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In her cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig, Bloomfield explains her approach to cooking, shares her stories, and gives us her recipes. Unlike many restaurant chefs, she is well aware that the home cook is not professionally trained and doesn't have a team of kitchen helpers. Thus one her goals is to provide us with knowledge and tips so we can elevate our own dishes from good to wow.
Finding balance is about understanding a dish's harmonious potential, the place where all the flavors achieve a sort of equilibrium. Each bite should make you want to take another. (p. 6)She emphasizes bright flavors and particular ways to cut vegetables so our food has interest both to the palate and to our eyes. She isn't fussy about fancy presentations and dainty portions, but she is quick to point out that a good-looking plate helps boost the appetite and the enjoyment of the meal.
Some of her recipes may seem long, such as her beef pie, but Bloomfield breaks them down into doable steps and offers plenty of personal notes ("I like to . . "). Other recipes, her grilled sea bass, for example, call for four ingredients and the simplest of directions. Although a few of the main ingredients may be difficult to find or too expensive for everyday eating (quails' eggs, squid), the bulk of the recipes are accessible to the average home cook (featuring familiar meats and vegetables).
Despite the title and the cover photo, A Girl and Her Pig is not solely a meat cookbook. Her vegetable and salad dishes are among my favorites, and I love the nibbles recipes. She also includes a drinks chapter (her version of a Bloody Mary is fantastic) and desserts (that dark chocolate orange cake has my name on it).
As much a book about food and cooking as it is a cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig belongs on the bookshelf next to M. F. K. Fisher, Elizabeth David, and Edna Lewis. The writing is personal and confident and is to be savored along with the meals. Follow April Bloomfield's tips for the perfect cup of tea, plate up some of her soft oatmeal cookies, and get ready to be inspired.
Instead of sharing a recipe, I've imbedded a video that shows Bloomfield cooking three dishes from the book. For a few recipes from A Girl and Her Pig, visit Bloomfield's website.
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Published by HarperCollins / Ecco, 2012
Source: bought (see review policy)
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