July 24, 2007

By Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books

I’m excited to recommend two books today—one inspired by the sunny summer weather (even in the usually-foggy Richmond!) and one inspired by my inner dork.

The first is a scrumptious book by local “sweetie” Emily Luchetti (currently the pastry chef at Farallon), fittingly titled A Passion for Ice Cream. It includes recipes for making your own ice cream, but also goes further with chapters on ice cream sandwiches, cakes, pies, milkshakes, and more. It’s straightforward, handsome, and complete. I had great success with the gingersnap lemon ice cream sandwiches—ridiculously yummy. (Also, a certain popular ice cream store that opened in the Mission about a year ago was spied buying this very book…)

The inner geek in me has to spread the word about Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Hervé This. The title says it all, but it’s important to know that this book is very digestible (sorry): each chapter is a two- to four-page lesson in the complicated and fascinating interaction between food and science. Examples? “Why the textures of vinaigrettes determine their color; why Champagne ages more quickly in small bottles; how chewing slowly deepens the perception of odorant molecules in cooked food.” You get the picture. A must-have and very readable bathroom book for the curious cook.

If you dare to try both books, be sure to invite some pals over to try your s’mores ice cream cake with cappuccino-chocolate chip ice cream, then wow them with your explanation of why mashed potatoes made with milk stick less than ones made with water. The ice cream cake is sure to prevent your pals from calling you the dork that you are.

Thanks for reading.