The best cookbooks capture the exuberance and passion that is quintessential for great food. Open Yvette Van Boven‘s Home Made (Abrams 20110 and you’ll immediately see that this book has done both – an unlikely photograph of a man jumping out of the way of a bull, holding some tool in his hand, is opposite the forward by Yvette.
What does it mean? Is cooking full of risks and adrenaline?
The man in the photo is full of exuberance and daring.
Is the life of the foodie a bit like an adventure in the ring?
She offers many clue:
I am no stranger to writing cookbooks. I wrote my first one when I was four years old. From then on I continued to indulge my almost morbid passion for collecting recipes and cookbooks, preferably illustrated.
This is a book of wonderful recipes from scratch organized around meals, ingredients, and techniques.
It starts with Le Petit Dejeuner, which of course means jam. There is a general, hand written recipe for jam with eight steps (eight photos) following George. Then there are more specific recipes for different fruits starting with Gooseberry Jam with Orange, then Basic Raspberry Jam, Blackberry, Raspberry and Basil Jam and so forth.
Next, breakfast includes bread. There is a basic bread recipe, Bread Without Working the Dough, again handwritten with 14 steps with clear photographs. This is followed by several pages of variations including Turkish Pogaca and Saffron Bread with Pistachio Nuts. There are also recipes other breakfast treats like Irish Brown Soda Bread and lovely Biscuits, Eggs Benedict, smoothies, and Frittatas. Yvette’s voice in the recipe notes is firm and knowing: “This dish is for the fairly experienced cook,” she writes about Eggs Benedict. ” You will need some skill, but since it tastes so good, you will make it more often and you will automatically become an expert.”
There are photographs by Yvette’s husband Oof Veruschuren throughout the book of Yvette cooking with her friends, children playing boules, and a pretty dolma stuffed with wild rice. Home Made covers all meals – from picnics to dinner – from making chocolates to making cheese. It is inspired by French cookery, and yet there are gems from other lands: Papardelle with Spicy Lamb Ragu and Capers or Seasoned Labneh Balls in Olive Oil. If you need one guide, Yvette is a great choice.