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Susur: A Culinary Life


sushi boy
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I bought the book 2 days ago and I haven't put it down. The book itself is unique as is Susur. the first part of the book is a history of Susur's rise to culinary fame. The seond part is about 60 recipes. These recipes can be found throughout the first book's story as how Susur evolved as a cook. There is lots of great photography throughout the book, which makes me feel better about the $60 price tag. I would recommend this book to any cook to learn more about this great chef and to expand your knowledge of French/Chinese cooking.

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Toronto Public Library has got about 8 to 10 copies on order. Today I reserved one, the 33rd person to do so.

Doesn't usually take long to get to the head of the list, though.

Edited by KevV (log)
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I bought mine at the local bookstore. Once or twice a year I usually buy something from there. I usually buy my books from Amazon. They are selling it for $42.00. No matter what the cost it's worth it and the wait from the library. :wink:

Dan Walker

Chef/Owner

Weczeria Restaurant

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Will likely bite the bullet and shell out the cash for the book. I don't think a library copy will do, don't think they would like cooking stains left on the book from spills in the kitchen when I return it.

[chuckle] Well, if you'd rather stain your own personal copy, for which you paid the big bucks, then go ahead! :smile:

More trees will be cut down if you all buy your own, :sad: but at least for library types like myself this also means less competition for the copies available for lending.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone tried any of the recipes yet?

I was looking at this book today. Beautiful photography. The recipes look very time-consuming, with so much happening on one plate at one time. Three or four different sauces, elaborate garnishes, etc.

Edited by the g-man (log)
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The book is very attractive and, although I have not always agreed with Jacob, he is a good writer and I enjoyed his essays here. Regarding the complexity of the recipes it is clear Susur does not consider this to be a "cookbook". There were some interesting quotes in recent Toronto Stars, "... it's not about showing people how to cook ... if you buy a book on architecture do you race out and build something ...".

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Another good comment from Susur in the Wed TorStar 'Food' section - although I'm not entirely sure I agree - was why serve food in restaurants that you can just make at home?

Well, there's the issue of convenience - perhaps you can make it, but 'don't have time', etc. Lots of people are like this, though I think what is usually means is 'I don't know how to cook,' 'can't be bothered to try,' etc.

Yet, it can sometimes be fun to taste things made by others which you have made yourself, and to compare. Sometimes, by the time I'm finished making something, I'm just tired of it and don't want to eat it. Let others do the dirty work 'cause I've had enough. But if someone else makes the same dish for me ...

But I generally agree with what Susur said. It'd be nice to go for a meal where ingredients are used I just wouldn't/couldn't buy, where I wouldn't know the techniques needed to make dishes myself, where a recipe would combine things in ways I wouldn't have thought of.

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I haven't had the time yet to gather all the ingrdiants and the courage to try one of Susur's recipes, however, I do not believe the format will be a problem - the book certainly sits quite flat and I suspect will maintain that position for the 12 hours I will need to complete my first try.

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I don't have Keller's book but for me these are the most complex recipes I have seen. Jennifer Bain re-printed Susur's recipe for Wuxi Braised Pork Roast With Roasted Vegetables and Corn & Barley Compote in the October 26 Star. If the link I include below doesn't work you can get to it from their Home page.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...ist977508362108

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Will likely bite the bullet and shell out the cash for the book. I don't think a library copy will do, don't think they would like cooking stains left on the book from spills in the kitchen when I return it.

[chuckle] Well, if you'd rather stain your own personal copy, for which you paid the big bucks, then go ahead! :smile:

More trees will be cut down if you all buy your own, :sad: but at least for library types like myself this also means less competition for the copies available for lending.

I'll wait for the library, too, after all the fuss has died down. When I read the Star article, I knew right away I wouldn't have the patience to follow many of Susar's excellent but painstaking recipes. I was a little put off by the fact that a boneless pork loin roast could be substituted for rolled and tied pork belly!

Bargain hunters can get the book at Costco, which has popular items about 40% below list. I saw it there, but didn't actually remember the price.

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I don't have Keller's book but for me these are the most complex recipes I have seen.  Jennifer Bain re-printed Susur's recipe for Wuxi Braised Pork Roast With Roasted Vegetables and Corn & Barley Compote in the October 26 Star.  If the link I include below doesn't work you can get to it from their Home page.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...ist977508362108

I havent' seen Susur's book yet, but I have the Bouchon cookbook and it's plenty complicated.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I flipped through it briefly and found it more complicated than Bouchon, and most likely French Laundry as well, at the very least more fiddly. Maybe it's just that nothing really seemed to catch my eye and make me want to buy it. I admire Susur immensly, both food and technique, but it didn't make me want to recreate the dishes I glanced at....

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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I don't have Keller's book but for me these are the most complex recipes I have seen.  Jennifer Bain re-printed Susur's recipe for Wuxi Braised Pork Roast With Roasted Vegetables and Corn & Barley Compote in the October 26 Star.  If the link I include below doesn't work you can get to it from their Home page.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...ist977508362108

From reading the Star's take it doesn't look like the techniques are very difficult, just the shopping and lots of time to follow the instructions. I'd bet she could have saved a lot of running around with a trip to T&T Supermarket where she would have found most of the Asian the ingredients in one place.

My Blog - My Dinner Table

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Has anyone seen a copy? Thoughts? Is it worth it?

i got my copy last night--gorgeously put together, the first half, as others have said, is biography, exposure to food, and base recipes, and the second half, more elaborate recipes.

i browsed through it for 4-5 hours last night, and prob will again this evening.

:biggrin:

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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I don't have Keller's book but for me these are the most complex recipes I have seen.  Jennifer Bain re-printed Susur's recipe for Wuxi Braised Pork Roast With Roasted Vegetables and Corn & Barley Compote in the October 26 Star.  If the link I include below doesn't work you can get to it from their Home page.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentSe...ist977508362108

From reading the Star's take it doesn't look like the techniques are very difficult, just the shopping and lots of time to follow the instructions. I'd bet she could have saved a lot of running around with a trip to T&T Supermarket where she would have found most of the Asian the ingredients in one place.

The link to Star article will work, but you have to register and answer a lot of consumer oriented questions. Once you do that the article will come right up. This is better than some publications, like the Wall St. Journal, or the Economist, who make you pay or susbscribe.

Where is T&T supermarket?

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I got my copy yesterday and didn't put it down until I went cover to cover to cover to cover. Unlike most cookbooks - a lot of insight was given into his background and formative years. Also an exception, I've had 75% of the dishes listed in the recipe section. I thought the personal items were a nice inclusion.

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Jay, T & T Supermarket has 3 locations in Toronto. One in the Promenade Mall (Bathurst north of Steeles) One at Steeles and Warden (Northwest corner) and one on McCowan, north of Steeles I think. Sorry, not too sure about the 3rd location just going from memory. I've been to the Steeles & Warden location. Very clean, great selection, don't go on a weekend if you can help it!

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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