Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Notes on Cooking: A Short Guide to an Essential Craft" – A Review and Giveaways

The internal workings of a kitchen, with all its ingredients, equipment, fire and recipes, can sometimes be as mystifying and complicated as what goes on under the hood of a car. And the cook in charge, whether in a professional or home setting, must be a veritable mechanic with the tasks of coordination, safety, science and design squarely balanced on his or her shoulders. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a disciplined yet supportive voice whispering terse guidelines in your ear to glide you through the challenges that you might face at your stove? Well, now there is.

Written in a crisply concise, bulleted style, “Notes on Cooking: A Short Guide to an Essential Craft” by Lauren Braun Costello and Russell Reich, reads like The 217 Commandments of Cooking with nary a recipe to be found. Punctuated with food philosophy (“ 10 - Your soul is in your food.”) as well as dogmatic directives (“48 - Date and label perishables.”), this slim volume is fat on the kind of culinary wisdom that once contemplated, cannot help but often illuminate, validate and resonate, regardless of your level of expertise and interest. Novice cooks will particularly appreciate the fundamentals which dominate the book, such as stocking a larder, handling a blade, and controlling temperatures; the bullet-point format naturally lends itself to the basic principles that all cooks need to know. More experienced cooks will already be well versed in these tenets, but will enjoy, among other artistic elements, the leisurely delight of winding through a “word association” round robin of flavor affinities (“...balsamic vinegar & strawberries, strawberries & cream, cream & garlic...”) to spark their creativity beyond the well-mastered meal. As pleasurable to read as it is practical, "Notes on Cooking" is all about the little bites that you can really sink your teeth into.

And now, two lucky readers will be able to sink their teeth into a complimentary* copy of the book, generously provided to me by the authors, and includes worldwide shipping. Please leave a comment by 11:59 p.m. New York time on Saturday, June 27, to be included in a random drawing. The winning names which will be announced Sunday, June 28. To those who routinely comment anonymously, please include your first name so that your identity can be distinguished. Personal friends and family are not eligible to win.

*N.B. - This post marks the first official product review where I have accepted merchandise (the review copy and the giveaway copies). I agreed to review this book after carefully considering whether it would be valuable to my readership. My approach was unbiased, even clinical. At no time was I obliged to write a favorable review. As an established blogger with a substantial readership, I am routinely approached by public relations firms and other marketing agents to position products and services on The Well-Seasoned Cook. I will continue to be highly discriminating in my selections and pledge to maintain transparency in all transactions.

30 comments:

Mac said...

Thanks Susan - I'll put my entry out there...I know I could certainly use all the help I could get on cooking!

Pam said...

It sounds like a gem!

Vicki said...

I'm always looking for non-recipe food books. This one looks enjoyable.

Nags said...

how I would love one!!

Alex said...

This sounds like a really interesting book!

Simona said...

It definitely sounds like a very interesting book.

Stacy said...

I'd love to win. This book sounds great!

Ady said...

This book sounds awesome!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That's great! I'd love to read that book...

Cheers,

Rosa

Osheen said...

Susan,
This book sounds like a good one to read and reread and refer to too. I consider myself a novice cook and love to read different recipes for the same ingredients. Of course the advice seems invaluable in this volume.
I like your food pictures and site. Keep doing what you are doing.
Regards,
Bhavana

Rose said...

Susan, what a wonderful giveaway :)
The book looks really interesting, I have not read one like this before.
I would love to enter! Thankyou muchly :)

Rose

chocolatesoap@hotmail.com

Parita said...

Seems to be a good one, would love to have one!!

sra said...

As much as I enjoy reading recipe books, I like non-recipe food books too! Some time ago, I got a book for children called The chemistry of food or the Science of Food, don't remember which, but have misplaced it since then - I like to read why things should be done a certain way and not another.

PEI traveler said...

I am surprised to see that I have not even heard of this book. I am a cook/gardener who's bedtime reading has always been cookbooks or gardening books. Sounds like great bedtime reading.
Helen

Whack said...

Look like a good read, i hope i win :)

toni said...

The cover is charmingly old fashioned, and the wisdom contained within sounds quite solid. I love “10 - Your soul is in your food”!

Jeanne said...

Absolutely love your site. I'm mostly confined to my chair right now because of a badly broken foot; my husband has discovered cooking for us in a big way. As a novice cook, this book sounds perfect as a birthday gift for him. And I love to read books like this--always find new info to use.
Thanks again for a wonderful site. the photography is beautiful and easy to follow. Keep up the great work!

Victoria said...

I've just finished "What Einstein told his Cook". This sounds like a good book to follow that.
Thanks for the chance to win it!

Soma said...

Oh how i want one;-) but my luck sucks..never win by luck!

Bellini Valli said...

This book comes highly recommended by other blogging friends Susan:D

Cindystar said...

Oh Susan what an interesting giveaway! I bet everybody would like to win that book ... me either!
Good luck to all!!!

zoe said...

Ooooh! Great giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I love to curl up with a good book about food!
Diane

Lisa said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Excellent review. I always enjoy stopping by your blog.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I haven't seen this one yet, Susan. Thanks for the thougthful review and opportunity!

Archana said...

Hello Susan,
Thank you very much for hosting such a event/Request.
This book sounds really interesting. My passion is to cook and get to know more about cooking crafts.
I also visited the blog , http://notesoncooking.wordpress.com/ , It really looks different and lot of interesting things to know and learn about.Thanks for taking the pleasure of hosting such a request. I would love to win one book.

Regards,
Archana
http://www.archguru.blogspot.com/

Dhanggit said...

I know that book belongs to me :-) he heheh thanks for this opportunity to win this book!

Anonymous said...

always looking for basic reference types of books.

jacquieastemborski AT comcast DOT net

Kim said...

Susan, great review and interesting commentary. Sounds like a wonderful addition to any cooks bookshelf.

Lori Lynn said...

Sounds like a winner. I'm too late for your giveaway so I'll have to get it on my own :)
Thanks for the introduction.
LL