love and prefer vegetables and such, but will also occasionally eat meat, but only if it's wonderful and worth it). "Worth it" does not begin to describe some of this food! I am also an experienced cook and a total foodie who owns several hundred well-used cookbooks, and I just loved this book. I received it as a gift and happily sat up half Christmas night just reading it and drooling. Marvelous information! Marvelous recipes! Excellent writing! If you've never experimented with cooking with bones--you must try. It's classic cuisine but somewhat unusual now in home kitchens. (How many people do you know who would recognize, let alone own a marrow spoon?) I loved this book SO much that I have now myself given it as a gift to the two best cooks I know--and I didn't wait for their birthdays or Xmas to roll around, either!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Not as good as I expected Jan. 6 2011
By C. J. Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I recently reviewed this same author's book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes and gave it a well-deserved 5 stars. I am afraid I cannot do that here. When my wife saw the book she said she thought it would be hard to fill a book this size with interesting stuff about bones. She was half-joking but after reading it I think she may have been correct. There was some fairly decent stuff on making stock from bones but nothing I haven't seen elsewhere. Most of the other recipes were not very special; there was a recipe for Chicken with Riesling, for example, that was nice enough, but the only relevance it had to the book topic was that it used drumsticks (ie: the meat was still on the bone. Indeed, that pretty much seemed to be the rationale for including the vast bulk of the recipes in this book. As a final criticism, although the dearth of pictures in 'Fat' did not diminish the value of the book in my mind, here it did. Pictures are always helpful in cookery books but in this case some pictures illustrating the carving and jointing techniques described would REALLY have been helpful.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
No Bones About It Dec 3 2005
By J. Norton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
From the first receipe I tried I was won over.

Beefsteak Fiorentina is the fastest way that you can satisfy the need for meat that I've tried so far.

The simplicity of the writing is such that one easily understands what they need to do to achieve success. But there is enough detail and history that those of us with a need for information will be satisfied and digging for more.

The illustrations and photographs complete the straightforward design of the book, which will make it a neccessary addition to any meat lovers library.

It's a purchase that you won't regret.


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