Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects
Reviewed by Mick Vann, Fri., May 29, 2009
Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projectsby Karen Solomon
Ten Speed Press, 160 pp., $24.95
Those of us who enjoy making gifts out of our kitchen or preserving the fruits of our gardening labor fully understand Karen Solomon's fascination with making her own edibles: It is a rewarding activity. Unfortunately, many are intimidated by the thought of making their own crackers, ketchup, or flavored vodka, relying on pricey store-bought products. But as Solomon states, one does not need to be a chef in order to create a variety of delicious condiments, snacks, candies, and other edible items. She actually sees herself as a crafter, with food as her medium of choice. Armed with what she calls "the DIY spirit" and a bit of creativity, the author proposes that anyone can tackle at least one of the projects in this book.
For a practiced food crafter such as myself, some of the recipes may be simple: homemade pasta, fried potato chips, infused oils, and fresh vinaigrettes. But these are ideal projects for the novice and a pretty cool way to get kids involved in the kitchen. (What 10-year-old doesn't want to learn to make his or her own marshmallows?) But the book also has attractive projects for the experienced cook. You can bet I want to try my hand at homemade kimchi, bacon, ricotta salata, and Jamaican ginger beer. Homemade salt cod? I'm there. No more scrambling down the aisles at Fiesta at Christmastime. So whether you find yourself with a bumper cucumber crop this summer or want to impress family and friends with your kitchen crafts, this book is a great starting point.