By Tyler Florence
Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers
356 Pages

Back Cover: Tyler Florence does updated comfort food like no one else, but comfort food’s never been updated like this. Join him as he perfects, simplifies, and totally re-invents your favorite dishes in surprising, spectacular ways.

Have you ever wondered which cheese, exactly, will make the stretchiest, cheesiest mac and cheese? Or if you can make Hollandaise sauce without fear, a double boiler, or even a whisk? Or if, instead of having to choose between onion rings or French fries, you can make onion rings crusted with French fries? Tyler Florence has. These are the kinds of questions he obsesses over when he thinks about how to make cooking both easier and more exciting.
REVIEW: I enjoy Tyler’s cooking show. I was curious about the 120 recipes he perfected. That’s why I was thrilled to receive a review copy of a cook book that is just as much fun as watching Tyler’s show (maybe a little more exciting because I get to eat the final results).
This cook book screams fun from the very first page. The hard back book is designed in a notebook style with a black rubber band to hold down the page you are working on and/or to mark your place; that is very thoughtful just like the rest of the book. There are yummy pictures throughout and the recipes are a mix of simple to those that require a little more time and attention to make. I felt confident I could make the meal with Tyler’s guidance and his personal notes on each page to give me pointers and confidence. I like how the ingredients were listed, easy to read and most of them easy to find in the grocery store.

I was hooked from the first page as it had 13 squares with delicious pictures of a food featured from the sections it represented. Tyler hand printed in a fine marker the title of each section with the page it starts on below the picture. Tyler also hand printed a paragraph or two giving readers a personal and informative look at how he started working in the restaurant business.
I liked knowing the philosophy behind creating these amazing dishes and how they were chosen. Their attitude in the test kitchen was, “We can’t be afraid to take chances. We had to try again if the first attempts didn’t work…no bad ideas in the test kitchen.”

Then they described the process in how they picked the dishes to perfect. Tyler went to his twitter and instragram followers and asked, “What do you want to learn how to cook?...My followers inspired me while asking for everything from homemade bacon to pancakes to French onion soup. In truth this book was born on social media.”

Their “mission was to find a way to make each recipe the best possible, in the most time – efficient way…..The Basics, our goal for inside the test kitchen was to empower you, the home cook, with the confidence to put even a simple dinner on the table. We wanted to equip you with the information that restaurant chefs have had but also info and methods that we were discovering for the first time, or even inventing – our general principle of letting the main ingredient shine is what drove this entire cook book.”

I do believe Tyler and his team accomplished that. Being a visual learner I appreciated the step by step pictures provided along with Tyler’s hand written notes and tips sprinkled throughout the book. I felt like I was receiving special insight and cooking lessons from the Chef himself. Yes, it did boost my confidence in the kitchen.

I found the Burger and Meatloaf section interesting and informative. Most recipes do not require special equipment except for the amazing hamburger bun Tyler makes for his perfect burger (maybe a few others).  He uses an isisiphon to add carbon dioxide to the bread without yeast. He says you can find this at specialty food stores and hardware stores. (I’ve added this to my Christmas list. Grin!) I really want to make those buns and burgers. They look amazing.

I enjoyed how Tyler virtually takes you through the testing process including fun pictures of their food testing and creative journey in the process to build a better burger blend. “They tried different ratios of fat to lean for optimal juiciness…they tested each cut and scored it….In the end, we came upon a ratio of short rib and chuck…it hits every note of flavor, texture and juiciness yon  could ever want for a burger.”

CLICK HERE to SEE the BURGERS AND FRIES I made from this book 

I felt the same way they did about the burger “hitting every note of flavor” when I tasted the California Avocado Eggs Benedict. My youngest son (16) said, “The herbs popped in his mouth on the first bite” It was such a surprise to hear this from my whole family. They loved it as much as I did. If the Eggs Benedict was that wonderful I can’t wait to try some more of these perfected recipes.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog
Book Fun Magazine


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