Jimmy Schmidt's creativity extends well beyond the robust, acclaimed food leaving his kitchen—Jimmy Schmidt teaches a way of eating. As John Mariani says in the book's foreword, "If you want to know the direction American cooking is heading in the next century, Jimmy Schmidt's Cooking Class would be a good starting point."
The book is a collection of popular articles written for the Detroit Free Press over the course of four years. with them, the book transforms the reader into one of Jimmy Schmidt's students. Each lesson focuses on a main ingredient - fennel, pumpkin, and crayfish are a few examples—or, occasionally, a main food category—granitas, chutneys, souffles, etc. Schmidt not only teaches the reader how to purchase and prepare the item, but also informs us of its history and lore. A selection of recipes with nutritional information follows. This format presents both encyclopedic knowledge and recipes in a chatty, accessible manner. These ingredients are further separated by season—figs, tomatoes, and blackberries are featured in Summer, morel mushrooms and sorrel in Spring, nuts, polenta, and pumpkin in Autumn, and lentils and root soups in Winter. Sidebars contain cool culinary facts, providing valuable entertainment between procedural steps. Combine these elements with a host of good friends (another aspect of eating that Schmidt promotes), and you have the makings of a meal to remember!
If you are searching for gourmet cuisine without pretension, culinary knowledge without intimidation, and beautiful food without the hype, Jimmy Schmidt's Cooking Class is for you. The facts, information, and healthy, sophisticated recipes introduce you to a cooking style grounded in its teaching and sustainability. And if that is the future of American cooking, a scrumptious and sustainable table awaits us!
Jimmy Schmidt's Cooking Class:
Seasonal Recipes from A Chef's Kitchen
By Jimmy Schmidt
$19.95 / Paper
Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: May 20, 1996
Reprinted with permission
This page created 1996; modified November 2006
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