Plucked from our mailbox: a proof of Thomas Keller's forthcoming cookbook, "Ad Hoc At Home," for the home cook - that's right, the home cook.
Sh-yeah right, you're tempted to say. Home cooking from the chief mentor to Grant Achatz?
Take our word for it -- the book isn't false advertising in the least. Keller is only just a guy, after all. There are recipes for beef stroganoff, pineapple upside-down cake and chocolate chip cookies, for crying out loud. These are dishes meant to be served family-style. As far as we can tell, ingredients are all familiar and available; no need for Fed Ex or all-night Google searches. (And the graphics, oddly enough, are reminiscient of the opening and closing credits to "Juno.")
With every chef and their dog doing a downscale concept of some sort (Keller included; the book's title refers to Ad Hoc, his casual restaurant down the road from the French Laundry), and the economy as it is, Keller's timing is perfect. But, as Keller writes, his aim was less capitalistic. His father died soon after he began work on the book. Keller cooked his dad's last meal: barbecued chicken with mashed potatoes and braised collard greens (bought at the grocery store -- he shops at the grocery store!).
"And now I am unspeakably grateful to have made it -- that dinner remains important to me," Keller writes. "And so does the food we -- friends and family -- would have in the following days, brought together in grief, comforted by food."
"Ad Hoc at Home" (Artisan, $50) will be out in November.
And speaking of Achatz: The Alinea chef's memoir about his cancer-ridden path to culinary stardom has been picked up by Gotham Books, the NYT's Diner's Journal blog reports.