The River Cottage Cookbook

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Author, Simon Wheeler, Photographer , photos by Simon Wheeler. Ten Speed $35 (447p) ISBN 978-1-58008-909-8

Readers in search of a single tome illustrating not only how to deal with a pig carcass but also how to prepare a Shrimp and Sea Lettuce Tempura need look no further. English carnivore extraordinaire Fearnley-Whittingstall (The River Cottage Meat Book ) has revised his 2001 answer to the Whole Earth Cookbook into this new, slightly Americanized, edition. There are 95 healthy recipes, everything from Strawberry Sandwiches to Nettle Soup, Crispy Pig's Ears to Pigeon Pitas (yes, real pigeons), but the work is primarily an intense and heartfelt almanac of raising and eating organic plants and animals without the intrusive use of slaughterhouses, packaging plants or grocery stores. For cooks with an acre or two of land, or with access to woodlands, there are priceless lessons in raising sheep (a good ram is hard to find), choosing the right cow (bright eyes and lumpless udders) and picking the perfect wild mushroom. For city dwellers, the author, pictured on the cover with a plump piglet under each arm and later shown happily tearing apart a rabbit, might just be the Edgar Allan Poe of poultry. As a benchmark, somewhere between horror and hors d'oeuvre, consider this typical set of instructions before delving into the text: “A chicken is not ready to kill for the table until you think it is. Pick it up, feel its weight, and feel its breast. If it feels tempting, then you should kill it if you want to.” (May)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2008
Release date: 03/01/2008
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-00-716409-7
Hardcover - 488 pages - 978-0-00-737527-1
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