A Girl and Her Pig | April Bloomfield

 

Swine never looked (and tasted) so good!

A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories

TITLE: A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories
AUTHOR: April Bloomfield
PUBLISHER: Ecco
CUISINE: Meat

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Featured Ingredient: Pork Belly
Pork belly
is a boneless cut of fatty meat derived from the belly of a pig. Pork belly is popularDarren's Belly Pork by John Leach in Asian cuisine, and forms a part of many traditional European dishes such as the Alsatian Choucroute garnie, the Swiss Berner Platte, and the German Schlachtplatte. In the United States, bacon is most often made from pork bellies. A 100-gram serving of pork belly typically has about 520 calories. The calorie breakdown is: 92% fat (53 g), 0% (0 g) carbohydrates, and 8% (9 g) protein [Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
The book has a very comfortable and personal feel to it. Making it more like the telling of a passionate food life than a recitation of recipes. It’s obvious from the start that food is a passion for April and not just a vocation. The book is loaded with interesting recipes for pretty much any occasion. The dishes themselves are fully formed and well thought out. In some cases they’re not easy to execute. But, at least the steps are there should you want to make an attempt. Whoever made the stock selection should get a pat on the back. The paper has a silky, easy to handle quality that gives it a “soft” quality. Fantastic illustrations are sprinkled throughout as are images by photographer David Loftus.

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What You’ll Find Inside (aka Table of Contents)
introduction
breakfast
nibbles
big bowls of soup
well-dressed greens and things
meat without feet
birds
a little lamb
fine swine
the not-so-nasty bits
veg
potato and friends
sweets
dressings, sauces and condiments
a couple of stocks
libations

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A hog butchering video would be ideal here. But, I don’t want to scare the kids. Everybody loves Claymation, right? Let’s get those toes out and start counting!

• • • • •

The Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Pancakes with Bacon and Chili Lamb Chops with Chimichurri
Chopped Chicken Liver on Toast Liver and Onions
Smoked Haddock Chowder Crispy Fried Vegetables
Duck-Fat Potatoes Ginger Cake
Green Goddess Frozen Moscow Mule

As usual I’ve got some of my favorites for you. There are a few interesting two page stories that relate directly to a recipe or chapter. Nice touch. Grilled Sea Bass (p. 114) and Tongue Sandwiches (p. 140) are examples. I have a Sarasota Florida connection. So, the Marcella Hazan story was a home run for me. April’s re-creation of Marcella’s Roasted Veal Shanks with White Wine and Shallots (p. 150) was too much to resist. You’ve got to give it a spin. The Cassoulet (p. 178) would make an amazing cold weather dinner. You can almost feel it warming you from the inside out. Wait until mid-January then break that one out.

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Special Features
The introduction contains a little of April’s history. Also a very A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Storiesdescriptive ingredient listing is included. Towards the back there is a page dedicated to online resources for various ingredients used throughout the book. I love the inclusion of these outlets. There is nothing worse than reading through a mouthwatering recipe, deciding to make it for yourself or your family and then come crashing back to earth with the realization that your local Kroger doesn’t carry Fennel Pollen or Fenugreek Seeds, bummer. In my mind, it’s almost mandatory that if your dish is going to include what most people would call exotic ingredients that you are obligated to provide an outlet. Thanks!

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Conclusions
For a cookbook that at first blush seems to be “swine-centric”, it is very broad in scope. There is much more to it than pork, pork and more pork. Don’t get me wrong you will get your fill of the other white meat. But, the main ingredient is used in ways that could make you forget the dramatic cover image (which I LOVE by the way). A Girl and Her Pig hits on all cylinders and is one of the best cookbooks to grace the market this year. It’s a standout in a crowded field.

Culinary Expertise Required: 7
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories

Links, Resources and Press
April’s Restaurant: The Spotted Pig
April Bloomfield’s Last Meal: The Village Voice
Harper Collins Book Information
NPR Feature Story on April

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