The Basque Kitchen: Tempting Food from the Pyrenees Hardcover – Apr 21 1999
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Sometimes, when you are Basque, you speak English with a French accent. Sometimes, that accent will sound a little more Spanish than not, and yet you are still Basque. Such are the complications of one of the more peculiar pockets of humanity to be found. For the country occupied by the Basque people is in both France and Spain while remaining unique unto itself. The Basque language is like no other, and no one knows where it comes from. Even Basque DNA is different than the DNA of other Europeans. Food--the taking of meals--is central to the culture. In some places it's a little more French than Spanish; in other places in Basque country, just the opposite is likely to be true.
Chef and restaurant owner Gerald Hirigoyen invites the reader into The Basque Kitchen. In page after delicious-looking page, Hirigoyen presents what he most loves about the cuisine. And rather than suggest that what he so loves remain frozen in a museum of cuisine, he embraces the foods and cooking techniques he has encountered in Paris and California. His Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks with Onion Marmalade honors his uncle's tuna and onion casserole. But instead of covering a tuna steak with onions and olive oil in a casserole and cooking a long time, Hirigoyen prepares an onion marmalade, then pan sears thick ahi steaks until they are hot and rare, and serves it all on a bed of lentils. He's saying that you have to be Basque to get there, but now that we have all arrived, we're somewhere else, yet connected.
And what a marvelous connection. The vast majority of the foods to be encountered between the covers of The Basque Kitchen are simple in nature, yet complex in the flavors they deliver. Potato and chorizo tortilla, an omelet of onion, potato, chorizo, salt, pepper, and parsley, gains added radiance with a little piment d'Espelette, powdered small, dried red peppers with a distinct flavor. Steamed mussels are prepared with tomatoes, crusty bread cubes, white wine, parsley, and chives. It's a dish from St.-Jean-de-Luz, over which the author proposed to his wife.
Gerald Hirigoyen brings to life the foods of his youth and family, as well as foods he has created from experience and whimsy. Refusing to be confined by tradition, Hirigoyen takes inspiration from Basque tradition and demonstrates the timelessness of the Basque kitchen. The benefits for one and all are right there, page after page after page. --Schuyler Ingle
"To know how to eat is to know enough." -- Old Basque SayingSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
One of the top two chefs now working in Iparralde (i.e. the French part of the Basque Country), Christian Parra of L'Auberge de la Galupe in Urt (the other is Firmin Arrambide, of Les Pyrénées in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port), once told the French magazine Gault-Millau: "You know why the Spanish Basque chefs are better and more creative than we are? Because we all have a well-worn copy of Escoffier's cook next to our kitchen, and the Spanish Basques haven't even heard of Escoffier.Read more ›
For years, San Franciscans have been fortunate to enjoy Hirigoyen's exceptional talents for at Fringale and Pastis. Now those who wish to can experiment with his recipes at home. I particularly like the manner in which recipes bring Basque customs to American tables by using ingredients most folks can easily gather in local markets.
We can all learn from Gerald Hirigoyen and his wife how to enjoy fine food (and good wine!), not only in their restaurants, but in our own homes.
This book has become my favorite gift for friends!
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent book on the Basque culture and cooking. Refer also to the Basque Table. Both are excellent presentation of their cooking.Published 17 months ago by LINDSAY
This book is full of gorgeous pictures and inviting, unusual recipes. Most of the recipes are relatively simple, although some hard-to-find ingredients are used. Read morePublished on May 8 2004
Nestled between the two cusine powerhouses of France and Spain, the Basque are influenced by these two, yet retain and developed a food tangent of their own. Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2001 by rodboomboom
I took the book to France with me. It enriched my enjoyment of "Veal Stew With Peppers" in Espelette, and the mayor of that town (and owner of the restaurant where we... Read morePublished on June 13 2000 by FNU MNU LNU
I'm a tough customer for cookbooks, but this one is a winner on many fronts for me. The recipes are exciting and different from the many other European regional cookbooks, the... Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2000 by M.A.
Hirigoyen should have based his book on the french basque recepies and left the spanish basque recepies to the ones who know better. Read morePublished on June 23 1999
I have seen the book in a bookstore but i haven't bought it because i was very surprised to see that the Spanish Basque recipes are anything but authentic: "patatas a la... Read morePublished on June 21 1999