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Myra Kornfeld Reviews and interviews 0 Comments

CLICK HERE to read the full review: BOOK REVIEW: “Cooking with The Muse” by Myra Kornfeld and Stephen Massimilla

May 06, 2016
In “Cooking with the Muse: A Sumptuous Gathering of Seasonal Recipes, Culinary Poetry, and Literary Fare,” co-authors Myra Kornfeld and Stephen Massimilla explore the full potential of a complete seasonal cookbook, one that celebrates real food and the rich cycles and traditions behind it. Here the glories of fresh ingredients, nutritious cooking, and delectable dishes are honored as never before.

This 500-page cookbook features 150 recipes with more than 200 full-color photographs, dishes inspired by cuisines from around the world. Reflecting the cooking instructor Myra Kornfeld’s background in real foods traditions and nutrition, these dishes highlight fresh, local ingredients and encourage the use of seasonal produce, wild seafood, traditional fats, and mat from pasture-raised animals. This book is also Paleo-friendly and gluten-free-friendly throughout – while remaining a delight for omnivores. All the recipes have been thoroughly tested and are easy to follow. They will appeal to casual and experienced cooks alike.

Thanks to Stephen Massimilla’s venerable career as scholar and poet who also lectures and teaches about food, history, and the environment, he revels in the culinary and literary cross-fertilization of cultures. Compared to other seasonal cookbooks, this volume has extraordinary added value: interesting and beautiful literary pieces about food, cooking and eating, each treasure perfectly paired, like a fine wine, with each dish.

“Cooking with The Muse” draws on culinary wisdom from not only from contemporary American cooks and nutritionists, but from many traditions and eras – from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the Bible, from the medieval Sufis to the Japanese, from the great Romantics to a dazzling pageant of modern “food” writers.

Befitting their emphasis on fresh ingredients, the recipes are presented in sections honoring the seasons, starting with Autumn, where such crops as corn, apples, eggplant, and squash are celebrated. Whether delighting in the authors’ “Cranberry-Glazed Roast Turkey,” or their “Blackberry Parfait” paired with the deliciously lyrical “Blackberry Eating” by Galway Kinnell, readers will experience the rich flavors of this savory season.

The Winter section features a scrumptious range of healthy comfort food dishes to hunker down with – from “Nut-Butter-and-Jam-Stuffed French Toast” to a “Shepherd’s Pie with Colcannon Topping.” It offers vibrantly spiced Moroccan dishes that will awaken the wintry palate.

In the Spring section recipes revolve around artichokes, greens, asparagus, and peas, in dishes such as “Mediterranean Asparagus Ricotta Frittata” and “Warm-Hearted Pea Cakes.”

In the Summer section, succulent fruit abounds, even in the meal recipes. Enticing teasers garnish recipes for everything from the sumptuous “Seared Tuna with Purple Potatoes and Cherry Tomato Sauce” to lush desserts, such as the “Peach-Indigo Blueberry Crisp.” Together with the recipes, the photographs and writing are food for thought, the eyes, and the heart, enhancing every morsel.

As Myra Kornfield and Stephen Massimilla write in one of the essays in their book, “Here the cycles of the day, the year, and our lives are celebrated alongside works about food: food that entices, food that inspires, food that nourishes and sustains us.” Both a culinary and a creative achievement, “Cooking with The Muse” is a perennially seasonal feast for the senses, a delectable journey that nourishes the body, mind, and spirit.


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