BIR: European-Inspired Cuisine

Marcel Biro, Author, Shannon Kring Biro, Author, Marty Snortum, Photographer . Gibbs Smith $34.95 (232p) ISBN 978-1-58685-740-0

Gourmands will admire the beautifully presented and photographed recipes in this lush coffee-table cookbook, some of which debuted on the PBS series The Kitchens of Biró , others coming from the Sheboygan, Wis., restaurant the Birós operate (he is chef, she is co-owner). Despite encouragement to readers to try these recipes, home cooks most likely will use them as inspiration. They're sophisticated and complex, requiring skills and ingredients—eel, bison, sweetbreads—not often found in the home cook's repertoire. However, the beguiling presentation demonstrates Biró's flair and showmanship. For instance, Roasted-Peach Soup with Smoked Bacon & Fried Arugula employs a fresh, artistic take on ingredients that challenge preconceived notions. Biró's approach, a "balance of elegance and simplicity," was developed in his native East Germany, where tough working conditions forced his creative hand. His cooking is inventive, engaging and professional, with recipes accompanied by wine pairings and "quick tips." Chatty discourses explain the importance of allowing meat to rest, the history of Brie and gazpacho, and the reason for scoring duck breasts before cooking them. The authors' coverage of the preparation of unusual items such as escargots attempts to lessen readers' apprehension, but in the end, some of these recipes are likely best savored when prepared by the kitchens of Biró, rather than at home. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 04/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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