Friday, March 9, 2012 |
It was all dairy, all the time for In Town and Out's cookbook club this month. Host Michael Bhardwaj and his two cookbook reviewers, Sylvia Ralphs-Thibodeau and her husband Richard Thibodeau were deep in cream, butter, yogurt and cheese as they reviewed Anne Mendelson's Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages.
The reviewers found this to be more of a history book than a cookbook. Mendelson writes an in-depth history of milk and milking animals from prehistoric days all the way to the rise of industrial, factory-farmed dairy. While the reviewers were interested in the history of milk, they all found it far too involved for their tastes. "Oh goodness, this is not a cookbook, this is a textbook," was Sylvia's first thought. "I was a little chagrined. I thought this was going to be a book report."
Richard agreed. While the couple found the history of milk interesting, it was too detailed for the amateur foodie. "I started wondering, 'When do we get to the recipes?'" he said. "The history part was interesting, but it's extremely wordy."
However, the reviewers began to change their tune once they started tackling the recipes -- 72 pages in. They taste-tested different kinds of milk and tried out several recipes, from the most basic to the very complicated. Sylvia and Richard even hosted a dinner party consisting solely of recipes from Milk. "It was quite fun," Sylvia said.
So their final vote? Sylvia thinks "the book needed a very good edit. I was particularly distressed by the format." While the recipes were a success, the book itself "felt like a history book and didn't help the reader at all."
Don't cry over Milk. Skip the history lesson, but enjoy the delicious dairy recipes.
Apple-onion cream soup
Anne Mendelson, author of Stand Facing the Stove, first explores the earliest Old World homes of yogurt and kindred fermented products made primarily from sheep's and goats' milk and soured as a natural consequence of climate. Out of this ancient heritage from lands that include Greece, Bosnia, Turkey, Israel, Persia, Afghanistan, and India, she mines a rich source of culinary traditions."
Read more at Random House Canada.