Thursday, March 12, 2015

It's called logrolling

page 83 of Fancy Desserts
The Piglet is over and I’m so ready to move on, but I’d committed myself to actually reading Brooks Headley’s Fancy Desserts cover to cover just to see what the fuss was about. As some of you know Bill Buford chose Fancy Desserts as the Piglet winner over David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen the other day, a highly controversial choice.

I was happily reading Fancy Desserts and transcribing lively quotes to share with you, because there are lots of lively quotes in this book, when I came across the passage at top. Perhaps this problematic passage has been noted elsewhere in which case, forgive me, but I almost fell off my treadmill desk.

In case you need help, I have typed it out to highlight the important parts:

“I met Dario Cecchini on my first trip to Italy. If you’ve read the outstanding Heat, by Bill Buford, you already know way to much about this maniac butcher from the tiny village of Panzano in Tuscany (If you haven’t get to your local independent bookseller and snag a copy immediately.)”

I don’t think Bill Buford should have been disqualified from judging Fancy Desserts, BUT HE SHOULD HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THIS SENTENCE IN HIS REVIEW. I’m shocked he didn’t. I’m also shocked that one of the two recipes he made from Fancy Desserts was the red pepper sauce by Dario Cecchini, subject of his own “outstanding” book.

I disapprove.

But its not Brooks Headleys fault. He really is a good writer. His yeast ice cream was delicious. Beery. I ate it and so would you.

maybe ostrich egg whites

42 comments:

  1. I hate to use text speak, but...OMG!

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  2. The conflict of interest had occured to me, and I wish it had been disclosed. Not just because of that line. Mr. Buford's book "Heat" also details his apprenticeship at Mario Batali's Babbo. I was taken aback when in the review, Mr. Buford claimed not to have heard of him before. OK, Mr. Buford has been living in France. But it still seemed odd to me. That said, I can't disagree with the judgement. I cooked 11 recipes out of "My Paris Kitchen" when it was COTM on Chowhound. While there wasn't anything wrong with any of them, there was also nothing that bowled me over. It's all stuff that I don't need a recipe for. "Fancy Desserts," on the other hand, is full of recipes that I wouldn't think of on my own. I'm just starting to cook from it. I started the Brown Butter Panna Cotta this morning.

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    Replies
    1. You should try the cashew gelato. I wonder if I'm hallucinating how good it was. I'm interested to hear about the brown butter panna cotta.
      I just wish Bill Buford had mentioned this passage, accounted for it, worked it into his review somehow. So odd that he didn't.

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  3. I predicted beery! I feel like the staff at the Piglet should have been aware of this connection and never assigned him the book in the first place, and he should have excused himself.

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    Replies
    1. It's good stuff, Ginny. I'm almost tempted to tackle the sage gelato.

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    2. Sage gelato sounds delicious... What is in it other than sage?

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  4. I can't find an email address for you; is this the only place to contact you?

    I was in a bookstore and saw: Mastering my Mistakes in the Kitchen, by Dana Cowin ..I just ordered it from the library. By just a quick look, it looked very interesting and I wondered if you'd seen it yet.

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  5. How did you make ice cream with yeast? Is it just vanilla ice cream using yeast to flavor it instead of vanilla? I'm disgusted/intrigued. Cashew gelato sounds totally yummy. I use the same method to make my prune-armagnac-almond ice cream: steeping the nuts in the dairy and then discarding them. As you know. It's surprising how much nut flavor they impart that way.

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    Replies
    1. You steep the yeast in warm milk for 20 minutes then bring it to a boil to kill the yeast. Strain. Not much was held back in my strainer, so not sure of the point of that. Then you proceed with your ice cream. Quite delicious.

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  6. !!! This is not cool. What's the word for payola, but in cookbook tournaments instead of music?

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    Replies
    1. Ah, yes . . . the title of the post tells me. Logrolling. Thank you.

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  7. Cool! A new word - logrolling. And what is smh?

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  8. Replies
    1. Thanks, ginny

      Delete
  9. Ostrich eggs! Good one!
    I snorted a little coffee when I read that.

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  10. This is turning into GamerGate, but for cookbooks.

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  11. Egg whites are about 60 grams each, if that. I often use the grams when multiplying a recipe. This is a huge fail! And I wouldn't give Mimi a pass, either. It's too crucial.

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  12. This isn't the first questionable practice from the Piglet. For example, a few years ago, a well-known food blogger who was judging picked a book that she was already familiar with to move forward. (She had tweeted to the author in October that she liked her book- the Piglet doesn't start until February- so she had the book at least 3 months before the tournament started.) This was unfair in my opinion because she barely cooked from the book she didn't choose but implied she had made several recipes from the winning book. (And we all know it takes time for some books to grow on us.) I guess it is possible her tweet came after receiving a review copy from Food 52, in which case the sin would have been publicizing her opinion prior to the judgement, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth. The cookbook pairings are so arbitrary you would think at least for the first round the judges could all have new-to-them books.

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Just finished reading Buy the Bread... from my library - love it, want it! Also just weighed perhaps my 3,000th egg white from a New England Grade A Large brown non-ostrich egg - the white weighs 37g (have seen them weigh as little as 30g). Addicted to macarons and scales.

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