Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-11-21
- Reviewer: Staff
Many cookbook authors claim to provide start-to-finish instructions, but rare is the collection that prefaces each recipe with the story of the hunt that brought down its main ingredient. Here, before there is poached dove and pears in brandy sauce, there is a field of men in camouflage. Before there is sweet porchetta sausage, there is a bone-handled knife in a boar’s midsection. Pellegrini, despite what the cover photo implies, is not your everyday Western gal with a frying pan in one hand and a rifle in the other. Her Hudson Valley childhood, Wellesley education, brief career on Wall Street, and her cooking skills (honed at New York’s French Culinary Institute), all inform her writing to create prose that falls somewhere between the culinary outdoorsiness of Jim Harrison and the urban insight of Candace Bushnell. Traveling through Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, hunting turkey, duck, and hog, she explores the thrill of the chase (“I listen to the cartridge slip into the chamber, and walk sideways into the tall, cream grass”) and reflects on its denouement (“the casual way in which nature treats life and death”). And she is equally keen in observing the series of male companions who serve as hosts and guides for her outings. These range from a friendly lawyer who escorts her through a Louisiana Bayou to a scary poacher with an uncomfortable perspective on steak in Wyoming’s cattle country. (Jan.)