Book review – Relish sensual food

2011-11-25 10:26

Savour by Marc Hirschowitz,
Karen Alsfine and Estelle Sacharowitz
384 pages; R350

I am going to guess this is the book your foodie friend would like to find in her Christmas stocking.

Not because it is full of exotic recipes and techniques hitherto unheard of, but rather because it is, well, not to put too fine a point on it – food porn.

Paging through this book is simply delicious and feels mildly naughty.

Arranged in a novel way, the three co-conspirators Marc Hirschowitz, Karen Alsfine and Estelle Sacharowitz have come up with some evocative chapters.

Among them there’s Cleave, Pure, Chill, Slurp, Mess and my personal favourite, Brave, which includes a recipe for a courageous cheese soufflé (too much fiddly work for a slap-dash cook of my ilk, but I can dream can’t I?).

The Vintage chapter has the likes of avocado ritz, classy stuff in the 1970s, as well as mac and cheese – though few of us need a recipe, the picture is good enough to eat.

There’s also simple stuff like a caramel treat, which is little more than a tin of caramel, a few meringues and some roughly chopped crunchie.

Which brings us to the nice thing about this book: it’s full of ideas and ways to cheat. Also, it vindicates your sandwich supper in the chapter entitled Love.

Toasted three-cheese and tomato or toasted tuna paté – with just a spot of finesse, a bog-standard sarmie is transformed into something magical.

In the Mess chapter, the creators do the same with children’s party food, offering up a plethora of pretty smart ways to keep the food from being a complete sugar rush.

At the front end there are numerous easy things to serve up at your fabulous Christmas party (even if the planning never goes further than a day dream), while near the back there are a number of cocktails, two of which are definitely going to show up on my festive table – the watermelon, raspberry and rose-water cocktail; and the Kiwi, mint and lime crush.

I might also mix up the cucumber and peach martini to sip while I mentally prepare for an array of simply divine imaginary guests.

Savour is a book to, well, savour – which means “to perceive by taste or smell, especially with relish. To taste appreciatively.” I have certainly done all that since this book slid on to my desk. Any day now I will start cooking out of it and if I don’t, it’s still worth having on my shelf.

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