Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Review: MASTERING PASTA by MARC VETRI

 
 
When I saw this book, Mastering Pasta by Marc Vetri with David Joachim, based on nothing but the cover, I thought this book was a comprehensive look at how to make pasta.  I thought it would be step-by-step and include many pictures on how to properly form the variety of pasta shapes and styles.  Let me tell you my friends, I was gravely mistaken.
 
 Perhaps these recipes highlight the types of dishes Vetri makes at his very successful restaurants.  I think this book was meant for people who eat at his restaurant and have no intention to cook anything from the book.  Or maybe it's for someone who likes to own cookbooks written by famous people, but does more eating out than they do actually cooking.  The reality is, this book is a book of pasta recipes with a minimal amount of pasta making information.  Not only is it mostly a pasta recipe book, but it is not a pasta making book for the average home owner. 

The bulk of the recipes in here include ingredients I am pretty sure that no one reading this has at home.  As someone with enough fresh ingredients and supplies to make food from every continent any night of the week, looking through this book, I counted a total of five recipes that I could whip up without making a run for special ingredients...and that's only if I use all-purpose flour instead of tipo 00, durum or bread flour.  Hence the reason my cookbook review doesn't have one single picture of a tested recipe.  Well, that and with nine egg yolks per batch of pasta, it would be cheaper to buy fresh pasta than to make it using his recipe.
 
 Vetri also uses veal and foie gras in the included recipes.  Both are foods for people who either don't have a conscious, or who like to stick their heads in the ground and say, "My meat comes from a package at the store."  Those people are idiots.  Just saying.
 
Honestly, I had a bad feeling about this book when I saw the first recipe was for "Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragu and Peaches." Rabbit?  Really?  The "Orecchiete with Pig's Head Ragu and Black Walnuts" made me laugh.  When I was 10, I was in Sri Lanka.  I went to the market with my mom, where I saw a goat's head.  I asked her about it, because, really, who wants to eat that?  My mom explained poor people can't afford better cuts, so they buy the parts of the animal that are leftover that no one else wants.  Yet, here in America, through good marketing, they are now selling us these crappy parts as high end specialty products thanks to good marketing. 

This book is that goat's head...or in this case, pig's head.  It is being marketed in a way that makes it seem like one thing, but really it's something else.  I'm sure it will do well.  I've read plenty of other rave reviews by people that I don't think actually read anything in it.  Well, I did.  As someone who makes homemade pasta and raviolis, dumpling wrappers, corn tortillas and even pierogies, I thought this was going to be a great way to expand on my current pasta making knowledge, but it was not.
 
WOULD I BUY IT?  No.  If you want a pretty book written by a famous chef, buy it.  If you want a cookbook to help you master the art of pasta, this is not for you.  It definitely wasn't the book for me.
 
 I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  There was no obligation to give a positive review, and if you read my blog, you know I'm a tell-it-like it is kind of girl.  I mean what I say and say what I mean, that holds true for my review.

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