This is not a cookbook. It’s a cook’s book!
• Would edible silver paper, lily bulbs, or chrysanthemum leaves give your palate a boost?
It’s all right under your nose if you know where to look! With the first edition of A Cook’s Guide to Chicago, chef Marilyn Pocius took food lovers and serious home cooks on a tasty romp into Chicago’s secret culinary corners and forever changed the way they shop, cook, and eat.
Get in on the knowing, as she continues her explorations of local foodways. Discover how specialty food and equipment shops like gourmet stores, health food emporiums, butchers, fishmongers, produce stands, spice shops, ethnic grocers, and restaurant supplies dealers can make your life delicious. Investigate the farmers markets, knife sharpeners, foodie clubs, and cooking classes that are right for you. And, with Marilyn’s “Top 10” lists, extra recipes, and tips that familiarize you with the uncommon items found in ethnic supermarkets, you’ll be making these ingredients your own and incorporating them into your menus in no time.
Finally, A Cook’s Guide’s index makes it easy to find what you need: egusi seeds, emapanda dough, frozen tropical fruit pulp, kishke, live crabs, mugwort flour, rose petal spread, smoked mozzarella, zizyphus, and over 2,000 other items you didn’t know you couldn’t live without!
From the Melting Pot to Your Stockpot,
Did you know?
• In parts of the Middle East, people believe that coffee can sap your masculinity unless cardamom is added. (p. 12)
• The idea of curry is British, not Indian. The root word means a sauce to serve with rice. All-purpose curry powder is a fine English invention made to bring Indian flavors to non-Indian cooks. (p. 184)
• You can make pesto with many leafy herbs besides basil. You can also dry herbs in your microwave. (p. 17)
• Hagen’s Fish Market on Montrose Avenue will smoke your own catch for you. (p. 32)
• Black salt is actually pink in color. (p. 13)
• Wonton skins can be used to make ravioli; baked in mini muffin tins, then filled for hors d’oeuvres; or cut into strips and deep-fried for garnishing soup or salad. (p. 213)
• A sushi mat makes a great device for rolling up all kinds of things, such as spinach. (p. 246)
• Mediterranean Plus in Lombard has an aisle devoted to hookahs and exotic flavored tobacco to fill them. (p. 165)
• Salted black beans, also called fermented or preserved black beans, are the original form of soy flavoring. (p. 207)
• Sometimes noodles are labeled “alimentary paste.” It is a holdover from an old U.S. law forbidding any product without egg to be called a noodle. Go figure. (p. 233)
• Banana sauce is bright red and has the consistency of ketchup. It even tastes like ketchup without the vinegar, but it’s made from bananas! (p. 254)
• The House of Glunz, the city’s oldest wine seller, has been operating from the same address since 1888. (p. 269)• Seyjid, which looks like a pale date, is said to be good for cleansing the digestive tract, and is a traditional food for Persian New Year’s feasts. (p. 167)