Sometimes, describing what something is not is easier than describing what it is. I’m not sure how well this applies to kitchen endeavors–after all, saying a stew is not a cupcake will only get you so far.
But you didn’t really think tis was a book of instructions did you? It’s more of an insight into what happens when people cook–the emotions, memories, misunderstandings, and rules we make for ourselves. As well as the occasional singed eyebrow.
And as you might expect, the chapters don’t follow the conventional path of menu or seasonal divisions. They follow a more meandering route. So there are chapters on Dating, Translation, Erotica, and Orientalism. And some foods–Melanzane and Wurst–are compelling enough to warrant their own chapters. Still other chapters offer specialized advice–how to cook on a boat or cooking with pets in the kitchen.
You’ll learn from 1,000 bits of advice (check the Contributors pages in the back for a laugh), some of it downright contradictory. To oil the pasta water or not–that is one of the questions. Some of the advice is rather ominous–don’t fall off the ladder when you’re picking cherries for Morello Jelly. Some of the advice is rather obvious–do not overcook anything! All of it is charming–do not tell your grandmother you like something, she made for you if you actually did not like it. She will make it for you over and over again for the next six months.
Well you may not find the definitive explanation for your kitchen questions here, but you will find plenty of company when you’re cooking. And if you’ve got some good advice to share, by all means–share it!