Margin Notes: Twelve Recipes

In this charmingly written, beautifully photographed and illustrated cookbook, the chef of Alice Waters's Chez Panisse offers basic techniques and essential recipes that will transform anyone into a confident home cook

When Cal Peternell, the chef at Berkeley's legendary Chez Panisse, was helping his oldest son pack his things for college and beyond, he naturally set him up with the gear for a new kitchen: a nice skillet, a decent knife, a cutting board, and a colander. He also started writing. Just twelve recipes at first—reminders of foods they'd cooked together and enough to put together some good meals—but what started as a cookbooklet from a father for his sons has become, luckily for the rest of us, Twelve Recipes: a baker's dozen chapters on how to cook and eat well.

Standards—toast, eggs, beans—are renewed with simple elegance and wit. More advanced and adventurous dishes are made accessible. Variations are allowed for and encouraged, rules are well explained and unenforced.Twelve Recipes is a cookbook that will get you into the kitchen and get your friends around the table; an essential and versatile book of recipes, and a book to read with pleasure in and out of the kitchen.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This lovingly written cookbook was a great read. Not a book you dip into and take recipes from, but a wonderful, warm, thoughtful and warm look into Cal Peternell's life. His relationships with his family are so wonderful, their illustrations are so much fun, I just loved his voice. This book is for beginner cooks, but was a joy for me to read and bring me back to basics as a semi-experienced home cook. Highly recommended!

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