|Darling, would you like a little yeast gelato?|
You could feel it coming, but that was still a really jarring Piglet win for Fancy Desserts and the Bill Buford review did nothing to persuade me that it was justified. I came away thinking it was even less justified than I had going in.
I have a miserable list of errands and jobs today, but some half-baked thoughts before I go. I may change my mind about everything, so cut me slack:
*It’s possible Headley's victory reflected gender bias as laid out in the Helen Rosner essay, given that the book was advanced three times by men who seemed thoroughly dazzled by his prose style and rocker persona. Buford on Fancy Desserts: “It is humble. It is brave. It is extreme. It is wacky. It is by far the best anti-cookbook cookbook I have ever read. I will be reading it again and again. It is genius.”
Perhaps Headley should be considered for the Nobel? He sure can make those boys gush.
Then again, Rosner, no dummy, also loves the book. I should refrain from commenting further on its literary merits until I have actually sat down and read it cover to cover.
*Does the win for an “anti-cookbook” that few people will actually use (a fact, trust me) reflect growing boredom with affable mainstream voices and cookbooks? Maybe a variant of the boredom described in the Lottie + Doof essay? Have we been so saturated with food everything that we’ve reached some kind of decadent, late-stage ennui where it’s not enough for a cookbook to be a nice, usable volume of good recipes, it has to be a crazy, rule-breaking, dysfunctional, super-stimulating anti-cookbook?
*The recipes are sloppy. I’ve already talked about the failed chocolate chip cookies. I mixed Headley’s yeast ice cream yesterday morning because I had the ingredients and 10 minutes and what the hell. He calls for 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon yeast//36 grams. I measured 36 grams and looked at that mountain of yeast and thought, this is more than 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon. It was. It was a third again more. I know I gave Mimi Thorisson a pass on the little errors I spotted in her book, but it’s extra aggravating when you stumble on a mistake in the middle of cooking. This is the second time it’s happened with Headley.
Also: why would you say 1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon when you could say “3 tablespoons?”
Or am I being petty to care about something like that when considering a humble, brave, extreme, wacky work of genius?
It’s possible I am. But I don't think so!
A report on the yeast ice cream and maybe more fully-baked thoughts coming soon.