Select one of the keywords
Salut!: The Quebec Microbrewery Beer Cookbook    by Raymond Beauchemin order for
by Raymond Beauchemin
Order:  USA  Can
Véhicule Press, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Journalist Raymond Beauchemin opens his yeasty cookbook with a discussion of St. Arnold, the patron saint of brewers, who spent his life exhorting peasants to avoid drinking water (wise advice in those times!) Tidbits of historical facts (included with the recipes) offer readers 'a continuing tale of people who have left us a tradition worth cherishing.' The book's title is the traditional French-Canadian drinking toast. Beauchemin tells us why 'a recipe is like a story', and explains the 'chemistry of cooking'. He surveys beer styles in Quebec, and a handy substitution chart matches beers mentioned with N. American alternatives and popular imports. There are tips for beer-food pairings, and a brief menu planner.

On to the recipes! Starters open with several Mussels recipes I'd love to try (Kick-Ass Mussels anyone?) except for an allergy. A cold Escabèche (fish marinated in a beery sauce) sounds delicious, and Chinese Shrimp Rolls, or a communal bowl of beery Hummus are always popular. An Illégal Black Bean Gazpacho would hit the spot for a hot summer day - there's also a Damned Gazpacho, whose name comes from the Maudite beer incorporated. Strawberry-Cherry Cream Soup sounds refreshing. And strong ale enhances a French Onion Soup recipe for wintry weather. In Salads and Sides, I especially like the look of Artichoke Strudel and a Smoked Salmon Salad.

Main Dishes include a variety of pasta sauces, like Spaghetti Sauce with Eggplant and Cinnamon, and plenty of chicken dishes, including Apricot Chicken Pilaf with Almonds. There's even a Turkey Tourtière for the traditional Christmas Eve reveillon. Pork dishes include Pork Roll with Apples and Paella de Matane. Veal and steak choices follow, with several Chili options. Varied beers add flavor to salmon, tuna, scallops, trout and swordfish. Next come breads, pancakes, French toast, biscuits and pizza. Though I usually stick to the family recipe, I may even try the more sophisticated Soda Bread here. Desserts with beer? I'll try anything once, starting with Chocolate Stout Mousse and Cherry Zabaglione. Finish off with beer and cheese - general advice and pairing tips are included.

Concluding the cookbook: are a section on beer mixed drinks; a history of beer and breweries in North America but particularly in Quebec, from the Vikings to a 1990s microbrewery expansion; and a commentary on the evolution of the author's passion for beer in Massachusetts, Quebec, and around the world. If you enjoy beer and food in combination, sprinkled with historical tidbits, then don't miss this engaging cookbook. Mine will soon be dog-eared. Salut!

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews