Salt & Pepper Cooking
by James Haller
Great Life Press
reviewed by Carol Davala, US Review
“Cooking with my grandmother is one of the happiest memories of my childhood.”
From his earliest attempt to make a pancake batter complete with egg shells, to the lessons of using “fearless combinations” garnered from an Indonesian chef, James Haller has maintained a lifetime passion for food and cooking. In his latest endeavor, the internationally acclaimed chef and award-winning author takes readers on a stroll down a memorable, culinary lane. This collection of heart-warming vignettes is a nostalgic look back at the family, friends, and life influences that ultimately led Haller to a career in culinary arts and the eventual opening of the renowned Blue Strawbery restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
As food is often a trigger for memories or connections to a particular time, place, or event, Haller quickly draws us into his flavor-ensconced world.
Here he shares the likes of tasting a cannoli for the first time and remembering the crunch of the outer shell and the rich, creamy filling. Through fluid narrative he details the mid-day farm meals of his childhood. Those platters of fried chicken, baked ham, potatoes, and gravy were culinary visions that would later invade Haller’s dreams. Though known for his food innovations and constant experimentation, Haller easily recalls ingredients of his aunt’s light and airy German kuchen, the specifications happily committed to memory. In another “culinary revelation,” the author shares a secret to the best red sauce. The key, a well-browned tomato paste, was a dictum from his Italian, plumber friend. Spiced with wit and humor, Haller’s memoir is a joyful and well-seasoned presentation.
Good food and good memories often go hand in hand. This little book is a sweet treasure that authentically combines both elements. It is a story about family, food, and love. The final result, like the creative dishes Haller has served throughout his life’s calling, deserves to be savored and enjoyed.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books
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This review was written by a professional book reviewer with no guarantee that it would receive a positive rating. Some authors pay a small fee to have a book reviewed, while others do not. All reviews are approximately half summary and half criticism. The US Review of Books is dedicated to providing fair and honest coverage to all books.