Charcuteria

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ericrice
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Charcuteria

Post by ericrice » Thu Mar 20, 2014 14:50

New book out focused on Spanish Charcuterie(a). I was lucky enough to get a preview of parts of it, including recipes a bit over a year ago and made a few Chorizos - wonderful.

The book itself I would highly recommend to anyone into curing. I received my copy on Saturday and have gotten through some of it. From what I've read so far I have nothing but praise for the book. Much more than recipes and a how to on curing - it goes into lots of detail around the traditions and customs. For anyone considering whether they need another book on the subject I would say this one from an overall perspective is a book that anyone into curing will appreciate on many levels.
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Post by IdaKraut » Thu Mar 20, 2014 16:37

Is this the right book: "Charcutería: The Soul of Spain" by Jeffrey Weiss?
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Post by ericrice » Thu Mar 20, 2014 16:44

That's the one.
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Post by redzed » Fri Mar 21, 2014 17:28

Thanks for the note on the book Eric, but can you discuss a bit more as to the content? I'd like to know if there is useful, sound and practical technical information in there, and other than recipes does the book add to what is already available in recent publications on dry cured sausages?
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Post by ericrice » Mon Mar 24, 2014 13:26

Having gone through some more of the book (but still nowhere near all of it):
I'd like to know if there is useful, sound and practical technical information in there
Yes, he does go into details about how to cure meats, appropriate weights/measurements, the process, how to build a chamber, etc. However if asked would I recommend this as a starter book from a technical resource standpoint, no - I think Marinsky has the best there.
and other than recipes does the book add to what is already available in recent publications on dry cured sausages?
Honestly I think existing publications have had most if not all of this covered for quite some time. Although I haven't gotten into this section in detail he does go into detail on preserving fish and vegetables, I believe via pickling.

I think many of us have several resource books we have acquired over the years - from my standpoint I could narrow that down to 1 or 2 books at most that house pretty much everything anyone would want/need to know about curing as a process.

From my perspective this book sets itself apart in several ways:
Focus on Spanish Charcuteria and recipes
Very detailed on the history, the people, customs, butchery, etc
Visually stunning - I don't just mean it looks pretty but lots of color photos throughout - charcuterie, the practice of butchery, the people, country, etc.).

I guess to sum it up - if someone already has the understanding/knowledge on how to cure I don't know that technically there is much to be gained. However for anyone who enjoys any additional material on the subject (recipes, history, etc) - I think this book is the first I have seen that is a story about the craft and the people in addition to a sound resource.

I'm not a book critic, nor much of a reader outside anything to do with food so hopefully this gives some additional detail that will be useful.
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Post by el Ducko » Mon Mar 24, 2014 15:42

Thanks, Eric, for a good book review. I looked through what Amazon had to say, and wanted a copy, but didn't see it as a "must read," even though I'm really into Spanish foods in general and chorizo in particular. I put it on my "wish list."

Thanks to your review, I think I did the right thing. I'll probably buy it later in the year, but at the price they want, I won't rush to buy it. (Maybe some "mad money" will come my way. There's always hope.) This book comes out at a vulnerable time- - we went to Spain again this past year, and I remember looking longingly at the Jamon Iberica in the Barcelona shop windows, wishing that we could get some but not wanting to pay the same price as gold bullion and then risk having it confiscated at the airport. Maybe the book can help me attempt to cure some ham that special way, even though I know that I'll never be able to get the same acorn-fed pork to start with.

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Post by EnriqueB » Wed Mar 26, 2014 14:21

I have this book since yesterday, but have been looking forward for it for a few months.

I have only skimmed through the book and read a couple of chapters, but my first impression is that this is not a book to learn curing and technical details. For that, Marianski & Marianski cannot be beaten, and this does not even come close (it is not its purpose).

This is a book about Spanish charcuterie traditions, and in that sense it fills a huge gap. You cannot find anything like this neither in Spanish nor any other language. I have been for the past months searching for all available literature in Spanish charcuterie, exploring second-hand libraries and out-of-print books from different sources, only to be highly disappointed.

Spanish charcuterie tradition is very badly documentated. Every town, "matanzero" (slaughter-man) and house have different recipes for chorizos, butifarras and longanizas and they don't actively share them. Most of them are being lost because less and less people is doing them, but nobody took the effort to really compile the recipes and traditions.

Furthermore, you will not find any Spanish book oriented to home production that even discusses "modern" techniques such as using nitrites, starter cultures, or controlling temperature, humidity and pH. Everything is just the traditional knowledge of "hang it in a fresh & ventilated place for 2 or 3 months". There are some books in Spanish, but they are either translations without specifics of Spanish charcuterie, or material intended for the industry or professionals.

So, having a book that looks at the tradition and culture of charcuterie here with high respect, compiles recipes (just a few out of the thousands of variations, but hey), and provides a modern and safe technique layer on top of them is really excellent news. I can only praise the author for tackling such a project that no spaniard has dared to do.

Will report more info when I finish the book.
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Post by Cabonaia » Thu Mar 27, 2014 18:40

Eric and Enrique - you have done a really nice job characterizing what this book is and is not. I think I'm a goner for it. I wouldn't spend so much on a just-released book, normally, but you have really whetted my appetite for this one. Thanks!

Enrique - Your research reminded me of the first time I tried to make sausage, which was when I shot a wild pig in my yard and thought I should make linguica out of it. I had this cookbook from Portugal that must have assumed I had already learned all that was needed to know from my grandmother. Needless to say, my linguica was a disaster - I could hardly finish it! :mrgreen: With knowledge gotten from more technical books (and the huge help form this forum), I can use bare bones recipes I might get my hands on. I do wish there was a book like Charcuteria for traditional Portuguese products.

Cheers,
Jeff
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