I am a bit late to the party here as the book was published 3 years ago but still worth a write up. I looked at the authors website “Caves Kitchen” in my research where I found the penultimate post was made on June 1st 2013 announcing that this book would be released in a weeks time. I wonder what has happened to him?
The title of this book appeal to my senses. I am a man and I like manly food. As a youngster in the restaurant industry in the early 1990’s and pre mortgage days I was often to be found on my days off fraternising in one of the very few multiple Michelin Starred restaurants in London. Nico at 90, Harveys, La Tante Claire, Le Gavroche and Les Saveurs in Curzon street. Occasionally I would get out of town and eat at L’Ortolan or go to Oxford with my mother or a date to La Manoir aux Quat Saisons which was and is stunning. I always felt that Raymond Blancs cooking although sublime was a little too delicate and vegetal for my palate. I appreciate subtleness but love boldness and never found that in his cooking however good it was.
Therefore a book all about Manly food with 200 recipes that is easy to prepare and with masculine photography should appeal to me. The cover certainly does – a simple meat cleaver on a block of wood. Opening the book I found the paper stock to be an interesting choice. I was expecting a matt paper not gloss but that is not big deal.
The books starts of well with a run down of “The Rules”
The first rule of manly food is Flavour First.
The second rule of manly food is Flavour First.
The third rule of manly food is cook with attitude.
The fourth rule of manly food is respect your tools.
I like these.
The books starts of with some basics such as Chicken Jalfrezi and Thai Green Curry to add balance to those new to cooking. It quickly delves into more interesting dishes such as Curried Goat, Peruvian Anticuchos (a Ox heart dish), Stuffed Pork Trotters, Sweet and Sour Wild Boar as well as dozens of more standard recipes such as Devilled Kidneys and Confit Duck.
Simon has done a fine job here and I can’t help but feel this would make an ideal gift for any man with an inkling to cook. Students in particular spring to mind although not all recipes will be suitable for them. It will however good them a good grounding with dishes such as Macaroni Carbonara and Shepherds Pie included. I have not made the latter in such a long time yet it is so tasty so time to revisit it and make a batch for the freezer as well.
My only feedback would be the photography. It has been done very well but I cannot help that in a bid to make the images “manly” the art editor has showed them a stop or two underexposed (a bit dark) which for me detracts a bit and make then dished unappetising. I want the images to sing of the page and make me salivate where as they just look a bit dull. Maybe as a photographer this is purely personal preference. It does not detract from the quality of the book at all which is the main thing.
I tend to judge a cookbook on the amount of recipes I would like to make and this has a ton of them so a roaring success.