This is not what you think.
I am not one of those insanely organized people that begin their Christmas shopping in July.
Nor is it a shameless plea for gifts.
Last December, when my family asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I requested Peace on Earth. Even as I said it, I knew it was obnoxious to ask for something so monolithically impossible, but it was the truth. Sort of.
The whole truth was that I just wanted some peace in my life. The unrelenting wave of menus, prep lists, and shopping trips left me feeling like I was making every one else's holidays perfect, while mine went spinning out of control. I longed to bake rustic loaves of bread in my own kitchen instead of fussy hors d'Oeuvres in the kitchens of others and to make thoughtful, personalized gifts instead of participating in the colossal cluster-f*** of consumerism. I was in full-out rebellion and my request was my protestation.
But my family was not responsible and when they justly called me out, I revised my request to something more attainable: books.
The gift certificates sat in a drawer, nearly forgotten. They were waiting for inspiration to strike. The spark started with the recent launch of Mosaic, the interactive website that I gained access to after pre-ordering the Alinea book last fall. The announcements of soon-to-be-released cookbooks by innovative chefs prompted me to dust off the certificates and spend a peaceful afternoon shopping online.
I didn't get Peace on Earth. Instead, I received the gift of childlike anticipation.
Thank you M, D, & R.
Under Pressure- Thomas Keller
Thomas Keller. Sous-vide. Enough said.
The Big Fat Duck Cookbook- Heston Blumenthal
This is the priciest of the lot, but a small price to
pay to play in the mind of the mad genius.
A Day at elBulli - Ferran Adria
Martin sums it up best with his comment:
"The fact that a 600 page book covers a single day
at el Bulli says a lot about how much thought they
put into their cooking."
Dessert Fouplay- Johnny Iuzzini
From the rockstar of pastry, I've been hoping for
this book since tasting his desserts at Jean
On the Line- Eric Ripert
The master of seafood gives us a behind the scenes
look into his kitchen at Le Bernardin.
Noma Cookbook- Rene Redzepi
While this book is no longer available in English, the
very helpful staff at Kitchen Arts & Letters informs
me that there is a new book on the horizon. No
release date yet.
Nathan Myhrvold, former CTO of Microsoft and
French-trained chef is said to be working on a
high-tech cookbook due out in 2009. Dr.
Myhrvold has also worked with Professor
Stephen Hawking on research in cosmology,
quantum field theory in curved space time and
quantum theories of gravitation. Can't wait to
see what he does with food.
Shout out to Wylie, Sam, Alex and Jordan: Please, oh please, get busy boys!