Well, the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) did it again. Recently, this venerable culinary school has been publishing some excellent cookbooks. Granted, these cookbooks are written for the professional market (the CIA trains its students to become future professional chefs), but they are certainly excellent resources for the serious cook. One of the most recently published books is Garde Manger, The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen.
Before going any further though, lets first discuss the title, Garde Manger, The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen. Outside of professional kitchens, not many people have heard of this word. Garde manger is a term that goes back to medieval France. The term literally translates to the place to store the food. Originally, the perishables were stored in the coldest place in the castle. Over time, this cold room was also used for the preparation of temperature sensitive savory items. Eventually, this cold storage room became the cold kitchen in todays professional kitchens.
Garde manger is an exciting part of the professional kitchen. Many different preparations fall under the responsibilities of the garde manger kitchen. Garde manger encompasses a wide range of topics such as: simple and compound salads, canapés, cold hors doeuvres, pates, sausages, galantines, mousses, terrines, butter sculpture, and on and on! The serious garde manger chef must master a wide range of skills.
Garde Manger, The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen does a masterful job of exploring all aspects of the garde manger. The book begins with a concise historical presentation of the garde manger kitchen. Following this bit of culinary history, there are chapters that range from salads and sandwiches to smoking, sausage making, and pates. The recipes are up to date (long overdue in the field of garde manger) and are complemented by beautiful photographs. The chapter on cheese is not only informative, but contains recipes for making basic cheeses and cultured milk products. The ideas in the appetizer chapter are all intriguing.
I am always a firm believer that serious cooks should purchase the cookbooks that the professionals really use. This book is nothing short of a treasure of recipes and techniques that will be a continual resource to any home or professional chef for years.