Alimentari : Salads + Other Classics from a Little Deli that Grew
Is this a picture book or a cookbook? Alimentari by Linda and Paul Jones is filled with photos—close to half of the pages are photographs: mostly of foods and scenes of the authors’ deli called Alimentari but also of people, dogs, babies, and so on. But where is this deli, besides being on Brunswick Street? Neither in the foreword nor in the long introduction does the name of the city or country appear. The recipe units first listed are metric, inconvenient for American cooks as they end up measuring in fractions. Professionals downsizing recipes into home kitchens are occasionally successful—not these authors. Only the simplest recipes are within easy reach of a home cook. Many items are given in a commercial kitchen like aioli, pesto, tomato chutney, dukkah, and Lebanese pie dough. And where do home cooks find items like haloumi, nigella seeds, burrata, or shanklish, among other impossible ingredients? Or how many home cooks would attempt a wood-fired suckling pig? The recipes are good, many with a long list of ingredients, and are most well beyond the average home cook’s ability or patience. The cooking times acceptable for restaurant range are far too short for home kitchens. The index is good. But you don’t need this cookbook.
Linda Malcolm, Paul Jones