Monday, July 13, 2009

Notes on Cooking: A Short Guide to an Essential Craft

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With the upcoming release of the film Julie and Julia and because of our many alumni currently working in the culinary industry, we wanted to let you know about a wonderful new book that will teach even the novice cook pearls of kitchen wisdom.

Notes on Cooking : A Short Guide to an Essential Craft is the new book written by Lauren Braun Costello and Russell Reich, with an afterword written by NYU alumna, Dorothy Hamilton, founder and CEO of The French Culinary Institute and chairwoman emerita for life of the American Institute of Wine and Food.

Whether you are a novice cook, an expert chef or just someone interested in food you will no doubt have to add this wonderful guide to your collection. Devoid of any recipes, Notes on Cooking feeds us helpful tips in the form of notes. Here are some examples of what you will find in this delightful book:

1) Mise en place. Always.
Literally "put in place," mise en place might just as well mean "take time to save time."

Wash, peel, cut, measure, and select before you begin the cooking process. Set out each measured ingredient, ready to play its part. Don't get caught in the rush to start cooking. If you surge ahead, you'll just have to stop and take time to prepare what should have been mise en place in the first place---and you'll end up burning the sauce.


2) Command the heat.

"The chef's job," writes Daniel Boulud, "[is] to employ heat to transform ingredients...Whether it is extracting and re-absorbing juice in roasting, or braising and reducing, or sauteing then caramelizing-you are working the moisture in the food you are preparing; and then concentrating it, reintegrating it back into the ingredient. Heat, concentrate, reintegrate. No matter how you apply the heat, this is the transformational aspect of cuisine. How good your food is depends on how well you control this force of nature.

3) Cook bacon in a cold pan.

If you put cold bacon in a hot pan, its exterior might burn and blacken quickly, sealing in the fat you wish to release. Start with a cold pan to allow the bacon to come to temperature with the pan so that it renders its fat before browning.
Cooking bacon in a skillet, by the way, yields curly bacon; cooking it in an oven leaves the strips flat.


These are only three of the 217 notes found in this book and each one will provide you will useful knowledge whether it be about Produce, Meat, Wine & Spirits or Presentation. Cheers to kitchen creations! Bon App├ętit!

About the Authors:

Lauren Braun Costello
Lauren developed her craft in the kitchens and classrooms of some of the world’s most renowned chefs and as the owner and Executive Chef of Gotham Caterers in New York City. From her work as a recipe tester for the 75th anniversary edition of Joy of Cooking, to culinary producer for Pure & Simple with Michel Nischan, she now applies her culinary skills as a private chef, instructor, and as a food stylist for national television broadcasts including The Early Show on CBS, ABC’s The View, and CNN’s dLife. She received a Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts with distinction from The French Culinary Institute and was awarded a Les Dames d’Escoffier Scholarship. Most recently she was seen on The View with Meryl Street and Amy Adams where she shared some of Julia Child's favorite recipes.

Russell Reich
Russel is a writer and creative director. He is the co-author with Frank Hauser of Notes on Directing.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, that looks wonderful! It is about time such a collection of valuable information has been published. Nowadays recipes can be found anywhere from the Internet to food packaging, but these are morsels of "grandmother's wisdom" that are much harder to come by.

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