I think I have finally arrived.
I get a lot of political books to review. But I have now reached the point where I am getting cookbooks to review. I would much rather review a cookbook. The first to show up in the mail is hitting me perfectly where I am in the kitchen at the moment.
For those of you who do not know, I cook. I am an amateur, but I love it. I have a Big Green Egg and am on the verge of investing in a DCS grill to replace an older Weber gas grill. I am one of those people who gets up at 5 o’clock in the morning to get bread going and rising so I can have fresh, homemade bread, for breakfast. I cook.
And I am always looking for new cookbooks and magazines and recipes.
This one is one of the most intriguing of late. Pitt Cue Co. The Cookbook is a cookbook for a barbecue restaurant in . . . wait for it . . . London.
No, not London, TN.
No, not London, TX.
And no, not London, KY.
London, England, United Kingdom. That London.
I approached it carefully knowing there were going to be some recipes in there that I probably wouldn’t want to even read. And there are a few, but then that has more to do with me not being down on the current foodie craze of whole animal cooking and I am a very, very, very picky eater, which necessitated me learning to cook when I was five years old.
I kid you not, by the way. When I was five I was learning to measure cognac into carrots and brown sugar to make Flemish style carrots because my mother was too frustrated by my pickiness to keep cooking for me. So she got me a cookbook, a stool, and told me to go for it. She walked me through the recipes, but I had to do the cooking — burns and all. It worked and set off a life long passion, but I am still picky.
Nonetheless, Pitt Cue’s first chapter is basically my heart on the page — bourbon recipes. I took this photo of my bourbon collection a while back. It has grown by about 10 more bottles since then.
Even my wife wanted to flip through the first chapter. She was intrigued by the various concoctions, including a very impressive hot toddy recipe with ginger and honey. We both skipped through the chapter on snacks as neither of us can see ourselves making buffalo pig tail or pickled fish and pickled parts of animals. No thanks.
But, of course, the main affair is the chapter titled “Meats, Sauces, and Rubs.” I encountered a few recipes that would be tough outside of New York. Here in Macon, Georgia, getting dry aged beef trim for their mother sauce is rather burdensome and there aren’t a lot of butcher shops to go to. But if you make it, wow. Their barbecue sauce could pass for an authentic southern barbecue sauce too. I don’t even like apricots and it was quite a good sauce on some pulled pork.
I mentioned that I am an amateur home cook. There are a number of recipes I’d never try just because I am not super skilled with a lot of time and access to all the ingredients in middle Georgia. I also am not sure I want what amounts to a macaroni sandwich.
Overall though, and this is why I get so many cookbooks, there are so many sauces, rubs, and variations of the tried and true that every page has a bit of inspiration for my own experimentation. The last chapter on desserts does not disappoint either. They have a few ice cream recipes I have not yet tried, but intend to try. Several look easier, but just as good, as the ones I already make. My wife wants to make the Banoffee Mess, which is sort of a banana pudding with bourbon. Of course, being British, there has to be a Pimm’s dessert too. And there is rhubarb throughout the book.
Pitt Cue Co.’s cookbook is not a cookbook you’ll probably pull out all the time to cook from. But it is worth exploring, worth buying, and worth drawing inspiration from. Sometimes an outsider can draw in and create from the world in which you live in ways you would never think to. Send some Brit barbecue fans to the south and this is what you get — a delightful take on what to you is a rather ordinary, roadside meal.