Thursday, November 25, 2010

Cook the Books with HEAT

"You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners.”

Heat is the featured book at Cook the Books.

George Orwell said it correctly…………

“A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into; the other functions and faculties may be more godlike, but in point of time they come afterwards. A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children. I think it could be plausibly argued that changes of diet are more important than changes in dynasty or even of religion. The Great War, for instance, could never have happened if tinned food had not been invented. And the history of the past four hundred years in England would have been immensely different if it had not been for the introduction of root crops and various other vegetables at the end of the Middle Ages, and a little later the introduction of non-alcoholic drinks (tea, coffee, cocoa) and also of distilled liquors to which the beer drinking English were not accustomed. Yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners.”

George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

One of the many quotes in the book Heat by Bill Buford which start us out; some mental food before you turn the page and read about Bill Buford’s culinary education. At the hands of Mario Batali...think about it... (Talk about the school of hard knocks..whew!)

Mario Batali scares me a little. He is a larger than life figure (seriously, no pun on his size) that can out eat, out party and out drink anyone. So….a book that paints you a rare portrait of what it’s like in Molto Mario’s kitchen? Yeah, I was interested in reading this one. It’s a culinary adventure book – like Kitchen Confidential – giving you a front row seat to the heated tempers behind the scenes of a five-star restaurant.

The details about the kitchen such as the staff interaction with one another, Buford’s treatment as a “kitchen slave,” the disgust and thinly veiled scorn over him not bringing his own knives. Buford takes you on a journey few will take. It was an education of butchering and the artistry involved, the ever widening array of ingredients presented, the skill of how to handle a knife as experienced by a novice, as Buford’s confidence and training increased…… humiliation, injury…..this book has all the makings of a very good Food Channel mini-movie!

We are meant to make one dish to capture the featured book. So much inspiration …So many dishes came to mind as I read this book…which one would I prepare? Toughie…but I choose one of the simplest lasagna.

Early on Buford states he was captivated by the kitchen’s smells and by midmorning, when many things had been prepared…all was cooked in quick succession. The waves of smell, like sounds of music, lamb, chocolate, tripe, octopus, huckleberries and then the comforting chemistry of veal, pork and milk as someone prepared a Bolognese.

Heat is a good read, lots of interetsing insight from a kitchen slave's point of view, lots of good quotes and it's entertaining.

Check out the website Cook the Books and join in the fun :-)

“Cooking is the most massive rush. It’s like having the most amazing hard on, with Viagra sprinkled on top of it, and it’s still there twelve hours later.” Gordon Ramsey

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights via Ruth at Once Upon a Feast.


  1. insightful dwelling into what I am sure is a wonderful read - thanks for bringing it to our attention, sounds interesting and intriguing... Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you too Drick. I hope you have a wonderful day.
    Check out Cook the Books and joi in...right up your alley!

  3. I loved the quotes you used - and hey the simplest lasagna ... always delicious.

  4. Haha I LOVE that Gordon Ramsay quote. And I love this book! So glad that you liked it. Lasagna is such a classic favorite...if I smell that baking, it absolutely makes my day better.

  5. Thank you Jo and was surely comfort food too. I shouldn't complain about the eather since you guys have it colder...but when you have a cold, it seems worse for the weather to be damp and chilly. Lasagna was just the ticket.

  6. One of my sons is a chef and I always try to to find him a good food related book for Christmas. He is slowly builing up a nice little library(not as nice as mine yet)Would you recommend this book? would love you comments; thanks.

  7. Rita, yes, I would recommend this one or Kitchen Confidential. This book is gently used but if you'd like it, I can send it to you.
    If interested send me your address at:

  8. I loved the book too - so wild! Love the lasagna, bolognese is definitely an art!

  9. This was a fun book--I learned more about Mario than I ever wanted to know! ;-) Your lasagna looks perfect.

    BTW--saw your comment on Presto Pasta Nights on my blog. Anyone can join in--it is a weekly event with a rotating host & I just drop in whenever I have a pasta dish. There is a link on my sidebar to the site. You should send in your lasagna. ;-)

  10. Thanks Natashya - I will be trying the English Muffin bread you posted on FB. Looks great.

    Deb - I know! I can't get the picture of Mario in his boxers out of my head...and not in a good way, Cut. That. Piece. Out!
    Thanks for the tip on Presto Pasta, I'll hook up!

  11. The lasagna looks delicious. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. I do hope it's the first of many entries.

  12. Ruth - Thanks so much, I have been curious about the Presto Pasta Nights for a year now! Guess I'm shy, you bet I'll be joining in regularly!

  13. Good review, and the lasagna looks good too. Mario kind of scares me too, but from a great distance (his book) I can better appreciate.

  14. I am glad you liked the book! Your lasagna looks amazing. They are such a great comfort food. And yes, Mario Batali scares me too...

  15. Great post on our Cook the Books featured book. I like the George Orwell quote too!

  16. This looks so comforting and satisying, just perfect for these snowy,winter nights.

  17. I'd love to get my hands on that lasagna!

  18. Bellini - So true, thank you for the nice comment and fpr visiting!

    Gay - This is an easy recipe and no convience foods involved. Hearty :-)

  19. Even the simplest lasagna, when made with a classic Bolognese, is a work of art... Great post!

  20. I really enjoyed reading your book commentary. Great post for Cook the Books!

  21. I haven't read that book yet, but i'ts on my Xmas wish list :-) Your lasagne looks wonderful - yum!!
    Sue :-)

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  23. Rachel - thank you so much!

    Sue - I apprecaite it - it was a good bit of comfort food that started out with Bolognese sauce as the plan...then turned into lasagna!

    Claudia - Thanks, c'mon over and grab a plate :-)

    Cook of the House - Love a good lasagna, thank you for visiting!

  24. Nice choice of dish to go with the book.


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