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In the Hands of a Chef: Cooking with Jody Adams of Rialto Restaurant    by Jody Adams & Ken Rivard order for
In the Hands of a Chef
by Jody Adams
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2001 (2001)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Jody Adams, chef and part owner of Boston's Rialto Restaurant says 'The shortest route I know to human happiness is cooking ... As a chef with a restaurant to run, I'm aware that the bottom line is my customers' satisfaction with the food that appears on their tables. But as a cook, especially a cook at home, these other pleasures (the preparations) are as important as the consumption of the meal. They're a kind of bonus that comes with 'handmade' food.' I agree with her. Watching my chef daughter cook is a treat - seeing the pleasure she gets from smelling a ripe tomato before cutting, tasting a sauce for seasoning, holding a loaf of homebaked bread, listening to a sauté pan sizzle. Cooking is about more than mere consumption. Consumption is the end result. The true delight is in the journey.

And Jody Adams is as interested in having you enjoy your time in the kitchen as she is that you try the recipes enclosed in this satisfyingly thick book. For meals with guests, there are many that can be prepared ahead of time and finished with a flourish at mealtime. In Starters and Small Bites, with the exception of Grilled Clams on the Half-Shell with Garlic Crostini (heaven), all the other recipes can be prepared early. We move on to Soups and Stocks, then Salads, and through other headers that fill every need for a meal for your guests, your family, or, best of all, for you and that someone special. Personally I am intrigued by Roasted Vegetables with Fresh Herbs and Pomegranate Seeds. I've never used pomegranate seeds, but can't wait to try this - and Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Herbed Cheese in Fritter Batter. Wow!

I can't mention all the recipes. But I can tell you that this is a unique book, with glorious photographs of luscious dishes that can be yours. Be daring. Try something new and exciting. Prove that you can do more than meat loaf and mashed potatoes. Go to the market and pick out the plumpest ripe tomato with that peculiar smell of freshness that pervades its stem. Be sure the field greens are fresh. Choose the bright green asparagus spears with their tightly closed buds. Insist on the smell of the sea and bright eyes on your fish. Or perhaps you want chicken. Ask for the plumpest with the brightest color. Cook with music to relax your mood. Create a dish with the freshest of ingredients. Move around your kitchen as though you were part of a team. Smell the fragrance of the spices. Shake the dew off herbs. Chop to a rhythm. Enjoy what you are doing. Give yourself up to the moment. Become the cook you want to be.

In the Hands of a Chef will help you learn the skills needed to brings smiles to the faces of the people you are serving and, better yet, will encourage you to savor your time in the kitchen.

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