From Boiling Water Book Review

From Boiling Water Book Review

Title: From Boiling water to Master of the Southern European Cuisine: A Travelogue
Author: Janisa J Brunstein
Published: May 31, 2017, First Edition Design Publishing
No. of Pages: 132
Cover Price: $14.93 Paperback, $7.99 Kindle

From Boiling water to Master of the Southern European Cuisine: A Travelogue by Janisa J Brunstein, is both a travelogue with personal vignettes, and a cookbook. The author is a professional chef, but the recipes she includes are not over-the-top and are doable by those of us who are home cooks.

Brunstein writes in an easy manner, and her vignettes are quite fun to read, albeit some give a little too much information (since we don’t know her, we are subjected to more divorce and relationship details than are necessary), and one gets the idea that the author considers herself superior to those of us who are simple commoners. Given that, for most of us who are of average income, it’s obvious that we won’t have an opportunity to travel to the places she describes in the same style that she does, because she constantly hints at the fact that she is extremely wealthy (having her own driver, attending high society events, etc.) and is frankly, a bit on the snobby side.

While the book does contain some excellent recipes, Brunstein obviously flunked the course in recipe protocol. Experienced cooks will be able to fill in the blanks, but beginning cooks may be confused because some of the instructions are left out (i.e. Greek Olive Bread – it doesn’t ever instruct the baker to form the dough into loaves – although the finished product is absolutely delicious). In her French Macarons recipe, she instructs you to “Bang the baking sheets against the floor” to settle them before baking. Generally floors aren’t the cleanest, and I believe banging on a countertop will suffice.

Once you have translated and filled in the blanks in the directions in her recipes, you can rest assured that they turn out very well. The Chicken with Marsala and Mushrooms was quite easy, and also very good. The Cold Watermelon Salad is luscious (although she fails to tell us to crumble the feta), and the Gâteau Basque was delicious, although I haven’t heard the term “karate heat” and simply cooked my filling over medium heat. I had to look up the definition of “Omelette Quercynoise” is an omelet in the style of Quercynois, a place in France. Incidentally, the omelet, with a filling of walnuts and bleu cheese, is delicious.

While there are pictures of most of the dishes, they are small, and some seem a bit washed out – the pomegranates which are generally red, look pretty sick in the Pomegranate Honey Roasted Chicken.

All told, this isn’t a must-have cookbook/travelogue, but it is interesting and has some excellent recipes.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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