Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Cuisines of Spain: earnest summation


I'm not going to harsh on this book, which is handsome and thorough and full of information and dreamy photographs of tile-roofed stone farmhouses and braids of garlic and cafes in Sevilla and Zaragoza where I would rather be right this second drinking a glass of anything. Teresa Barrenechea did a good job. I like this book. I like to look at it and read it. I just didn't like to cook from it because the food didn't turn out very well.

I don't know if the fault lies with uninspired recipes, flawed recipes, inadequate instructions, or my own shortcomings as a cook. Probably all four. I'm pretty sure I did something stupid while I was making the caramelized orange syrup for the leg of lamb the other night. But what? It's the job of the cookbook to guide the cook through the complications, to point out the pitfalls, to explain how a mixture should look and feel at a given moment, to tell you what not to do as well as what to do. Good recipes don't just dictate or instruct, they warn, describe, encourage, explain. Barrenechea's recipes don't really do this. People have had a lot of trouble with the bread recipe in the cookbook I wrote and I believe it is my fault entirely. The bread is great; the recipe wasn't good enough.

Anyway, for whatever reason Barrenechea's torta de Santiago turned out extremely dry; the coca with parsley resembled focaccia topped with lawn mower clippings; the marmitako seemed overly oily. Dish after dish, just not quite right.

I made 15 recipes from The Cuisines of Spain.

worth the price of the book -- 0
great -- 2
good -- 4
so-so -- 6
flat-out bad -- 3

Shelf essential? Obviously I don't think so.

18 comments:

  1. oh, to be able to make good Spanish food! who wouldn't want that skill? and you're right--a cookbook is supposed to be a thorough guide (which is why i love Rose Levy Berenbaum's cookbooks. she gives so much detail that if one of her recipes told me to turn around three times before putting a cake in the oven i would). it's too bad that Cuisines of Spain isn't worth the bother, but your site is delightful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your bread recipe is great! Of course, I still have to cut the crusts off for my kids, but I think it's super.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nonsense. Your bread recipe is fine.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Actually, I have made the bread recipe three or four times and for me it makes wheat flavored bricks. I've made other bread and I don't know what I am doing wrong...

    ReplyDelete
  5. What's next?

    ReplyDelete
  6. You deserve credit for courage. I can't imagine cooking a meal for the first time . . for COMPANY!

    ReplyDelete
  7. i know tipsy well enough to know that the "brick" comment will cut her to the quick. she will probably track you down, come to your house, and give you a custom lesson on how to make that bread just to make amends.
    be prepared!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really did not think that this was the fault of the recipe, but if Tipsy wants to come to sunny Cleveland and teach me how to make bread, I'm waiting!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I didn't have great luck with your bread recipe either- but I had the same problems I usually have with bread (it was a brick), so I am clearly doing something wrong. Maybe you could clarify?

    The bagels on the other hand, were life changing. I made a double recipe and they were all gone within five hours.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Replica Rolex

    Replica IWC

    Replica Omega

    Rolex Air King

    Replica Hermes Handbag

    Replica Prada Handbag

    Replica Hermes Handbag


    If you’re going to strap on the same Replica Rolex every day, it needs to look good with both your Tuesday suit and your Sunday t-shirt, but you don’t want it to be boring. You don’t have to spend five figures to get a great Replica Breitling.The Replica Omega Globemaster ($120) handles all situations effortlessly and is packed with technology like a totally anti-magnetic movement and a more accurate and durable co-axial escapement,you’ll notice the seconds hand seems to tick like on a quartz Rolex Air King, but this Replica IWC is because of a special gear-and-spring system inside that gives it the so-called “deadbeat seconds” for more precise timekeeping.As the brand’s iconic Replica Hermes Handbag individual product, admirable adroitness and absolute kelly 35cm demonstrates what both central and outside. Buy Replica Prada Handbag online.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kannur University Hall Ticket 2016
    Kannur University Result 2016 for all course
    Kannur University Admit Card 2016
    Kannur University Hall Ticket 2017
    Kannur University Result 2017
    Kannur University Admit Card 2016
    Kannur University Entrance Date 2016
    Kannur University Degree Allotment
    Kannur University Trial Allotment 2016
    Kannur University Admission 2016
    Kannur University Onlie Admission
    Kannur University Distance Education Result 2016
    Kannur University Hall Ticket 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University BA Result 2016-2017
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Hall Ticket 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Result 2016 for all course
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Admit Card 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Hall Ticket 2017
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Result 2017
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Admit Card 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Entrance Date 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Degree Allotment
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Trial Allotment 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Admission 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Onlie Admission
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Distance Education Result 2016
    Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University Hall Ticket 2016
    Karnatak State Open University BA Result 2016-2017
    Karnatak State Open University Hall Ticket 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Result 2016 for all course
    Karnatak State Open University Admit Card 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Hall Ticket 2017
    Karnatak State Open University Result 2017
    Karnatak State Open University Admit Card 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Entrance Date 2016

    ReplyDelete
  12. Karnatak State Open University Degree Allotment
    Karnatak State Open University Trial Allotment 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Admission 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Onlie Admission
    Karnatak State Open University Distance Education Result 2016
    Karnatak State Open University Hall Ticket 2016
    Andhara University BA Result 2016-2017
    Andhara University Hall Ticket 2016
    Andhara University Result 2016 for all course
    Andhara University Admit Card 2016
    Andhara University Hall Ticket 2017
    Andhara University Result 2017
    Andhara University Admit Card 2016
    Andhara University Entrance Date 2016
    Andhara University Degree Allotment
    Andhara University Trial Allotment 2016
    Andhara University Admission 2016
    Andhara University Onlie Admission
    Andhara University Distance Education Result 2016
    Andhara University Hall Ticket 2016
    Symbiosis University BA Result 2016-2017
    Symbiosis University Hall Ticket 2016
    Symbiosis University Result 2016 for all course
    Symbiosis University Admit Card 2016
    Symbiosis University Hall Ticket 2017
    Symbiosis University Result 2017
    Symbiosis University Admit Card 2016
    Symbiosis University Entrance Date 2016
    Symbiosis University Degree Allotment
    Symbiosis University Trial Allotment 2016
    Symbiosis University Admission 2016
    Symbiosis University Onlie Admission
    Symbiosis University Distance Education Result 2016
    Symbiosis University Hall Ticket 2016
    IBS Hydrabad BA Result 2016-2017
    IBS Hydrabad Hall Ticket 2016
    IBS Hydrabad Result 2016 for all course
    IBS Hydrabad Admit Card 2016
    IBS Hydrabad Hall Ticket 2017
    IBS Hydrabad Result 2017

    ReplyDelete