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The Lost Art of Real Cooking

I’m a fan of the arcane, of the mildly anachronistic. I wear old eyeglasses. I live in an old house. I like weathered things. I’m wowed by ancient structures. If it’s got a sense of history and has stood the test of time, count me in as a fan.


Small wonder then that I’d be so pleased with Ken Albabla and Rosanna Nafziger’s new book The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe At A Time. When an editor at Perigee Books (a division of Penguin) contacted me several weeks ago about the possibility of reviewing a copy, I heartily accepted her solicitation.

The Lost Art of Real Cooking discusses all of the aspects of antiquated cooking traditions that I find such passion for, just as the authors do. From fermented foods and beverages to jams, yogurt, breads and so much more (including chapters on meat, fish, and poultry), this book covers the slow food cooking terrain. The “slow” aspect is especially relevant, as The Lost Art is no “30 Minute Meals.” Some of the recipes take hours, if not days, weeks, and even months. Which is a delight to food lovers like me. Food is a medium, to be lovingly crafted into artful sustenance. The fact that rendering something exquisite might take time is par for the course. Any solid relationship needs a bit of length to test its fortitude and present all parties with something more than a passing fling. This book gives you just the right bit of inspiration to find a lasting love.

Written in a conversational style, each recipe tells you what you need, exactly when you’ll need it (as opposed to the more common-and modern-format of listing ingredients at the onset and then following them with instructions). Interspersed you’ll find tidbits on everything from keeping cast iron pans in tip-top shape to using fancy butter molds. The book itself is hardcover without a jacket, sturdy enough to stand up to repeated use but lovely enough to showcase prominently on your cookbook stand.

Clearly, I’m smitten. Oh, and did I mention there’s a recipe for doughnuts? DOUGHNUTS! My pregnant lady obsession, as of late. That sealed the deal for me.

*For a chance to win a free copy of The Lost Art of Real Cooking, check out Tigress’s giveaway (she’s running it through July 15th, so there’s still time to try yer hand!).

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