In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - Tartine All Day

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | May 1, 2017 9:00 AM
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Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook by Elisabeth Prueitt, copyright © 2017. Photography credit: Paige Green © 2017. Published by Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. 

Our Summary:

"It's said that limitations often become the best teachers."  And from there, Elisabeth Prueitt in her new cookbook, Tartine All Day pulls you in to her belief that you can cook from a cookbook whilst you live your busy life.  You may disagree with that sentiment at least half of the time paging through her book.  But, if you keep going you'll ultimately agree there is no way around what she says:  cooking is work.  It requires you to think and plan ahead; it requires a bit of skill, and most of all it requires time.  If you can accept that premise - it is, after all, truth - then you will find that Tartine All Day can become a modern handbook for your kitchen and all the things you want to-, love to-, and intend to-cook.

Read (and hear!) more about this cookbook and some of the recipes within on WITF's podcast Now That's a Mouthful.

What you need to know:

Get It:  Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook by Elisabeth Prueitt. Published by Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC  April 4, 2017.  Hardcover $40.00.  (Amazon $24.26; Kindle $19.99)

See It:  384 pages with color photos of in-process or finished recipes (that look like home-cooked recipes, not overly perfected and stylized dishes, which is good) of about every third recipe or so.  Some recipes you won't miss the photos; some you will wish you had a visual guide. The Contents easily guides you to what you are looking for, and the Index is thoroughly cross-referenced with both ingredients and recipe names.

Make it:  200 recipes, including 43 Gluten Free recipes (30 of which are desserts). 

Our Review:

Tartine All Day successfully combines award-winning chef and cookbook author, Elisabeth Prueitt's knowledge and experiences as both a professional and a home cook to give us a new spin on the modern cookbook:  a collection of everyday recipes that can deliver gratifying moments of success, as well as a nod toward those nostalgic moments where we remember someone cooking in the kitchen.  These recipes are as current as any contemporary cookbook on the market, but practical, too.  You can fine tune your cooking skills with Prueitt's modern techniques, and her knowledge of gluten-free ingredients helps ensure your efforts are met with success. 

Prueitt pens her book like the masters before her (she gives credit to the book, not Irma Rombauer) The Joy of Cooking and Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  The book is written the way you cook, with ingredients listed alongside the instructions and in the order you prepare the recipe.  Within that template Prueitt in Tartine All Day curates the recipes she's created and collected from decades of cooking, experimenting with gluten-free ingredients, her family's traditions and travels.  Wrap in the lessons learned from successfully running a café and two restaurants in San Francisco, and you have Prueitt's idea of a modern, relevant all-purpose book.  Which it is.  Which just might make it hard to appreciate the first few times you go to it.

In today's world of modern complete-meals-in-one-recipe books, Tartine All Day feels awkward and different:  you cook from singular recipes.  Recipes like Ricotta Cheese.  Period.  Cheese and Pepper Crackers.  Period.  Cottage Fries. Period.  Fried Chicken.  Period.  And, yes, Prueitt gives you plenty of ideas what to do with these straight-forward recipes, and what to combine with them, or how to seasonal-ize them.  Still, most of the time you cook only one thing... as if that would be a bad thing!

Once comfortable with the fact that what you really do need is a single, straightforward recipe that you can successfully cook at any point in any week, Tartine All Day becomes like those classics you've stored away - tabbed and dog-earred, just waiting for the moment you're ready to cook.  Cider Caramel Pork Ribs become your focal point for a weekend supper.  Spiced Apple-Walnut Cake becomes your go to gluten-free dessert that you can make any night of the week for the office, for school, for friends, or for yourself.  Indeed, Prueitt does use quite a few gluten-free ingredients that might take a bit of time and money to stock:  worth mentioning, but not worth fussing over.  

You'll find it hard to tire of Tartine All Day with the range of recipes - pantry staples, baked goods, standard mains and vegetables, and recipes worthy of your best gatherings, and the diversity of flavor profiles.  You'll find Persian, Mexican, Mediterranean, Italian, French and, of course, California cuisine peppered throughout the book.  But you may find it hard to begin cooking from it.  And that's okay.  Read this book until you're ready; it will happen without you knowing.  You'll be in the kitchen cooking your first Tartine All Day recipe in tandem with what you already know and love.  And soon, these recipes will be added to that mix.

Published in In witfs Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

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