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Tons of Recipes, But a Poor Cookbook
le 14 juin 2001
This is a recipe book that reads like your mother's recipe cards: lists of ingredients and how to combine them, but nothing about the technique or the science of what you're trying to make. You couldn't find a better book of recipies for ice cream. But if you want to know the whys and hows of ice cream making, this is a poor excuse for a cookbook.
Recipies, recipies, recipies!--not only for chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, but for corn, avocado, and oatmeal--this is certainly the right book for those looking for variety. Weinstein has done a fabulous job in assembling old-fashioned favorites as well as nouvelle experiments. His inventiveness of new flavors is as delightful as the astonishing accuracy with which he recreates ice cream parlour favorites.
The problem I have with the book is that it's extremely lacking in every other aspect you expect from a good cookbook. Weinstein never discusses the cooking and prep technique he presents. You'd think ice cream was impossible without a food processor, which he calls for in almost every recipe (but you can easily make these recipies without it). He never mentions why I must boil the milk and later strain the mixture (You don't really, unless you're using unpasturized milk). And why must I refrigerate the ice cream before putting it in the ice cream maker? (Okay, maybe that's not so mysterious.) I also became suspicious when I found a recipe for choloclate ice cream (there are many) that calls for cocoa but never for salt. (Salt almost always improves the taste of cocoa and would have the added benefit of lowering the freezing point of your confection, helping it not to freeze solid if you cure it in the freezer.)
Finally, dispite the impressive quantity of recipes, you won't find a single one for gelato. In fact, Weinstein implies in his introduction that ice cream and gelato are basically the same. While it's true they are both custards, gelato never contains cream, so the taste and texture is entirely different. But perhaps that's a fair omission in a book on ice cream.
The book seems to be written for people who want to make a fine frozen custard, but who would never make such a thing if they knew it was called that. Just do what the book says and no one will get hurt. You won't really learn anything about what you're cooking, but you won't embarrass yourself either.