“An Onion In My Pocket”
You might think a memoir by the founding chef of San Francisco’s pioneering vegetarian restaurant, Greens, might be too didactic or preachy to take if you’re an avowed meat eater.
The surprise is that it’s not in the least. “An Onion in My Pocket: My Life with Vegetables” (Alfred A. Knopf) by Deborah Madison is a delightful read with evocative prose that envelopes all the senses.
When it comes to what you eat and cook, Madison is far from rigid. In fact, she has eaten meat — and still does — occasionally. It’s just that she most often finds vegetables more interesting.
She came to develop a vegetable-centric palate after becoming enthralled listening to a radio program on Buddhism while growing up. It led to her fascinating journey in becoming an ordained Buddhist priest, and to forming the foundation for arguably the first significant vegetarian restaurant in the country. She set the bar early, eschewing the drab and flavorless vegetarian cooking of the time such as lentil loaves in favor of bold and beautiful dishes of her own creation. In the process, she introduced the world to what vegetarian cooking could and ought to be.
“The French Laundry, Per Se”
Let me just state from the get-go: It’s good bet that I’ll never cook anything from the new “The French Laundry, Per Se” (Artisan). Not when the forward in this book even states that the recipes are even more challenging and complex than those in “The French Laundry Cookbook,” which came out in 1999.
But just because you won’t necessarily be tempted to recreate one of the more than 70 recipes doesn’t mean you won’t find this latest book by chef-proprietor Thomas Keller deeply fascinating.Read more