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Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs yet another edition, Nov. 29 2000
This review is from: Build Your Own Earth Oven: A Low Cost, Wood-fired Mud Oven (Paperback)
The goal of this book is to give instructions on building a mud (actually adobe) oven, similar to those constructed all over the world before the invention of firebrick and other materials and technologies took over. You CAN learn what you need to do that from this book. However, it really needs another edition and an editor who will ruthlessly organize the material and demand better and more even treatment and presentation.
While written by someone who is obviously experienced in the subject (mainly through personal research), this book is not the last word on the subject of wood fired baking. (For example, there is really nothing about tandoori ovens. Those bottle shaped ovens are in use in great number in Central Asia today; you can't make authentic naan without them.)
It is also somewhat disorganized: material on construction is scattered throughout, along with some New Age philosophy and personal anecdotes. I don't wish to seem crabby, but the author's life experiences just aren't that interesting to me.
There are many areas in which the author simply doesn't seem have enough information or technical experience. The illustrations range from fairly good to amateurish (odd for an author who claims to be an artist). The treatment of sourdough baking and baking in general is perfunctory and the author seems to be mostly unaware of the many excellent net resources on sourdough baking on USENET and the web. There are also some interesting clay oven resources on the web, including information on paleolithic and ancient ovens discovered in Great Britain and Europe.
There is useful information in this book, but it is an evolving work in progress. I hope to see a new and greatly expanded edition.
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Location: Camp Hill, PA USA

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