Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: Relae: A Book of Ideas by Christian E. Puglisi

Relae is Christian Puglisi's new cookbook, named after his Copenhagen restaurant of the same name. This is an extremely beautiful and entirely original book.  It is not quite a cookbook, although it contains a fair number of recipes, but they make up less than a quarter of the book.  As the title states, it is also a "book of ideas."  This basically means that most of the book is made up of a series of short essays about different ingredients and cooking methods.  Each of these essays are part philosophical musing, scientific explanation, technical explanations, and practical applications.  Following each essay is a list of recipes that use the philosophy/theory explained in the essay.  Puglisi's book is very high-concept, but it is also generous and genuinely useful.  By providing readers with the philosophy and science between certain methods and combinations, Puglisi's book attempts to give the reader/cook a set of ideas that can be applied to all cooking, rather than just offering a series of recipes to be precisely followed.  In other words, Puglisi gives you the skills to come up your own meals by explaining essentially how chefs (or at least Puglisi) comes up with his own recipes.  This book is very beautiful, and would make an excellent gift for a very serious cook. 
(I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.)

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