Most contemporary cookbooks encourage small talk – depicting undulating landscapes and colourful market scenes, evoking memories of gatherings with family and friends.
It was thus really refreshing for me to read a no-nonsensical, functional, direct and structured cookbook based on menus by Ferran Adrià, especially since he’s known to be as much of an artist as being the best chef in the world.
The book has its roots from designing daily meals for the staff, known as “The Family”, at El Bulli; shedding light on many interesting accounts in the professional world that can be applied to the home kitchen, and giving you the option to cook for a huge party – up to 75 people.
The Family Meal assumes that you already want to cook, and that you want to share the result of that passion with your loved ones.
My first experience with sushi was at a place called Sushi King, where limp pieces of fish were stuck onto stone cold rice and then chucked onto a rolling conveyor belt.
I still recall my excitement when I fished up (pun intended) those Techni-coloured plates from the belt, believing that tuna-mayo-and-sweetcorn on a blob of rice was authentic Japanese cuisine.
Oh, how I wished the tantalising movie “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” was produced back then so I would have known better.
Through the story of a remarkable 86 year old sushi master as well as that of the people who made his sushi creations possible – his fish dealer, his apprentices and his respectful sons – I was being enlightened about the world of sushi.
And like art, the more you understand it – the concepts behind its creation, the human story, the meticulous work put into it, and the difficulty of the trade – the more you’d enjoy it.