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Liza

TDG: The Babbo Cookbook

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Coming to a crowded bookshelf near you, Mario Batali's Babbo: The Cookbook, May 2002.

Mint love letters, anyone?

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Thanks!  I am an Italian wine fan and am continually delighted at Babbo, Lupa, Esca.  Whether I spend a lot or a little, I find it fabulous.

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I agree, Andy. The book is a pleasure. The photographs are great, the recipe descriptions seem clear, and it is easy to get a sense of the flavours and textures. I think that this is so because Batali himself takes great pleasure in what he's doing.

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Andy, I enjoyed reading your review very much. Told me what I want to know about a book. And now that I've tasted the food "live" I look forward to attempting it at home; sounds like it's quite do-able. Thanks!

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Thanks Suzanne. Yes, I've cooked a number of recipes and had great success with them. Sometimes I buy a book, read it and take maybe only one or two recipes from it, but this one is full of stuff I want to try.

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I've also cooked a number of things from the Babbo book, and I think the big winner is the fish chapter. It's mostly just variations on the same method: make a salad, put a piece of seared fish on it, throw on a dressing/sauce. I can't think of a better illustration of how chefs work: the basic techniques are few, the variations endless.

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Great review. I do think this is one of the most appealing books that I have both aesthetically and culinarily. There is a beautiful glossy picture for almost every recipe in the book. It is an enjoyable read (even my wife couldn't help but flip through it) and as Andy said you could absolutely feel how much Batali loves what he does and how much passion he has for it. Recipes I've tried so far include beef cheek ravioli, black pepper pasta, gnochi with ox tail ragu, Pappardelle bolognese, potato encrusted tuna steak, polenta short-bred cookies, walnut cookies-- I think that's all so far. Each and every recipe worked perfectly and I am looking forward to trying more "adventurous" ones such as the lamb tartar with quail egg and to make my own duck brasiole (sp?) or Guanciale. what did anyone else try (especially some of the more exotic ones)?

Thanks again for agreat review Andy.

FM

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I love the Babbo cookbook, and so does everybody who has eaten the recipes cooked from it. Not a clunker in there. Not having eaten there, I'm wondering though, if Christopher Hershiemer and her styling team have gussied up the food pics, so that they all tend to look incredibly lush and delicious, or does the food really look like that when you eat there?

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Thanks, Andy. I enjoyed your write-up.

Just one thing to add. If I'd never been to Babbo, I think I'd get the impression the food was lighter and less bold than it is. For example when you mention lightness of touch, and say that "richness only really creeps in at the dolci stage", that is different from my experiences. The meat sauces on the pasta are incredibly rich, and the short rib (both in the restaurant and made at home from the recipe in The Babbo Cookbook) is one one the richest dishes I've ever had.

By the way, when you coming over to NY, Andy?

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I think the review was a bit fawning. I don't know about breaking new culinary ground, it seems that this field has been well plowed by Marcella Hazan and others. As to the ingredients lists, come on! Ox cheeks and fennel pollen are always stocked at my local market - I think right next to each other.

One last thing - perhaps new ground might be found and broken by Chef Mario and his ilk if they stay in the kitchen where their talents lie rather than in front of TV cameras where their paychecks rule the day.

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Yes, Andy, worthy writeup. I have enjoyed the cookbook, elsewhere wrote something akin to FoodMan's noting the beauty of the book itself. Just a high-quality package in entirety.

While the beyond-reproach Marcella Hazan perhaps prepared the ground for the Mario Batali juggernaut of recent years, Mario's juxtaposition of hard-nosedness with bonhomie is irresistible. And his dishes make sense, and work, too. Especially for a cook with a foundation built on Marcella's own hard-nosedness--I've found them to be complementary.

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I think the review was a bit fawning. I don't know about breaking new culinary ground, it seems that this field has been well plowed by Marcella Hazan and others. As to the ingredients lists, come on!  Ox cheeks and fennel pollen are always stocked at my local market - I think right next to each other.

One last thing - perhaps new ground might be found and broken by Chef Mario and his ilk if they stay in the kitchen where their talents lie rather than in front of TV cameras where their paychecks rule the day .

I wonder why new ground must be found. I've always found that his shows give me ideas and ingrediant combinations that haven't occurred to me. My only complaint is that the half hour format makes the show seem very rushed. I've learned over the years not to count anybody's money except my own.

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The Babbo cookbook is much better than Cats, I will see it again and again. :wacko:

I have made the mint love letters. per Mamster's comment above, I am anxious to try the fish recipes next. It is also beautifully photographed.


Edited by ron johnson (log)

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And, MUCH to its credit, it does not come off the stage and it does not sit on your lap.

And doesn't sing ALW songs, neither.

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And doesn't sing ALW songs, neither.

I thought there was only one, he just changes the lyrics for each show. :wink:

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Nice Review Andy. I enjoy the book as well and have made some of the simpler recipes from it. I also appreciate the fact that the quality of the Photographs , Design and Paper is solid. I recently recieved a Daniel's Cafe Bouloud and can't say the same about it.

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I think the review was a bit fawning.

How did you know my nickname for Andy is, "My Little Fawn"?

It's certainly a positive review -- very positive. But I don't know if it can be characterized as fawning if the conclusions are correct and it really is an awesome cookbook. I have to say, of all the TV chefs, Mario is the one who puts food on the plate that most supports his celebrity. And the feedback on this thread confirms that many of the serious food people here on eGullet think just as highly of him as My Little Fawn does.

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The difference between Mario and the others on TVFN is that Mario is still a full time restauranteur. To my knowledge he hasnt been taping any new stuff recently, has he?

With the exception of the heavy travel intensive shows like Bourdain's, most of those shows seasons are taped in like a week or two weeks time, I think. Mario Eats Italy was filmed a long time ago over the spring or summer of 2001 and there arent any new ones.

Liza: is he taping any new Molto Marios?

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The difference between Mario and the others on TVFN is that Mario is still a full time restauranteur. To my knowledge he hasnt been taping any new stuff recently, has he?

With the exception of the heavy travel intensive shows like Bourdain's, most of those shows seasons are taped in like a week or two weeks time, I think. Mario Eats Italy was filmed a long time ago over the spring or summer of 2001 and there arent any new ones.

Liza: is he taping any new Molto Marios?

I think he is taping new shows per several articles I read about him (unless they are outdated). However as was mentioned earlier Batali's first and foremost obligation is to his restaurants (especially Babbo). He said that he usually tapes up to 4 or 5 shows per day of MM pretty much in real time and then he is at Babbo by noon!! So the whole season will take him about a week's worth of taping. I believe I read this info in a Q&A session with him on the TVFN web site's forum. I don't know how much of "breaking new grounds" he is doing but I can say that flipping through "Babbo" or "Simple Italian Cooking" makes me want to try stuff I would never have thought of.

FM

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Andy the review is right on. I got the book for Christmas and spent one evening entranced just reading. I have since made some of the Pastas and actually started curing hog jowls. I agree that mario is the one chef on FNTV that puts food on the plate, that you can get in his establishments. On another note I thought Joe's additions helped the book and made it more accessible.

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I think the review was a bit fawning.

How did you know my nickname for Andy is, "My Little Fawn"?

Fat Guy - you said this would be our secret, how could you!

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I just wanted to say thank you so much for all this wonderful feedback......oh Christ, I'm fawning again aren't I?

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