The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes

Andrews McMeel Publishing  2011

 

The Brisket Book is more than “just” a cookbook. Of course, the recipes are central, with chefs and celebrities well represented, but there are also stories, photographs, and a grand sense of humor, with jokes, cartoons, funny quotes, and how to say “brisket” in various languages.

One should note that a few of the recipes use non-kosher ingredients. Brisket lends itself to various cultures. For years, I have made overnight brisket in a slow oven with various spices in a sweet and sour way. This has freed the burners for the preparation of other dishes in the morning.

As Nahum Waxman, owner of the NYC bookstore Kitchen Arts and Letters, and famous for his brisket recipe, says, “Looking for the original recipe for brisket is like looking for the original recipe for toast.” There are interviews with him and Joan Nathan, and many counsels from other brisket mavens. The author has ventured far and wide to develop her brisket acumen.

There is even a brisket recipe for vegetarians, “A Seitan Brisket,” with a most satisfying gravy. Reading "50 Things About Brisket That People Can Disagree About" in the early pages hinted strongly that I would love this book, and I did. Examples of the disagreements are:

How thick or how thin to slice it.
Electric knife or serrated knife?
Always freeze or never freeze.
Serve at once or serve the next day.
Start with fat side up or fat side down, etc.
Recipe or instinct?

Included are corned beef and cholent recipes. There are even haikus on the subject.

Try the “Slow Cooker Brisket with Beer,” the Scandinavian influenced “Aquavit Brisket, ” or the “Temple Emanu-El Brisket.” You’ll find out why so many people feel that they have the best brisket recipe. Index, wine and side dish recommendations.

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