Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book Review: Pastry In Europe 2010

Last year I reviewed the inaugural PIE09 both here and at eG, and it was the first time a publisher took the time to express their displeasure at my review. The basic gist of my summary is that the book is inspirational, packed with interesting ideas, but needing of a serious edit and organizational structure. Knowing that the publisher had received this feedback (not that I should be the voice of reckoning for any publisher), I have to note that there is nothing different in this edition.

Over 250 pages with over a hundred recipes ranging from molecular gastronomy-based dishes to historically important pastries, PIE10 still avoids serious consideration. I've now tested over 20 recipes - half worked fine, almost half needed some minor adjustments to work, and a handful were simply failures. I cook out of enough books from across the globe to account for regional variations in ingredients and the subtle nuances of recipe linguistics, and even so found this edition to be too problematic for me to invest much more time in.

Harsh? Yes, and I'll still be buying the 2011 edition. Why? Simply put, I think this is a stellar concept. The breadth of chefs, recipes and regions is sure to inspire any chef. However, the simple addition of a true Index would do wonders for this book. The 2010 edition has an Index, but it is in fact what most books call at Table of Contents. And that ToC is simply a list of the chefs. The chef is not my attraction (in most instances), rather it is the dish. An index would allow me to find the recipe I am seeking without flipping through 250 pages. Its a simple request - shoot, I'll do it for them for a free copy of the book! (And we all know that I'm anal retentive enough to do a good job at it.)

Let me put my views more directly. I think everyone should buy this book and attach a note with your payment saying, "I will not buy the next book unless you have your recipes tested and an Index included." I think that should make the point clearly enough.

(Note: The best value is to buy this book directly from the publisher with their reasonable shipping costs.)

1 comment:

Tri2Cook said...

Nice review but I think I'm saving most of my short-term book budget for Nathan Myhrvold's book. Maybe. That's going to be one (ok, technically six) expensive book... but I want it. So we'll see.