Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes Hardcover – Sep 16 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Persuasively arguing that the never-ending quest for "health" has gone too far, McLagan's elegant and informed look at this most maligned ingredient is appropriately unctuous. A crucial part of our diets, fat not only provides health benefits but pure pleasure: few ingredients can carry flavor the way fat does. Breaking the topic down into categories (butter, pork, poultry, beef-and-lamb), McLagan carefully chooses recipes that showcase the role of fat in imparting and carrying flavor. Versatile butter adds richness to pastry dough, a sweet nuttiness to Brown Butter Ice Cream, thickens classic sauces and can be used to gently poach scallops. A classic BLT gets a jolt of flavor from bacon-fat mayonnaise, and sliced Yukon Gold potatoes cooked in duck fat are practically ambrosial. While there's a fair number of indulgent dishes (3-inch bone-in ribeyes served with a red wine sauce and roasted bone marrow, a pork-fat laden twist on peanut brittle), McLagan emphasizes flavor and application over decadence. Digressions like those on the history of Crisco, fat as an art medium and a thoughtful look at foie gras are welcome and enlightening. Her mixture of science, cultural anthropology and culinary imagination are intoxicating, making this a crucial work on the topic.
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“The appeal of Fat is the superb research McLagan has done on the area of fat. She explodes myths and talks history, facts and fiction with passion. Her thesis is that fat gives irreplaceable flavour to food and anyone who cuts fat from their diet loses taste and pleasure. But the book is more than that. It gives you the building blocks to understand the place of fat in our diet. It tells of cultural associations with fat and gives lots of tips. I cannot say that I always agree with her, but I hugely enjoyed reading the book, and controversy is always a flavour-enhancer.”
— Lucy Waverman, Globe and Mail
“Persuasively arguing that the never-ending quest for “health” has gone too far, McLagan’s elegant and informed look at this most maligned ingredient is appropriately unctuous…..Digressions like those on the history of Crisco, fat as an art medium and a thoughtful look at foie gras are welcome and enlightening. Her mixture of science, cultural anthropology and culinary imagination are intoxicating, making this a crucial work on the topic.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Jennifer McLagan’s substantial and by no means unserious Fat…furnishes information on rendering, deep and shallow frying, grating suet, preparing marrow and a host of similar topics, filling the book’s margins with fat-related anecdotes and lore. None of which would matter if her recipes weren’t brilliant. Most of them aren’t for neophytes, but they reward the effort.”
— Craig Seligman, New York Times Book Review
“There is this new book called, quite simply, Fat. How irresistible is that? Written by Jennifer McLagan and subtitled “an appreciation of a misunderstood ingredient,” it has more appeal than most, and deliciously follows the current (formerly politically incorrect) trend of revisiting some of those treasured ingredients that have fallen upon hard times.”
— Mark Bittman, New York Times
“Best of all are the recipes, more than 100 in all, for dishes that each sound more scrumptious from the last, including puff pastry, duck confit, sautéed foie gras, rillettes, shortbread, butter chicken, cassoulet and traditional plum pudding made with grated suet that McLagan champions for its versatility and texture-enhancing properties.”
— Lesley Chesterman, The Gazette (Montreal)
“Even in the niche-happy land of cookbook publishing, Jennifer McLagan’s latest title stands out. Fat collects dozens of gourmet recipes that span a variety of cuisines and food types, but they all share a judicious use of, well, fat. The book should be celebrated for providing an education as essential to cooking as its subject.”
— Shaun Smith, Quill & Quire
“A rollicking journey through the kingdom of unrepentant, glorious, and filthy rich fat. McLagan has a superb sense of balance on the plate….”
— T. Susan Chang, Boston Globe
“I love this book! There are very few cookbooks published today that add something truly new and distinctive to the literature of food and cooking. Jennifer McLagan’s Fat is a smart, thoughtful book that ultimately asks us to understand our food better.”
— Michael Ruhlman
“McLagan's book is a smart, sensual celebration of the flavorful animal fats prized by chefs and shunned by a generation of lipo-phobes. Her French Fries in Lard may change your life forever.”— People Magazine
“An unapologetic celebration of its title ingredient and a compelling argument that explains not only why fat is a fundamental flavor but also fundamental to our health.”
“Mouth-watering is the only way to describe the recipes…The combination of traditional dishes from many countries with new creations – brown butter ice cream is just one – is likely to get anyone scurrying into the kitchen. Ms. McLagan's advocacy of animal fat as a vital ingredient that should not be a bogeyman has considerable merit.”
— Claire Hopley, Washington Post
“If obsessing over fat and calories is beginning to fall out of fashion, Jennifer McLagan is here to show the way. Along with wide ranging recipes, McLagan provides treatises on the history, the health benefits, and the uses of each type of fat. And along the way are engaging sidebars on fat-related cultural moments, literary epigrams and folk sayings.”
“Love crispy bacon, artisanal butters, flaky pastries? Be it butter or lard, fat is used by just about every culture to enhance the taste of food. Jennifer McLagan includes a variety of sweet and savory recipes that make the most of the frequently maligned ingredient.”
— Bon Appetit Magazine
“The top of our holiday reading list is an extraordinary treatise on a much-maligned ingredient. Fat is the title and the sole topic of Jennifer McLagan's wide-ranging book…. It's one of those rare cookbooks that adds up to the culinary equivalent of a bodice ripper, packed with a ton of interesting social history and anecdotes that you'll want to read before jumping into the recipes.”
— Vancouver Courier
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Fantastic book. My favorite of all Jennifer's books. A real gem for any culinary carnivore.Published 2 months ago by D.S.
Spectacular book on the facts surrounding the uses and benefits of fat in the culinary world.Published 10 months ago by LINDSAY