Dirt Candy: A Cookbook: Flavor-Forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant Paperback – Aug 21 2012
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“The book . . . is chock-full of recipes and is an entertaining read. You’ll feel as if you know Cohen personally by the end of it, you’ll probably want to eat more vegetables, and you’ll certainly have a lot more respect for any professional chef in the kitchen, and vegetarian food, for that matter.”
“Rarely do I find a cookbook that not only is instructional and precise in its teaching, but funny, emotional, smart, and graphically thrilling. That cookbook is Dirt Candy. . . . Why has no one written a cookbook like this before? It’s BRILLIANT! . . . This is a book I could not put down once I opened it.”
“The writing is breezy and Dunlavey’s art is amusing and animated. This would make a terrific gift for the cooks in your life, even if they aren’t comics readers. Not only will they enjoy it, but it’s a way of leading them through our comics door.”
Comics Buyer’s Guide
“Now Cohen is sharing her secrets for taking vegetables to whole new heights, in her recently released Dirt Candy cookbook. The book is unique in that it’s also a graphic novel that tells the story behind the restaurant and conveys the frenzy of opening an eatery in New York City.”
About the Author
AMANDA COHEN is the chef-owner of Dirt Candy, an all-vegetable restaurant located in New York City’s East Village that is recommended by the Michelin guide. Cohen, who has written about food for Saveur, Eater, Salon, and Esquire, was the first vegetarian chef invited to compete on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. She and her restaurant have been featured in the New York Times, Food & Wine, and The New Yorker.
RYAN DUNLAVEY is a New York City–based artist whose work includes The Comic Book History of Comics, MODOK: Reign Delay, Tommy Atomic, and the Xeric and ALA award-winning Action Philosophers.
GRADY HENDRIX has written for Variety, Slate, Playboy and is coauthor of The Magnolia League, a young adult series from Little, Brown. He is married to Amanda Cohen.
Top Customer Reviews
As for the recipes, while I am sure they are delicious, they are beyond the reach of most home cooks. I was not terribly excited by the pickles chapter as I do a lot of home canning, and her recipes are mostly fridge pickles. The recipes are very complicated, involving many steps, and often involving techniques I would rarely use at home like smoking and deep-frying. There are also many, many homemade pasta recipes, but I have sworn off making pasta by hand until I have a pasta machine!
All of that being said, I really enjoyed this cookbook. I figure it's more aspirational than practical, but it's still lots of fun. There's lots of little tips that explain the reason behind certain techniques.
The big one is that Ms. Cohen now gets to claim "geek cred" among a specific potential customer base. Her character, "Comics Amanda," is decidedly unglamourous, somewhat paranoid and plagued by fits of self-doubt interspersed with tantrums of frustration -- in other words, a character that comics and fandom can identify with. She's rendered simply and rough-sketchily by Dunlavey but gains a high degree of facial expressiveness as a result. When she sets her arm on fire (to illustrate to an reporter character how her work has affected her health), it communicates far more about the stresses of working life in a restaurant than mere words in a paragraph by Anthony Bourdain.
This is perhaps the real value of Dirt Candy the book: it tries to "sell the place" (which is, after all, what most restaurant-based cookbooks do) not by piling on the glamour and philosophy, but by trying to demythologize (i.e. in contrast with traditional food writing) and present an honest view of the trials and tribulations of a small place with a big reputation.
As for techniques and recipes, well, some of the basics are incorporated well in the main text, and more than a few of the recipes get artwork on their own. Here Dunlavey's art takes on the role of diagrams in an instruction manual: when it comes to plating some of the dishes, the ingredients become separated components which are directed in placement by arrows.Read more ›
presidential gourmet fine catering catered the toronto book launch party, we used the book's recipes to recreate amanda's food and they worked perfectly.
loved the comic book motif of the book, an engaging read.
Most recent customer reviews
Innovative, funny, original! I thought I would dislike the comic strips but, surprise!, I loved it. I would have preferred more recipes though...Published on Aug. 15 2013 by Luc Racine