Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook

This is the cover of Heston Blumenthal's The Big Fat Duck Cookbook:

And here are a few of the interior pages:

That striking art is courtesy of Dave McKean.

Heston Blumenthal is the award-winning owner of The Fat Duck restaurant. Apparently, one of his "signature techniques is the use of a vacuum jar to increase expansion of bubbles during food preparation."

In this video, Heston uses water and chocolate to make chocolate mousse (which seems to be a big deal):

Back to the book. The Wall Street Journal said:

"The Big Fat Duck Cookbook is the biggest (10 pounds with box), the most expensive ($250) and the most flamboyant (four brightly colored silk marker ribbons, uncountable full-page color illustrations and gatefolds, mainly caricatures of Mr. Blumenthal gliding through a dreamland of foods) cookbook in a bumper year. But like its author, who turns out to be a clear and even affecting writer, there is gravity holding the rocket in orbit. In the back, you will find deadly serious essays on such matters as the effect of heat on meat protein or "ice cream science," by himself and his entourage of university food scientists along with detailed rundowns on new kitchen tools such as refractometers. But all of this is stagesetting and infrastructure for the recipes with the wacko names, the sci-fi techniques and the eureka tastes and flavors... Makes you want to call Bray immediately to get a table at the earliest opportunity, which is two months from now. Meanwhile, there's the book."
That's right, the book lists for $250, although you can buy it new for $150 at Amazon.

You can see more photos here and a fairly lukewarm review if you're wrestling with whether or not to buy it. Via Neil Gaiman, who mentioned the cookbook as a sort of justification/explanation for the price of the Absolute Sandman volumes.

*Previously: Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Ralph Steadman.

*Buy Dave McKean art at eBay.