Cycle 3 – Item 240
1 (Sat) September 2012
Pork Loin with Roasted Peppers
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
with W and DJ
My latest cookbook acquisition is The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria. It’s by the founder and executive chef of elBulli, long reputed to be, according to some, the world’s greatest restaurant. According to the preface: “The family meal is the dinner eaten every day by the 75 members of staff at elBulli restaurant. We call it that because the staff members are like family…. You might assume that the staff would eat the same food as the guests, but they … eat ordinary food. Why is the family meal so important at elBulli? The answer is very simple: we believe that if we eat well, we cook well.” The concept of the cookbook is to provide recipes for a home cook to replicate for his/her own actual family the ordinary meals prepared and eaten on a daily basis by the very staff creating and serving the greatest food in the world. Humble, but not really.
Whether the contents deliver on the promise, the book itself was gorgeously produced. The principal recipes are organized into 31 meals, each including a starter, a main, and a dessert. Every meal includes an introductory wide-angle photo of the necessary mis-en-place, a complete list of ingredients, and a timetable to give a general idea of what will be involved. Every individual recipe, most of which require only about 5 ingredients, 10 max, includes quantitative breakdowns for servings of 2, 6, 20, and 75(!) and displays detailed photos for every key step in the process. Obviously, someone spent a lot of thought and effort in making the book. Even the binding and textured feel of the paper demand notice.
Unfortunately, the first recipe that I attempted – Pork Loin with Peppers – didn’t turn out so great. It looked simple, which is why I tried it, but it tasted too simple, exactly what it looked like on the page. I suppose that it could’ve been a revelation for someone who’s never roasted peppers before, but otherwise it was predictable. I’m reminded of my first stab at Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, perhaps the least gorgeously produced cookbook currently on the market, nostalgia aside, when the potato and leek soup had me jumping up and down in pure eurekatic joy. Granted, this book doesn’t overtly purport to be anything but “ordinary.” Though of course anything with Ferran Adria’s name on it is implicitly expected to be. We’ll see.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)