Book Review: Leven en Koken als Piet in Frankrijk by Piet Huysentruyt
Some months ago I was sent out for a quest. We needed a present for a birthday party. This task is guaranteed to cause problems for me. First of all I need to find a present fitting the interest of the person (And they should not have it yet…) but most of all: “I need to resist the urge to buy things for my own…” When I was walking through the book section I failed at the second part …
Mostly I can convince myself to just walk on… If I don’t, I’ll lose a lot of time at least. Otherwise I’ll lose some money too. That’s what happened when I saw the cookbook “Leven en Koken als Piet in Frankrijk” by Piet Huysentruyt. At first I had a quick look, thought it’s an old and rather superficial book and looked at some other books. Some time later the book got my attention again. I decided to leave my prejudices for what they were and opened the book.
Piet Huysentruyt: “Leven en koken als Piet in Frankrijk”
The recipes looked far from superficial and I remembered a superb portrait I saw on television a while ago. In “Kroost” (flemish television) Piet Huysentruyt spoke with passion about his love for cooking, the importance and death of his father, … He got overwhelmed by heartfelt emotions when he received his first Michelin Star for his restaurant “Likoke” in France. He explained how he considers the star as the reward and recognition he never received before.
Piet Huysentruyt is famous in Belgium for his TV-series “S.O.S. Piet” where he “rescues” people from “Kitchen Disasters” and top-selling cookbooks based on this program. The recipes where rather common and his skills as “topchef” where rather ignored. Lately he got a new program “Chez Piet” where he could expose his skills by pimping up recipes. In that Program he regularly used a kamado to cook some of his recipes. Enough reasons to consider a buy… I flipped on in the book and got convinced by the concept and recipes.
The book is devided in four chapters. Each chapter focuses on a different season and provides several recipes specific to the Ardèche region. These recipes are preceded by personal experiences by Piet and his view on living as an Ardechois. Though it’s not necessary for a cookbook it adds some content to provide the atmosphere in which the recipes where created. The photography within the book leaves me with mixed feelings. Though the book is not that old (2004) the pictures look like they were made back in the old days. On the other hand the recipes come to their right in this rather classic set-up fitting the region.
I’ve had little time to try some recipes, but recently I managed to prepare a first one. You’ll read about it soon since it was Kamado convertable. I made the typical Ardechois meatballs with leafy vegetables called “Caillette“. I can tell you they were verry good, but more will come later on when I write down how I prepared them. I made some slight changes to recipe provided by Piet Huysentruyt and will explain why. Moreover I prepared an excellent sidedish to share too! So stay tuned.
Conclusion: I’m glad I bought this book! It’s certainly not a waste of money. I got many inspiration out of the book and the recipe I did make was verry good. After reading some sections in the “story” part I got interested in reading on. So on a quiet day I’ll dive further into his experiences. As far as I can find this book only exists in dutch. Though I don’t think it would get translated soon I’m convinced it would be a worthful book to represent the local Ardechois cuisine, translated into a slightly modern version but with respect for it’s offspring.
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