Synopses & Reviews
Patrick O'Connell is often referred to as the Pope of American Cuisine. He is one of the pioneers in our country's culinary evolution over the last quarter century. Selecting The Inn at Little Washington as one of the top ten restaurants in the world, Patricia Wells hails O'Connell as "a rare chef with a sense of near-perfect taste, like a musician with perfect pitch." As a self-taught chef who learned to cook by reading cookbooks, he has a unique ability to write recipes that are easy to follow and that produce delicious results. In this groundbreaking work, O'Connell celebrates the coming-of-age of American cooking and illustrates that we at last have our own equivalent to the haute cuisine of the great chefs of Europe. He manages to demonstrate that reproducing his versions of refined American cuisine is not only surprisingly doable but often easier than replicating the classic American dishes we grew up with. O'Connell offers vastly refined versions of his favorite American food: Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham, Wild Mushroom Pizza, Crab Cake "Sandwich" with Fried Green Tomatoes, Pan-Roasted Maine Lobster with Rosemary Cream, Veal Medallions with Country Ham Ravioli, and Warm Plum Torte with Sweet Corn Ice Cream. All the recipes use readily available ingredients and are written in a clear, easy-to-follow voice - the voice of a self-taught chef who wants to share his love of food and hard-earned expertise. But even more refreshing than the delectable recipes are O'Connell's musings on his upbringing, American food, and entertaining. Reading this warm, witty book is the next best thing to dining at The Inn at Little Washington. Cooking from it is even better!
"The great chef Patrick O'Connell went to college to please his parents. 'They bought into the American dream, believing that their children should never have to toil, sweat, or perform physical labor,' he writes in his extraordinary new cookbook (after The Inn at Little Washington: A Consuming Passion). Like many people of their generation, O'Connell's parents considered working in a restaurant to be a lower order of work that people resorted to if they couldn't get a higher education. But O'Connell, who taught himself to cook by reading cookbooks, became part of the revolution in American cuisine over the 25 years that changed that perception. Eventually (with his partner Reinhardt Lynch), O'Connell turned a former gas station in the Virginia countryside into one of the most sumptuous and original restaurants and inns in the world. There, happily sweating and toiling, he set about refining many of the dishes of his all-American Irish Catholic childhood: fish sticks on Friday night became Sole Fingers with Green Herb Mayonnaise.The recipes collected here, which O'Connell explains with warmth and simplicity and introduces with wonderfully funny memories from his baby boomer childhood, demonstrate that the greatest American cooking is more than a version of regional cuisine. Like Alice Waters and other pioneers in the American culinary revolution, O'Connell is obsessive about using fresh local meats and produce. But he adds another ingredient a twist of insight and witty invention. O'Connell gives us Lilliputian Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches; Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham (and smoked gouda) and Spruced Up Turkey (which garnishes a brined turkey with spruce branches to impart a wild and woodsy taste). He shows that true refinement has to do with simplicity, with being exquisitely sensitive yet free enough from convention to perceive and to make just the right gesture. Arriving at a time when there is so much fear that European cultivation and ethnic depth is being wiped out by American brand name sameness, this cookbook is a jewel and a watershed. O'Connell shows the world how deep and cultivated American cuisine can be. 230 photos. (Sept.)This fall, four acclaimed novelists are turning their backs on their desks and heading for the kitchen." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The owner and chef of the award-winning Inn at Little Washington defines a new way of American cooking--homegrown in the United States, approachable for the home cook, yet as delicious and refined as the finest French and Italian cuisine.
About the Author
Award-winning chef and owner of the Inn at Little Washington, Patrick O'Connell is also the author of the best-selling cookbook The Inn at Little Washington: A Consuming Passion. He is the winner of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef for 2001.