Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium Of Recipes And Cooking Lessons From San Francisco's Hardcover – Sep 24 2002
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Judy Rodgers, chef-owner of San Francisco's Zuni Cafe, has produced a true classic with The Zuni Cafe Cookbook. This book gives the cook and the reader two accessible temptations: to read from cover to cover, and to cook from cover to cover. One of the great voices in food writing today, Judy Rodgers truly stands shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the master food writers who have preceded and influenced her. Her writing is as delicious as the famous Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad, as simple and elegant as the Zuni Cafe Caesar Salad.
While firmly anchored in the food sentiments of California, Rodgers explores the honest cuisine généreuse of France, Tuscany, Umbria, Sicily, Catalonia, and Greece. Her chapter "Small Dishes to Start a Meal" runs to 65 pages! Look for her Lentil-Sweet Red Pepper Soup with Cumin and Black Pepper, her Citrus Risotto, and her Tomato Summer Pudding. Be sure to try Short Ribs Braised in Chimay Ale, and Rabbit with Marsala and Prune-Plums. Chapters are devoted to eggs, starchy dishes, sausage and charcuterie, and the cheese course; you'll also find all the basic chapters one might expect. Throughout, Gerald Asher provides insight into matching wines with foods.
Rodgers's natural instinct is to share and to teach, and the instructional material in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook is like a deep-tissue massage, improving any cook's posture and performance. Rodgers's fine book invites both the novice and the experienced cook to delve deep into the heart of real food and real cooking. --Schuyler Ingle
From Publishers Weekly
Rodgers, chef-owner of the Zuni Cafe, cooks like a dream and writes like one, too. Both an extended tutorial and an autobiography in recipes, the book opens with a fascinating account of her formative experiences as a 16-year-old in Roanne, France, where she spent a year at a three-star restaurant taking reams of notes and occasionally peeling vegetables. The introduction is followed by a series of brief, thoughtful essays on the practice of cooking. While readers in the market for a few quick supper ideas might greet so much preamble with impatience not until the eighth chapter does she get around to some recipes most will appreciate her insistence on principles like "What to Think About Before You Start" and "Finding Flavor and Balance." In stunning detail, she explains how to salt a cod and cure a rabbit and brine a fowl and stuff a sausage. One would not be surprised to turn a page and find a description of how to slaughter a sheep. The book includes the recipes that have made her reputation, such as the Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad, plus other fare from appetizers through dessert like Oxtails Braised in Red Wine and Shrimp Cooked in Romesco with Wilted Spinach. Unlike many chefs who style themselves as creative forces, Rodgers has a deep sense of how, as she puts it, "the simplest dish can recall a community of ideas and people." Rodgers's cookbook embodies that ideal beautifully.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book won two James Beard awards and Rodgers garnered a third Beard Award for best chef last year, making it a true hat trick for Rodgers and the Zuni Café. From what I have seen in this book, it earned every bit of recognition it has garnered.
The only recent American book I know which is comparable to this book in the quality of its lessons is 'Jeremiah Tower Cooks'. This book succeeds at an even higher level than Tower since the older writer has some strong opinions on some not entirely universally held opinions. Tower redeems himself by making his book just that much more engaging by so energetically endorsing these controversial opinions.
Rodgers engages in no controversy. Her lessons in cooking follow the straight and narrow of French technique mellowed by her beautifully plain doctrines about using simple equipment. Before I get too far, I must warn the reader that what people like Rodgers and Colicchio mean by simple is much different from what the fast cooking maestros such as Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, and Ann Byrn mean.Read more ›
That said, I rarely consult this cookbook unless I am planning a special meal and have a fair amount of time on my hands. For everyday feeding the household-type fare, I often turn to a more comprehensive reference like Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
Page after page is loaded with information, a tip and guideline for everyday cooking on each page. The recipes require little else than a bit of enterprise and a willingness to work for your meal.
And let me tell you, it's worth it. The book is a wealth of imformation. Judy Rodgers holds nothing back. She does not simply give you the way she prepares her oysters, but rather a story on her first oyster, an explanation on how, where, and when to pick them, a thorough run-through of oyster classification, the way to shuck them, and a simple method of serving. Five pages. Seven pages on her theory and stories behind duck confit. Fifty-seven pages on introductory cooking technique and theory.
Judy Rodgers focuses on simple (some may disagree with me about that) French, Italian, and Mediteranean food with a light-handed California touch. "This book gives the cook and the reader two accessible temptations: to read from cover to cover, and to cook from cover to cover." Too true.
The recipes are wonderfully hearty and simple. "Mock Porcetta" (a simple herby pork roast) is great for any small dinner party. "Zuni Salt-Cured Anchovies" are a fun but not extreme break from what most would consider ordinary and a great jump-off point to begin experimentation.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
So far I've made two recipes and both were outstanding! One was "Zuni Chicken with Bread Salad". Well worth the numerous steps and far easier than it would appear. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Francis
Good forward explaining how she developed as a chef and her philosophy of cooking. A lot of excellent recipes that feature ingredients more than complicated technique.Published 7 months ago by Ernest Babynec
I skimmed this book and in it I found the practical kitchen chef of la bonne femme and science. I cooked with Judy in New York and her explanations in the book resonate. Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2013 by Mark Midensky
a must have cookbook, as well as a good source for recipes thee is a wealth of cooking information and tips, in the forefront of my libararyPublished on March 31 2012 by E. lum
I love this cookbook. It is full of inspirational ideas and delectable recipes. It is not just a cookbook with a number of dishes in it, it has a wealth of information about how to... Read morePublished on March 16 2010 by Nemesis Adrasteia
The Zuni Cafe Cookbook is a new classic in my kitchen. It includes both recipes and classic cooking principles that can be applied to other cooking adventures. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by C. Reznicek
This has become my favorite cookbook. I enjoy cooking but have a world to learn. However, another book with "300 new recipes" is the last thing I need, I have plenty of... Read morePublished on May 12 2004
Recipes from a popular San Francisco institution and culinary tradition are packed in here, with dishes providing a delightful array of innovative and refreshing ideas, from Spicy... Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2004 by Midwest Book Review