cover image The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks

The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks

Nina Planck, photos by Katherine Wolkoff. Bloomsbury, $32 (256p) ISBN 978-1-60819-675-3

Planck promotes her “good and simple” philosophy of eating (Real Food: What to Eat and Why) in a collection of 150 straightforward, trend-bucking recipes. In this green-market driven cookbook, the Virginia farm girl and creator of London’s first farmers market shows home cooks how to bring authenticate, traditional dishes to the table. Planck’s recipes celebrate the thrifty, seasonal, local, and home-made approach to cooking. Simple, yet sophisticated dishes are the result: chicken (free range) dishes include Coq au Vin; Poached Thai Chicken Curry; and a White Chicken Stroganoff with Dill. Planck reveals the “secrets of the pumpkin family,” and features many dairy-based desserts as well as instructing cooks how to prepare stocks and demi-glaces and serving cheese as a main course. She also provides a chapter on the essential breads. Beverage recipes praise home-crafted fruit sodas, fermented teas, and kefirs. How to prepare Passover seder and a small farm barbecue gives readers a glimpse of Planck’s family table on two special occasions. Recipe notes compare from-scratch versions of dishes with grocery versions, and Planck’s personal narrative reflects her Virginia farm roots; she also includes essays that inspired her viewpoint. Proper foodstuffs for the basic pantry, the glories of cooking with cast iron, and a “shopping list” sharing favorite purveyors and producers are included. Planck reminds cooks that traditional methods for producing meals from authenticate foodstuffs are, in fact, a truly modern culinary approach. (June)