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Grant Achatz Alinea--opinions?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Just went to amazon and put Ripert's "On the Line" on my wish list. I'm the only one who sees the damned thing!!
Anyway am wondering what anyone thinks of Achatz's book--reviews are good except recipes call for commerical equipment, think I can fake that been back and forth between many types and sizes of kitchens.
Other is small font on a gray background. This could be ok, lots of gripes about the small font in Where Flavor Was Born and I get lost in that one.

Happy New Year All and thanks for you opinions!
Nan
post #2 of 8
I purchased it. Yes, you do need the right light to enjoy the small font, but until you mentioned it, I didn't even think of it as an annoyance. I was a skeptic and bought the book because with Chicago not being an easy option for me, I needed something to give me an understanding, if not an appreciation for Grant Achatz' work. Honestly, I have no intention in reproducing these recipes, nor do I think most of his followers who buy this book. It a bit like buying a magic-101 book after seeing a David Copperfield show, just a little something to satisfy curiosity. I recomend the book; it has some interesting opinions and some beautiful concepts. It's food that forces your intuition, and to be fully appreciated, needs some explaining, which the book hopefully does to some degree.
post #3 of 8
There's a good blog called Alinea at Home where the writer--who formerly cooked her way through The French Laundry cookbook--is tackling Alinea's cookbook with Achatz's blessings.

I haven't seen the book yet nor attempted anything in it, but the blog gives a good insight into what goes into reproducing dishes from the book at home.
post #4 of 8
It's a beautiful book. I pre-ordered mine over a year ago so I have one of the signed copies with the special slipcover but it's an awesome book with or without that.
Regarding equipment, I would say 90% of the stuff in the book can be done at home in an average kitchen by the creative and determined cook and the other 10% can be done well enough to get the point without buying a bunch of special equipment. The official website to accompany the book (alinea mosaic) is a continuing source of information with a lot of creative, intelligent people sharing solutions to difficulties and problems while working from the book... including frequent postings from members of the Alinea team.
Chef Achatz' food in the book is doable. I've done a few of the complete dishes and adapted many techniques from the recipes to my own uses. The biggest hindrance in some cases may be sourcing the ingredients, not equipment. Dehydrators, high speed blenders, cream and soda siphons and some form of sous vide equipment are about as exotic as it gets. There is the antigriddle but getting around that is as simple as laying an offset spatula on a block of dry ice and going to it. Chef Achatz' magic seems to be more in his use of flavors, textures and aromas, his cooking methods, his creative platings and his drive to make his food be exactly what he wants it to be than the use of high tech equipment (not that I'm opposed to high tech equipment used well, Heston Blumenthal is awesome). I highly recommend the book, especially for what it sells for. Talk about a ridiculous bargain, I've paid many times that amount for books that aren't nearly as nice or as informative as this one.
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.
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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Gosh Guys thanks for all the info!! really appreciate it, I think I need that book.
Sksoze, great blog, am busy for a week or so but have it bookmarked.

Wishing you all a Blessed, Happy, Healthy New Year,
Nan
post #6 of 8
I lump alinea, on the line, and el bulli books into 1 category, they go on my coffee table and are the COOLEST coffee table books around.....but not on my cookbook shelf.

On the line being the most useful as a cookbook.
post #7 of 8

Alinea

My Grandmother recently asked all of us what we wanted for Christmas. She said it had to be something we would keep and treasure all our years to remember her by. She knows and we all know she is not long for this world. So here I am poised with this question, what am I going to do take the easy route and say "nothing, grandma; all your years and wisdom have taught me so much, that is what I will cherish always." Well Grandma being the hard case she is (just don't tell her I called her that), said no I want to give you something and you think on it and get back to me. Well, I thought on it for awhile and I finally got back to her with the only thing I could think of that I would probably keep the rest of my life; a book (and considering that I keep my books forever, even to the point I still have Highlites mag. from when I was a kid). So the book I choose was Alinea.
Boy oh boy did I choose a heck of a book!! I love this book!! There are the most interesting flavor combinations in it such as blackberry with tobacco cream and bee balm; which I have to admit I am not sure I would want to taste it, but I would. In the book they also discuss the use of an anti griddle; which as I understand it freezes the way a griddle would cook. I totally think this book is awesome and would advise it as a great read if not an interesting reference tool.
I would just like to say in conclusion; thank you Grandma for the book and for being so supportive all these years; through all my trails and errors in finding myself. Grandma I love you and will always cherish you no matter where you are.
So many Flavors; So little time. Taste your way through life.
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So many Flavors; So little time. Taste your way through life.
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post #8 of 8
thanks for posting this in the right forum
So many Flavors; So little time. Taste your way through life.
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So many Flavors; So little time. Taste your way through life.
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