Burnt Toast and Other Disasters: A Book of Heroic Hacks, Fabulous Fixes, and Secret Sauces

Cal Peternell. Morrow, $29.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-06298-674-0
Chef Peternell (Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta) applies his Chez Panisse pedigree to underwhelming fare to easily prove that “the humblest can be delicious, the good made great.” Starting with the title dilemma, Peternell suggests using burnt toast to lend character to cheesy onion bread pudding. Then it’s on to overcooked vegetables, where figgy dressing covers the sins of over-roasted veggies. A chapter on packaged foods offers new hope for canned soup and beans, and even tins of oily fish, as with a saffron, fennel, and almond pasta with sardines. A section entitled “What They Shoulda Done” is full of opinionated tips on revising classic dishes, with tweaked takes such as “unthick” clam chowder (“soup spoons should be at rest, not standing”) that’s thinned out using liquid from canned clams and canned corn. A half-dozen recipes are devoted to overcoming the bland attributes of boneless chicken parts, including flavorful chipotle chicken thighs with cumin and honey. Peternell’s dry sense of humor is the main ingredient in a collection of “old man” cocktails: the “Crazy Old Man” is equal parts absinthe and brandy, while the “Wise Old Man” is an eight-ounce glass of water. To err is human but to repair divine in this handy and hilarious manual. Agent: Sharon Bowers, Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Management. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/01/2021
Release date: 09/01/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-298675-7
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