I love cookbooks- they are my novels, my textbooks and oftentimes my bible. I will sit with a cookbook and tell myself “Don’t go so fast, you’ll spoil it!” But truth is, the looking is my favorite part. The big, glossy photos and and beautiful recipe ideas- it is my source of inspiration.
The thing is, I didn’t like this book- Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto by Marc Vetri. And I totally wish I did! Ok… full disclosure: I picked it because of Marc Vetri’s controversial piece on HuffPost Food a few weeks ago. He essentially writes this tirade on the state of food journalism and how detrimental it is to chefs and restaurants and how absurd it is that ‘listicles’ and other sources of online ‘journalism’ define the success of a chef’s work.
To be fair, I understand his concerns about the lack of true food journalism. We don’t need more ’10 ways to make cake in a cup’ or every. single. article. on the popularity of the cronut- but doesn’t the pool of bad food writing only allow for incredible opportunities with good food writing? Food writing is an incredible phenomenon, and shouldn’t this relatively new resurgence of interest in food only inspire chefs to be strategic? Balance a finite amount of ‘buzz-worthy’ food with food worth of credit and laud! Hey, what if you even merged both of these ideas? Wow! How groundbreaking! Let’s get this viral! Woo!
That said, I chose this book to review because I wanted to defend Marc. I truly wanted to say, this is buzz-worthy! But, it’s not. 10 Speed Press publishes the most incredible books available on the market today, but I truly felt uninspired by Vetri’s essential encyclopedia of pasta-making. I don’t need fava beans, and I certainly cannot get morels just, like, on the reg. I just didn’t feel as if it was accessible as I wanted it to be. But, then again, today’s food media seeks to make food accessible, so maybe therein lies our problem? It was my own fault, I picked it for the wrong reason- the buzz reason. Then again, if you didn’t care about such buzz, would you be reading my food blog right now?
When I want to impress guests or even, say, entertain a child for the day- I might pick up Mastering Pasta. I’d totally pick this up, confident I’d be able to end up with edible Talleggio Ravioli with Radicchio, Honey and Walnuts at the end of the page. But I feel as if a great cookbook shouldn’t wait on the shelf for you. It should be on your counter, at the ready. So, in conclusion, this book will remain on my shelf. I’ll wait for that lazy Saturday- the day I will make pasta. But that day is not today. Sorry, HuffPo.
Trained in Bergamo, Italy, by some of the region’s most noted chefs, Marc Vetri is the chef/owner of Vetri Ristorante, Osteria, Amis, and the forthcoming Alla Spina, all located in Philadelphia. Vetri was named one of Food & Wine’s Ten Best New Chefs and received the Philadelphia Inquirer’s highest restaurant rating; he also won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. Vetri has been profiled in Gourmet, Bon Appétit, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the New York Times. Visit his restaurants online at: www.vetrifamily.com.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.