The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 Recipes + Lessons for a Hand-Crafted Life

Tom Hudgens, Chronicle, $35 (608p) ISBN 978-0-8118-7222-5
Written by a former chef at, and graduate of, Deep Springs College in California, a men-only two-year college on a working ranch where students partake in hard physical labor along with academics, and learn a good deal about food, from farming to butchering to butter making, this hefty volume is refreshing in its straightforwardness. It's a nod to the Deep Springs kitchen, "where there is little time for fussy preparations, little money for expensive or exotic ingredients, and little regard for food trends or food snobbery, but where a great appreciation for any good, soul-satisfying food abides." Although there are no photos, the instructions are clear—with a good glossary of culinary terms—and the recipes for the most part are simple and appealing. They include the expected manly, hearty fare, such as biscuits and gravy for breakfast, chicken and dumplings, and steak fried in beef tallow. But there are many more entries along the lines of an asparagus mushroom frittata and fennel, blood orange, and toasted almond salad, which celebrate fresh flavors and seasonal ingredients. And there are plenty of sweet treats (pear, ginger, and lemon crisp; goose egg pound cake) that would serve well as a reward for a hard day of work, on the farm or anywhere. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/19/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 608 pages - 978-1-4521-0033-3
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