First of all, it's CUTE! As in "OMG ponies!!1!one!1!" cute. Totally belongs on a coffee table, not on a shelf in the kitchen. Maybe display it on your kitchen island in a decorative book stand. The graphics aren't glossy, food-porn photography, but you know what? YAY! Because you can plate and present and display and serve like you want to, without fretting over how much it doesn't look like the photo in the book.
Second, it's got lots of interesting text. Each section has a few pages of background and history about how this cuisine got into Paris anyway, with anecdotes about how the cuisines became intermingled.
This gives me the opportunity to tell you a little story, too. Once upon a time, when the ink was still wet on my diploma, I worked for a Japanese Import-Export company. The bosses (both Japanese of course) would surprise us on a rare special occasion by taking our little 3 person department (me, Jeff & Paola) to a restaurant. Of course there were grand sushi experiences, mostly focused on "let's see what things can get the American girls to eat." One of the places, however, was a French/Japanese fusion restaurant called Yoshi's Cafe. The Chef trained in France, so his cooking had a Japanese flair. I have always been a foodie...and I was quite excited to go there. It's one of those places that you want to go to, but at 21, you could never afford.
The bosses (Mr. Ouchi & Mr. Asaba: I'll never forget those two) spoke in Japanese to the chef and his staff, and then we we 'kids' ordered. Paola ordered a Vichisoisse as her first course; She whispered to me that it was kind of cold. She didn't know. Jeff ordered the Tuna Tartare...although I'm certain he only chose it because that was the most expensive thing on the menu. He was absolutely blown away that it was raw when it arrived. I can't remember what I chose, probably lamb or fish or duck or something that wasn't beef or chicken...but I do remember that I was thrilled with my choice, and devoured it while Jeff and Paola poked at theirs. I didn't know enough then to appreciate it as fully as I might now, but I've always "ordered well". It was my introduction to fusion cuisine, and luckily it was a very good one. I think most people are against 'fusion' because their first experience wasn't very good.
You'll totally want to curl up with a yummy drink and a pack of post-its. Read through the rich stories, and mark off all the things you want to make on the first go-around. It might be good to have the computer close by so you can shop for local places where you can find esoteric ingredients, like konbu, nuoc nam, or kaffir lime leaves, and for things you must mail-order, like Djansan and Argan Oil. Los Angeles readers, you can just ask me!
You can also find more about this book at the book's official website.
OK, now the contest:
Send me a list of food items (by e-mail, not in the comments!) where each letter of the alphabet is represented by one food item. One point for each letter. Entries must be received by 8:00pm PST on April 1st. Points will be tallied, and the winners will be notified that they've won!
Sounds easy, don't it? it would be, if I didn't kick it up a notch (giggle)
- 1. Is it food? It must be a solitary component of "food", that you can eat as-is, or cooked. That is to say, not a spice, like Vanilla; not a condiment, like Ketchup, not a 'dish' like Kung Pao Chicken, or a brand name like Zachary's Famous Barbecue Sauce... if there is such a thing.
- 2. Is it English? It must be in commonly understood in daily American English. It's gotta pass the Husband-of-a-Chef test* No cheating by using Haricots Verts or Phú Quoc. Couscous would be ok, so would Phyllo. Get it? If you aren't sure, there's no penalty (or bonus) if you add a backup word.
- 3. No specifications! Holstein cow, Waygu beef, Golden Carrots, Navel oranges... all will be disqualified.
- BONUS POINTS!!! You will earn 6 bonus points if your list is based on a theme. You can choose the theme: all orange-colored foods, all pastry ingredients, all vegan foods, all root vegetables... whatever you like.
So there you go. On one hand, it's a bit more work than /F makes you do, but on the other, WAY less competition. If there's five valid entries, then all five entries get a book. Winners' lists and point totals will be posted on this blog.