Monday, December 26, 2005

Cook Until Desired Tenderness: Book & Contest

Remember the Griffin and Sabine books by Nick Bantock? They were beautiful, filled with the most amazing collage-style prints and illustrations. The stories were romantic and magical yet never mushy. They were like children's illustrated books but for adults.

Now imagine a culinary version and you have Cook Until Desired Tenderness, by Cleo Papanikolas. It's a gorgeous keepsake book that reads like a personal journal. Our heroine is Sugar, a girl growing up in the 70's in a household where refined sugar is forbidden. The story begins with her discovery of some old recipe cards and ends with her finding her place as a garde manger in a restaurant. But baked into the story you'll also find flirtations with spoons, a bite me sandwich, a nail cake, dinners gone awry and pots of butternut soup. A modern culinary fantasy, it has heartache, humor and a happy ending.

The illustrations are like a scrapbook of recipe cards, guest checks and watercolor creations. No actual recipes here, but a nice rainy day book to curl up with and savor over a cup of cocoa. If you crave a poetic mix of passion for cooking and cooking for passion, this slim volume is just the thing.

And now, a contest! According to Le Confiturier francois, from the 17th Century, which of the following is NOT a stage of sugar cooking?

A. Ribbon
B. Pearl
C. Feather
D. Glass

Choose the correct answer and post your guess in the comment section, be sure to include your email so I can contact you, if you win! Only one entry per person so choose carefully. The first three people to correctly answer will receive a copy of Cook Until Desired Tenderness, courtesy of North Atlantic Books. Think of this as a last holiday gift from me to you!