Monday, November 29, 2010
Gordon Ramsay's Family Fare
I love to watch Gordon Ramsay on TV and I could listen to him talk for hours, but I've just never been that fond of his recipes. I appreciate his apparent passion for food, and quality food at that, and his desire to see people use more fresh ingredients in their cooking. (something I have been trying to do better with, myself) However, I just can't see the average American family making some of these meals. There is just no way most children are going to eat Baby Squid in Tomato Sauce with Chard, for example. That's an appetizer.
For that matter, most families that I'm familiar with don't have time or inclination to sit down to meals that include appetizers, main course/sides, and dessert. Those are special occasion type meals and are usually eaten in restaurants...like Hell's Kitchen. (yes, I crack myself up- it's my review, I'm allowed to)
To be fair, both American & British measurements are included for the ingredients. But that's where reality ends with a lot of these recipes. The timelines for prep work are a nice inclusion, but show his lack of knowledge to what resources many of us have...for example, the time line for meal 7, A Classic Sunday Lunch, starts with this :
A FEW DAYS AHEAD...
Order the pigeon (you need 8-12 breasts from large wood pigeons ?!? oh sorry, you can substitute squab for the pigeon if it isn't available where you shop...riiiiight....) from your butcher or poulterer and get him to carve out the breasts. Reserve the rib of beef too.
The timelines for most of the fish dishes contain this advice:
Order the fish from the fish supplier. (get him to fillet it for you) Arrange to collect it on the day if possible, or the day before.
Um, Gordon? We're cooking AT HOME. Most of us don't have a butcher/poulterer/fish supplier. We're lucky if we have anything resembling a fresh meat counter at the grocery since most stores have switched to vacuum sealed pre-packaged meats from THEIR suppliers.
Anyway, I can tell you that while most of the meals didn't appeal to me, the instructions ARE clearly written out and the food pornographers did a wonderful job of photographing some of the dishes. Instead of assuming that everyone knows how to make various stocks or keeps them onhand, Ramsay includes simple directions for how to make & store them. The timelines are concise and helpful, if you overlook the kind of thing I mentioned above. There are also a few bonus tips & tricks listed here and there throughout the book.
Oh, and among the handful of recipes that I intend to try? Gordon's Apple Pudding, Prosciutto Sage & Parmesan Puffs, Gordon's Beef Wellington, and a variation on Salmon En Croute. Most of these looked delicious, have ingredients that I can easily get, and won't keep me in the kitchen for an eternity!