****Tongue in cheek warning.****
You're probably sick of hearing the rave reviews on this behemoth (you know: blah blah, 2000 recipes, every Italian kitchen has had one for 50 years, Italian bible of cooking, beautiful photography, etcetera, etcetera), so here we go, we're going to try to pan it at epicurean. Yes.
First off, a couple sentences as example:
"Place two sage leaves on each portion and season with salt and pepper. Roll up, wrap in the pancetta slices and secure with toothpicks."
I mean come on, I'm lost here - shouldn't that have taken up at least two or three flowery paragraphs?
But no, the entire recipe it comes from - 'Chicken Roulades with Sage' - clocks in at a puny 90 words total of instruction. All of the recipes are like this. Look down below, see what we mean, we'll wait. The photos accompanying many of the recipes are surely just setting us up for disappointment (such 'preparing simple food with fresh ingredients in starkly rustic-yet-elegant setting' photos abound in The Book). As if we should be so easily fooled. Surely we can't follow these simple directions and reproduce such attractive results.
It must be chock full of recipes that end up not tasting very good. We haven't found them yet, but will update this review when they show up. Any book that has recipes for ostrich, octopus, oxtail, orecchiette and omelets has to be fallible at some point.
It seems a little shady really, almost trying to come off as attractive as a coffee table cookbook (it practically is the size of a coffee table - ha!) but is too heavy to lug around the house, so you end up having to buy two copies - one for the kitchen, and one for the shelf or table with reinforced legs.
It is just too easy too obsess over, and only comes with two ribbon markers - it needs about 50 to be truly useful.
See, this tome is found in the cooking section of stores, but is really an avocation - not just a book at all - make no mistake. It is tricksy.
So take that, Phaidon Press, you have been denied your flowery one liner praising the book. Oh, all right:
Amazing - The Silver Spoon is required reading, owning, eating, and living.
You need to get it.
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Recipes © 2005 Phaidon Press - reprinted with permission