By Lyndsay and Patrick Mikanowski
not sure how to feel about this book. We want to love it.
It’s beautiful and gorgeously photographed. It isn’t
a book for everybody, nor does it have to be. It seems intended
for an elitist club—precisely which kind, we’re
not sure—of which we’re not members.
we are, however, and Uncooked
appeals to our artistic sensibilities. But, though we are
not vegetarian, we nonetheless find there to be way too
much foie gras, mackerel and cured duck on these pages.
And while many recipes are surprisingly easy to execute
and the food photography is stunning, we are hard pressed
to find a single dish that appeals to our appetites. Okay,
call us pedestrian, perhaps, but the bell pepper, tomato
and feta cheese gazpacho might work. Certainly not the Granny
Smith juice with salmon roe.
been observing the raw food movement with interest. Charlie
Trotter’s creations are stellar. Roxanne Klein’s
eponymous restaurant in Larkspur, a chic outpost in the
San Francisco Bay area’s trendy Marin County, though
now shuttered, deserved the rave reviews it drew during
its heyday. Even raw food guru Juliano
in Santa Monica has wowed us occasionally.
when you try to take it into the home kitchen, things can
get quite frustrating. A recent houseguest and devotee of
“living food” took three hours to prepare breakfast.
We’re all for the slow food movement, but not the
fussy, tedious variation that relies upon dehydrators and
other laboratory gadgets.
Also check out or review of
Trotter and Roxanne Klein.
we can love raw food, and we don’t mind putting in
a certain effort. Adding raw items renders the blood more
alkaline and immediately improves digestion. We could even
go as far as saying that we have more energy when we eat
raw foods. But where, oh where, will we get the Green Zebra
tomatoes, lotus root, daikon sprouts and marsh samphire
doesn’t come as a surprise to us that the authors
aren’t cooks but, rather, a food development consultant
and a landscape designer. It’s all about form over
function here—high art, but not grounded. Spending
too much time with the book makes us long for a big bite
of M.F.K. Fisher.
also aware of the difference between raw food and uncooked
food. But necessary ingredients are difficult to come by
and costly. And to come even close to the idealized creations
in the book, you have to be a master at chopping, grating
and slicing. Worse still, the wines suggested for pairings
are pricey and hard to obtain. There are no ideas for putting
together a full meal. And, at times, the translation from
the French is sloppy.
authors suggest spending the time saved by not cooking on
arranging and styling your food and playing with its colors,
shapes and textures. They say eating like this will keep
you healthier and slimmer. They may be right and true, some
folks will doubtless find this book a revelation—not
to mention a nice coffee table addition. It’s just
that we prefer to get a bit down and dirty and up-close
and personal with our food—and show it some heat!
by Sylvie Greil