This is part of my Summer Reads 2018 series where I’ll be reviewing a series of “not just cookbooks”.
Ok, to be fair, this week’s Summer Reads pick is kind of a cookbook. But it’s such a different type of cookbook that I think it qualifies as a great summer read (just one that will make you want to cook after you’ve read it!) and, indeed, I read it from cover to cover in one sitting when I first received it, just like a novel. A bedtime story all about one of my favourite ingredients – butter – what could be better? 😉
From the publisher:
Shunned since the 1960s under faulty health claims, butter was often removed from the family table, seen as a guilty pleasure and replaced in fridges across North America by “butter-like” spreads. But chefs have known for years what scientists and the general public are now circling back to: as a natural and whole food, butter is good for you. Not only that—cold, melted, or sizzling—butter is undeniably drool-inducing. Brad Long on Butter celebrates this sexy staple. From savoury to sweet dishes, classic preparations to playful spins, Brad Long revels in the buttery possibilities like no one else.
There are 25 recipes included in the book, interwoven with fun facts about butter, cheffy tips for cooking with butter and a healthy dose of Brad’s humour. His enthusiasm for the subject is infectious and Brad’s conversational style makes it feel like you’re sitting down with him over a drink, just chatting. The recipes are also written in this style which I found an absolute breath of fresh air. Imagine reading a recipe that sounds like it’s the author just talking you through it? Very few cookbooks are written like this and Brad’s personality shines through (for a novice in the kitchen, this might not be the easiest style to follow but if you’re reading this “as a book”, it makes for a fun, light and very relatable read. His love for butter (and disdain for margarine and other substitutes) is obvious and he makes hilarious (and accurate) observations about the use of substitutes through the book.
Ever hear of “steak margarine”? Yeah, there’s a reason for that. Margarine tastes like cheap vegetable oil that’s been sitting derelict in a jar by that old push mower in the shed. Therefore always butter.
The recipes range from the very basic (how to make butter, how to clarify butter, ideas for eating cold and warm butter (!), Brown Butter Vinaigrette) to some that are a little fancier (Grilled Humboldt Calamari, Butter Seared Chicken) and include some sweet treats too, contributed by Brad’s wife (a pastry chef), like Butter Tarts (of course!), Shortbread and Brown Butter Blondies. There are a lot of tips and tricks included in each of the recipes but there’s a wealth of knowledge to be found in both the headnotes and recipes themselves too. In everything from serving sizes to instructions, Brad brings a little real talk (figuring out serving sizes is always tricky and who are we to impose a certain amount of a dish on someone, right?) making for a very honest, funny and delicious read. See, I told you it’s just as much a reading book as a cookbook!
I’ve tried the Chocolate Chunk Cookies and the Butter Seared Chicken so far, both of which were delightful. I appreciated the “real talk” instructions as well. In the cookie recipe, for example, he says “Since I don’t know what size (baking) sheet you’re using, I’m just going to tell you to fir as many [cookies] as you can on the sheet you’re using”. THIS, so much THIS! I so dislike the idea of people having to go out and buy special-sized dishes or trays for a recipe – I like people to use what they have that’s closest to what’s suggested so I LOVED this instruction! In the chicken recipe, Brad extols the virtues of crispy chicken skin so, I mean, you know it’s going to be a good recipe!
The photography and food styling (by Jodi Pudge and Noah Witenoff respectively) truly make the dishes (and butter, photographed in all its glory!) shine and – warning – will make you hungry so, even if you’re reading this as a summer beach read, be prepared to be just as hungry as you are educated and amused.
I HIGHLY recommend this book – for Summer Reads or, well, anytime!
Buy Brad Long on Butter here.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Brad Long on Butter for review purposes. I was not required to review this book, nor am I receiving compensation for doing do. All opinions my own.
MY BOOK! In the French kitchen with kids releases July 31, 2018! Click here for pre-order details!