"A book of this kind - a mix of history, anecdote, observation, and
culinary formulas - is by definition not so much written as it is
compiled." So L.A. food-writer Andrews begins, but in fact this
homage to the cuisine of Catalonia is quite extensively, and
engagingly, written. Andrews' trove of culinary lore and anecdotes
will captivate all those inclined to do their armchair traveling in
the kitchen; and his compilation of basic Catalan ingredients,
sauces, and major dishes will wow jaded cooks who thought there
were no more undiscovered cuisines. Though many Catalan staples are
familiar Mediterranean fare, their combination and treatment
clearly justify the designation "Catalan cuisine." Even the
world-famous paella Valenciana is not, it seems, what we have made
of it. And the indispensable bacalla (salt cod), for example, is
combined in one recipe with roquefort, in another with with honey
(which Andrews admits sounds awful). The timid will sample
selectively - or save the bull testicles, anchovy spines, and squid
with chocolate sauce for their more adventurous guests; but even
those who can't face the ubiquitous lard for cooking should find
inspiration in the Catalan cooks' wonderful ways with fish, fruits,
ground nuts, and synergistic flavors. (Kirkus Reviews)
Catalonia, located in Spain's far north-east corner and centred
around the port of Barcelona, has its own cuisine and culture which
has spread to encompass Valencia, the Balearic Islands (Majorca,
Minorca and Ibiza), Andorra, the ancient region of France formerly
known as Roussilon, and a single city on the Italian island of
Sardinia. Colman Andrews explores this whole territory of Catalan
cooking, from its French, Roman and Moorish roots to today's modern
interpretation. Along the way he creates a portrait of the food,
wine, history and culture of the region.
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