Synopses & Reviews
David Tanis might cook in the most famous restaurant in America, but here he is all about keeping meals simple at home.
In this eloquent appeal for good sense in cooking great food, Davis Tanis serves up twenty-four seasonal menus that are simply conceived and simply served--on platters, family style. His food bursts with invention and flavor, such as wild salmon with spicy Vietnamese cucumbers to celebrate spring and braised duck with fried ginger for a cool-weather dinner.
Tanis has an elemental, unpretentious finesse with ingredients and a genuine gift for words. Deliciously down-to-earth, his intuitive menus make cooking a pleasure, not a stress--whether you're "Feeling Italian" (Steamed Fennel with Red Pepper Oil; Roasted Quail with Grilled Radicchio and Creamy Polenta; Italian Plum Cake), "Slightly All-American" (Sliced Tomatoes with Sea Salt; Grilled Chicken Breasts; Corn, Squash, and Beans with Jalapeño Butter; Blueberry-Blackberry Crumble), or "Too Darned Hot, Alors!" (Provençal Toasts; Melon and Figs with Prosciutto and Mint; Deconstructed Salade Niçoise; Lavender Honey Ice Cream).
"David's recipes are simple and marvelous," says cookbook author Paula Wolfert. "What more can a food lover want?" Tanis shows you how to slow down, pay attention, give ingredients their due, and provide meals that will delight friends and family.
Here, at last, is a cookbook that has nothing to do with celebrity chefdom and everything to do with real life. Cancel the dinner reservations and pick up this book--and rediscover the pleasure of cooking at home.
"Both a meditation on the powerful rites of cooking and serving a meal and a gentle but serious education in doing both, this book by the part-time head chef at Berkeley's renowned Chez Panisse is an impressive ode to the simple beauty of food. With 24 menus distributed over the course of a year, Tanis emphasizes seasonality with ingredients (blueberry-blackberry crumble in summer; celery root mashed potatoes in winter) and with the types of dishes provided for each menu (as with a divine, warming lobster risotto as part of a menu for a cold spring day). Anecdotes from his peripatetic life of enjoying good food around the world, from Venice to Morocco to New Mexico, add another intimate dimension and help the book appear written just for the reader by a kind, patient friend. Many of the recipes are almost as simple as the title implies: a summer menu features sliced tomatoes with sea salt, while a course for a fall lunch consists of nothing more than pears and Parmigiano cheese. Others, like a black paella with squid and shrimp, are more involved, but the detailed instructions make them accessible to any cook willing to put in the effort, and the results are delicious, never fussy. Taking a stand against the typical cookbook organization from appetizers through desserts, Tanis teaches how to think clearly about conceiving, preparing and enjoying simple but delicious meals. Full-color photos throughout." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A book of great beauty and, much more rare, real wisdom about food, one that manages to instruct and delight in equal measure." --Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food
"Davis has that rare and admirable talent of making food taste as it should. He can coax a tomato to taste more like a tomato, a fig to taste more like a fig."--Nancy Silverton, author of A Twist of the Wrist
"David's book is a distillation of timeless culinary wisdom and warm, wise invention--smart, funny, beautiful, practical, and irresistible."--Judy Rodgers, author of the Zuni Café Cookbook
"Davis is a cook, but an artist, and there are so few of them in the world. I can count them on one hand."--Alice Waters, author of The Art of Simple Food
"This is a book to cook from. I absolutely love it."--Madhur Jaffrey, author of Climbing the Mango Trees
Forget about getting back to the land, David Tanis just wants you to get back to the kitchen
For six months a year, David Tanis is the head chef at Chez Panisse, the Berkeley, California, restaurant where he has worked alongside Alice Waters since the 1980s in creating a revolution in sustainable American cuisine. The other six months, Tanis lives in Paris in a seventeenth-century apartment, where he hosts intimate dinners for friends and paying guests, and prepares the food in a small kitchen equipped with nothing more than an old stove, a little counter space, and a handful of wellused pots and pans.
This is the book for anyone who wants to gather and feed friends around a table and nurture their conversation. Its not about showing off with complicated techniques and obscure ingredients. Worlds away from the showy Food Network personalities, Tanis believes that the most satisfying meals—for both the cook and the guest—are invariably the simplest.
Home cooks can easily re-create any of his 24 seasonal, market-driven menus, from springs Supper of the Lamb (Warm Asparagus Vinaigrette; Shoulder of Spring Lamb with Flageolet Beans and Olive Relish; Rum Baba with Cardamom) to winters North African Comfort Food (Carrot and Coriander Salad; Chicken Tagine with Pumpkin and Chickpeas). Best of all, Tanis is an engaging guide with a genuine gift for words, whose soulful approach to food will make any kitchen, big or small, a warm and compelling place to spend time.
Tanis shows readers how to slow down, pay attention, and give ingredients their due, in this work that serves up charming, unassuming meals.
About the Author
Six months a year, David Tanis is head chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, where he's been since the 1980s, helping to define the restaurant's wildly influential style. He spends the other half of the year in Paris, where he hosts dinners of international renown. David's French kitchen is a six-by-ten-foot galley with a rickety stove, a small sink, little counter space, and a half-dozen well-used pots and pans. Tanis has been featured in The New York Times, Gourmet, and Saveur.