"The World of Blantyre & The Cookery of Christopher Brooks"
What is it about cookbooks today? They seem to be morphing into lifestyle books from the old nuts and bolts of, say, the food-centric books of Fanny Farmer (Boston School of Cooking) or Irma Rombauer (Joy of Cooking.)Â Issue #119 of Saveur magazine reviewed the latest batch in this new trend in cookbooks. All were in the $25 to $250 range, and all were about way more than just food.Â Writer Sara Dickerman even coined a new term to describe them. They are the "portmanteau cookbook: part journal, part personal culinary manifesto, and part scrapbook." I call them cookbooks for readers!
Elevating this trend, but along similar lines, author Claire Hopeley beautifully recreated a sense of place within the covers of her latest book: "The World of Blantyre & The Cookery of Christopher Brooks" ($70) It is a tour dÂ’ force of the Grands Chefs Relais & ChÃ¢teaux Blantyre Inn, including the history, decoration and foods of this Lenox Massachusetts hotel some have called the Â“Best in the WorldÂ”.
A Book Instead of a Visit
For those of us unable to spring for a weekend at Blantyre, which could easily cost more than $2000 for a couple, Ann Fitzpatrick Brown produced and published a luscious coffee-table compendium of all that is Blantyre. Titled: "The World of Blantyre & The Cookery of Christopher Brooks" ($70) by Claire Hopeley, it is equal parts exquisite full-color photographs, detailed history of BlantyreÂ’s origins, and a thorough examination of the kitchen, philosophy, and recipes of BlantyreÂ’s incredible Executive Chef, Christopher Brooks. If you canÂ’t be in Chef Brooks' kitchen as he teaches the techniques of Grands Chefs Relais & ChÃ¢teaux culinary perfection, this book is the next best thing.
See my article RICHARD FRISBIE :: At Blantyre - Dashi - a light broth recipe and video for a sample of the recipes and style. It's really a great book.
Ample recipes for using this newly acquired ability with dashi are included in the book, along with others for entrees, desserts and soups. Chef Brooks' clear instructions bring even the most complex dishes within the reach of the average cook. IÂ’d suggest getting a copy of the book, buying a huge bunch of flowers, and spending the afternoon cooking up the wonderful taste of Blantyre with someone you love. Then, pretend youÂ’re at the spa and practice new massage techniques on each other while dinner gently simmers on the stove. It's the next best thing to being there!
RICHARD FRISBIE :: Dinner at Blantyre
If you can get away overnight, or longer, call for reservations for one of the most memorable times of your life - at Blantyre, in the Berkshires - the best hotel in the world!
To order "The World of Blantyre & The Cookery of Christopher Brooks"
Richard Frisbie, FOOD Correspondent:
RICHARD FRISBIE is published twice a month to Gather Essentials: Food. It is a food junkie's take on growing, raising, preparing and - above all else - eating food. Together weÂ’ll explore the trends, addictions, equipment and regional specialties that make up the sometimes mundane and sometimes sublime cooking and dining experience. You can keep up with my other postings and Gather activity by joining my Gather network -- I look forward to hearing from you.
You can read all of my articlesÂ http://rfrisbie.gather.com/ or find them with those of the other Food Correspondents, plus celebrity chef content and plenty of other Foodies atÂ http://foodtalk.gather.com
BIO - Richard Frisbie writes culinary travel articles, is a columnist for his local newspapers, and is a regular contributor to the many Hudson Valley, Catskill Mountain and other regional New York publications. Online, he writes frequent articles for EDGE publications, GoNomad and Travel Lady, as well as Gather.
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