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General Discussion

"Home Cooking" Cookbooks -- Just Add Stock

John Tracey | Jan 26, 200110:52 AM     9

If I get see ONE more cookbook written by a famous chef that says "home cooking" or "adapted for the home cook" on the dust jacket but then includes 8 cups of chicken stock in 80 percent of the recipes I'm gonna kill something.

I'm exagerrating a bit, but I just don't know many people who keep gallons and gallons of chicken stock on hand. The new "Staff Meals from Chanterelle" cookbook (given to me as a gift) looks like it's got some fun stuff in there (including sloppy joes with 2 cups of ketchup -- you gotta love it), but the percentage of recipes requiring vats of veal/chicken stock is pretty high. I understand what this can do to sauces and soups, but ... isn't it cheating to call this stuff "home cooking"?

It reminds me of John Thorne's essay on soup without stock (in "Outlaw Cook," I think). I think he takes some of that stuff too far (like dismissing 800-page masterworks on bread because the author uses -- horror! -- store-bought yeast, and doesn't call for outdoor wood-fired bread ovens), but he's on to something.

When I make stock I save it for risotto or to simmer some veggies in for a special soup or for holidays. I swear you'd have to spend about $100 a week on bones and marrow to make these so-called "home" recipes regularly.

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