REVIEW – COOKING WITH FIRE by PAULA MARCOUX

COOKING WITH FIRE

From Roasting on a Spit to Baking in a Tannur, Rediscovered Techniques and Recipes That Capture the Flavors of Wood-Fired Cooking

By Paula Marcoux

Paperback, 320 pages  (also available as an ebook). ISBN: 9781612121581 (1612121586)
Published by Storey Publishing $19.95(US) (around £12.00 in the UK/Amazon)
There is something fundamentally rewarding about taking control of the fire whether it be for cooking, heating or firing a pottery kiln. That can be about building the fire and putting on logs but it is also very much about constructing the hearth, the spit, the oven and the kiln. Paula Marcoux’s book places that pleasure firmly in the context of that other fundamental reward, the creation of good food.

From beginning to end Paula Marcoux’s enthusiasm and deep knowledge of her subject shine through. She has considerable knowledge of historic cooking practices and food ways and has extensive practical experience through her work at the Plimoth Plantation living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Not only that but she is well-travelled and has kept a weather eye out for interesting food and traditional ways of cooking it. The range of breads and bread-making processes is the most obvious evidence of this. The result is a lively combination of historic and contemporary practice. 


The style of the book is direct and practical. Building a spit or an oven is about assembling components as likely sourced from the builder’s merchant as the kitchen shop. Marcoux takes the reader through the processes clearly and informatively and with a witty and friendly aside from time to time. This is a book that encourages you time and time again to go out and do. It is one that should get tatty and stained and slightly scorched around the edges and not sit mollycoddled on the coffee table. 
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