I've been sitting on this book review for months and months because, quite frankly, this may be my favorite cookbook ever...but one I'll never use.
Andrew Pern and the Star Inn in Harome (near Helmsley (in Yorkshire (in England (I think you know that's in Europe)))) is a Michelin gastropub for the past 14 years.
In 2008 Pern self-published Black Pudding & Foie Gras as a sort of celebration of their work. This is no regular cookbook. Sluffing off the shackles of the publishing world, Pern has created a book that is ripe with graphic ingenuity, poetic wanderings and even a cover coated in brown velvet.
You want to curl up on a damp English night next to the fireplace, glugging your dark ale, reading this wonderful ode to food romantics. Pern shares the story of how he came to own The Star Inn. He writes about all of the local suppliers of his ingredients and how seasons effect his dishes.
And naturally he delves into a hearty list of recipes, the vast majority of which you won't ever make because of his use of regional ingredients. I've played with a few of the recipes, but what's the point when you can't get the great seafood that he has access to.
But that's hardly a concern for me. This is still my favorite cookbook. Every time I touch it, my foodie loin tingles and titters as I find some new hidden gem - normally a quote, a short poem or beautiful picture of the English countryside. For cookbook collectors, this is a must. For passionate foodies and romantics, this is a must. For someone wanting to recreate a Michelin starred-restaurant's dishes...don't bother.