Friday, February 2, 2024

Undercooked Round Up (with some delicious fully cooked recipes!)

Welcome to the Undercooked round up.  

We all read Dan Adhoot's memoir and how he let searching for the perfect culinary experience control his life (which may have been a dumb way to live).  Adhoot is a comedian and some found his essays hilarious and some found his tales bittersweet and a few didn't find him really funny at all.  Regardless, we outdid ourselves when it came to the food.  

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm was first up and went out there for her inspired-from dish.  

This memoir is all about food and how Dan obsesses over food to the point that it affects his relationships.  I also obsess about food, the difference is that for Dan food seemed to be all about control and/or power.  For me, food is all about love and/or comfort.

Adhoot mentions offal a couple of times in the book and even serves fresh elk heart to his hunt-mates in the wilds of New Mexico.  This prompted Wendy to make a beef tongue dish (that does look delicious and festive because she posted in December!)

Culinary Cam was next up.  She enjoyed the book!  

I devoured Undercooked in, pretty much, one sitting. I started it when I went to bed; then I woke up and finished it. And I talked about it all through breakfast. This memoir was hilarious, self-deprecating, and wonderfully written. I loved this book and I laughed out loud more than a few times.

Camilla focused on three memory/meals that Adhoot writes about: gnudi, Gougères, and chickpeas (via falafel).  Check out her recipes for both gnudi and Gougères and her commentary on fresh garbanzo beans.  

Amy was not in love with the book. 

I was slightly underwhelmed but I think it’s largely because I was unfamiliar with the author.  Since he is a foodie (and comedian), a lot of food is mentioned (including an undercooked risotto).  Most of the food is very foodie and very fancy and I really had no interest in attempting a home version.  Ultimately, I decided to go with his Persian (Iranian) heritage and made a lavash.

Cook the Books co-host Claudia describes the book as the following:

A very personal, sometimes light-weight romp about his obsession with eating, frequently at high end restaurants, all over the world, to the detriment of any personal relationships, and how he got that way.  As the sub title of his books states "How I let Food Become My Life Navigator and How Maybe That's a Dumb Way to Live".  Well, duh.  It was at times funny, though often in a sad sort of way.  An enjoyable read for the most part.

She was also taken with his early kitchen experience of making a soufflé but ultimately, she decided to pull from Adhoot's Persian culture and make Khoresh-e Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb, Bean and Lamb Stew).

Co-host Simona from bricriole listened to the audio book and didn't find Undercooked  to be a laughfest.  She enjoyed a few of his essays, especially the one about his grandparents:  "When Adhoot describes the grandparents' relationship, he holds his usual jokes and finds moving words. I felt I was finally listening to the person, not the comedian."  She also appreciated his essay about moving home during the pandemic, a time which food helped that relationship heal.  

For her inspiration, she went back to Adhoot's heritage but pulled from a Jewish-Italian cookbook and made Spinach Pie with Pine Nuts and Raisins (Tortino di Spinaci con Pinoli e Uvetta).  I love her photo of the ingredients.

Delaware Girl Eats was taken by Adhoot's essay about his travels in Italy and 
Parmigiano risotto She "was inspired by this story having been to Northern Italy several times and had the opportunity to taste the real thing in trattorias, not the US adaptations.  Enjoying a true Italian master dish in its home environment was life changing…. I chose to make a variation on the dish using mushrooms and peas as key ingredients but believe me there are tons of great ingredient combinations.  Yum!  A really great mid-winter dish."

I also did a risotto but I was inspired by the "undercooked" dish.  
In the namesake chapter, “Undercooked,” Adhoot and his then fiancé score a reservation at Osteria Francescana. The couple struggled with whether or not they have the audacity to actually send back crunchy risotto at the absolute Numero Uno restaurant in the world. On the exact day that it was announced the best restaurant in the world. What would you have done?  And, if you knew the chef would send out a passive-aggressive “filet of mackerel” as a replacement?  Would that help you make your mind up to keep mute?

Here's my Butternut Risotto with Chives and Tomato Powder.   

I'm not sure who was the last person to post, me or Deb.  There's the whole Oklahoma/Hawaii time difference to calculate.  I'm glad that Deb was able to post her thoughts on the book and repost a delicious sounding soup:  Persian Adassi Lentil Stew.  
While she enjoyed the book, she may have pegged Adhoot's personality:  "I think he's a good storyteller and I enjoyed his humorous essays. He's a very bad boyfriend and I don't think I would want to hang out with him (he seems both judgey and needy and very high pressure to go to a restaurant with)."

That's all folks!  Thanks to all that participated and posted some really delicious food. Please consider joining us for the February/March round of Cook the Books.  Simona (briciole) is hosting the graphic novel Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (April 2013).  Can’t wait.


Simona Carini said...

Thank you so much, Debra, for hosting and for the lovely roundup :)

Delaware Girl Eats said...

Great round-up and thanks for posting! cathy b