Ad Hoc at Home has hit the shelves. I think. While at Barnes and Noble on Saturday looking for The Flavor Bible I saw something that caught my eye:
I immediately snagged a copy (such a description makes it sound controlled, like I wouldn't have knocked over an old lady to get my hands on the book. Let's be clear...no old lady was getting in my way). I sorta felt like I was breaking the rules; see, I have been in contact with the publishing company about receiving permission to use the artwork and book title in this blog and my AHaH Twitter account - I'm actually still waiting for final approvals - and all information from the publisher was that the book would not be released until November. Even so, when I saw the book I did three things:
1. The aforementioned snatch-and-grab (and pay)
2. Emailed my contact at the publisher
3. Tweeted @ruhlman on Twitter to see if the release was premature or legit.
His response speaks volumes: "@adhocathome I haven't even seen a finished copy! if it was softcover, it was a bootlegged galley. don't think finished books have shipped"
After a few tweets and email exchanges, I assured (convinced?) Ruhlman that I had my hands on a hardcover, legitimate copy of his book that he had not yet seen himself. I can't explain it but I am certainly not complaining.
The book is gorgeous. It is the same size as The French Laundry and Bouchon with a lot of similarities in overall composition (i.e. intermittent essays explaining ingredients or cooking techniques). It has a lot of very user-friendly tips for the home cook. There are "light bulb moments" that provide anecdotal information about the topic being discussed. Each recipe has suggestions about pairings or substitutions if certain ingredients are not available - certainly a useful feature.
The book has the expected Keller-esque attention to quality ingredients and proper cooking technique without any pretense or stodginess. The book is playful and very accessible, no recipe seems too daunting. Certainly some of the techniques may be prolonged or involved, but not out-of-reach for a home cook.
I had to cook something out of the book right away, but more on that later. Needless to say that the results were outrageously good. Part technique, part quality product (local farmer's market) with a phenomenal result.
More on the blog, the plan of attack, the rules of engagement, etc. in days and weeks to come (heck, I thought I had until November to get organized!).