The SOMM Journal

May 2014

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Page 11 of 107

{ editor's notebook } IT'S GREAT TO SEE ALL THE EAGER, young and knowledgeable somms out there. Their enthusiasm and intelligence is a delight to behold. They are a credit to our industry. But . . . sometimes they get carried away. Recently I was in a restaurant and the somm recognized me (probably from the heavily Photoshopped photo of me that runs in our sister publication, THE TASTING PANEL). He immediately shifted into hyper mode, dashing about nervously and coming back with some obscure "special" suggestions. I already had perused the wine list and seen a few things I wanted to try, but he was insistent that I try his not-on-the-list selections. I did. The first wine was nice, but probably not as good as the one I might have chosen; the second was a rustic red Rhône so full of brettanomyces I had to send it back. (See page 102 for more on brett.) The message here is simple: listen to the customer and get a feeling for what he or she wants to drink. Be helpful but not overbearing. And don't try to be too clever or too cute. When I first leafed through A Change of Appetite, by Diana Henry, I instantly began cooking and tasting in my head, emulating the precision and grace of Britain's top food writer. Colored with fresh, simple fare, this spring release reflects a lively flavor wheel, orchestrating the most intriguing symphony of pleasure for the palate. The gorgeous book begins in a timely fashion, with all things spring. From salmon tartare with pickled cucumber and rye crackers to blueberry and gin gelatins, Diana's creations are refreshing and inventive. But there's no austerity here—just a thoughtful, honest movement towards a lighter, healthier approach to eating. Teaming her refined and personal dishes with brilliant photos, shot by Laura Edwards, Diana uses unpretentious, seasonal ingredients, such as roasted tomatoes and lentils, to create exquisite meals. The spiced pork chops with ginger and mango relish is stunning. But even the seemingly less intricate plates, such as the poached white peaches with rosé wine gelatin, are attention grabbing and palate pleasing. A Change of Appetite sells for $35 and is as inspiring as it is authoritative. Also exceedingly important is The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. But with it comes some good news and some bad. In 1997, Deborah Madison's huge opus Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone won the cookbook of the year award. It is still the definitive book on the subject with 1,400 recipes. A new edition has just been published complete with 150 new recipes and a new emphasis on tempeh. It also designates vegan recipes. The bad news: The new edition is nowhere near as attractive as the first addition. Gone are the col- ored pictures, gone are the handsome line drawings and gone are the easy to follow two-color recipe presentations. Yet, the new book is momentous, and every home chef, vegetarian or not, should own it. Deborah Madison is the Mother Superior of vegetarianism, and this is her gospel. All the recipes are well organized and clean, and they've stood the test of time. At $40, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is not just a coffee table item to dress up your living room; it is a must for serious cooks. THE COOKBOOK CORNER 12 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2014 Don't Be Too Cute by Anthony Dias Blue Somm Journal June/July.indd 12 5/9/14 12:07 PM

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