The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes From the Kitchen of Txikito
It is a relief for a cookbook reviewer to find a cookbook written by chefs who successfully translated professional recipes into home kitchens. Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero did an admirable job in The Basque Book providing a large collection of excellent Basque recipes. They are not for the beginner cook – probably even intimidating for a modest cook – though many recipes are reasonably simple. Professional photo illustrations are beautiful including mostly food photos, but also sceneries. We find extensive text in the introduction (mostly about Raij’s early life and Basque cooking) and preceding each chapter—these are well written, interesting, and worth reading. So are the recipe head notes. Since many of us know little of the location of Basque country, a location map would’ve been helpful. Also the book designer could’ve used recipe layout more carefully so cooks don’t need to page back and forth. But most recipes are on single pages. Recipe instructions are excellent and recipes range from relatively easy to challenging. A source of Basque ingredients is useful, but the authors usually give substitutes even though most ingredients are not hard to find (though where will you find jamón ibérico fat, e.g.?).
Alex Raij, Eder Montero, Rebecca Flint Marx
Ten Speed Press