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Wood-Fired Cooking:
Techniques and Recipes for the Grill, Backyard Oven, Fireplace, and Campfire
By Mary Karlin
ISBN: 1580089453
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication date: May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Number of recipes: 100
List price: $27.95
Type: Grilling & Barbecue
Sample recipe: Rustic Corn, Tomato, and Basil Tart
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: breakfast brunch lunch dinner dessert
Competition: outclassed a bit behind in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: airfare required online specialty store supermarket pantry
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose minimal complete educational
Time conscious: not conscious bald lies white lies realistic scout's honor
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant ample generous
Photos/drawings: none drawings b&w photos occasional color all color
Art contribution: disappointing distracting decorative beautiful glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine kind work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging ok clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy delicate years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: hard-to-find spotty sufficient most pages every page
Table of contents: missing frustrating minimal helpful excellent
Index: none confusing adequate nice a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writing history: beginner writer/journalist food writer writing cook personality
Cooking heritage: unknown self-taught teacher chef celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short satisfactory successful exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward good friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: The problem with cooking over wood is that there are dozens of ways to do it – over a campfire, in a fireplace, in earth pits, in wood-fired ovens, in a clay pot, in a kettle drum, in a tandoor, in a box roaster, etc. – but you probably only have one way. Really, there's no problem with cooking over wood – it is primal and delicious.

The problem with cookbooks about cooking over wood is that they address all ways, but you probably only have one way. So how much of the book applies to you? Probably only a portion. Nonetheless, it's good to broaden your horizons, and to learn what your wood-cooking brethren (and sisteren) are up to.

Enter Wood-Fired Cooking, with 100 recipes in flatbreads and artisan breads, wood-fired grilling, campfire cooking, wood-fired roasting, clay-pot cooking, cast-iron oven cooking, baking on the hearth, braising and barbecuing, and turning out wood-fired desserts. Many recipes can also be made in a regular oven, for the squeamish, or for those who are limited to only one way of cooking over fire.

The recipes look pretty special. In addition to those from the author (who has taught wood-fired cooking classes for many years), recipes have also been contributed by an army of really good cooks, teachers, and cookbook authors, including Paula Wolfert, Peter Reinhart, Deborah Madison, Bruce Aidells, John Ash, Fran Gage, Cheryl and Bill Jamison, Joanne Weir, and many others.

Really, the problem with some cookbooks about cooking over wood is that they make us wish we had a half-dozen different ways to cook over wood. Perhaps this one will inspire you to add another wood-fired cooker to your array.


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