Jennifer McLagan has a bone to pick: too often, people opt for boneless chicken breasts, fish fillets, and cutlets, when good cooks know that anything cooked on the bone has more flavor – from chicken or spareribs to a rib roast and whole fish. In this book she offers a collection of recipes for cooking beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, and game on their bones.
Jennifer McLagan has never shied away from topics that challenge our culinary preconceptions, and her latest book, Blood, is no exception. Having encouraged us in the past to embrace things like eating more offal and animal fats, she now wants us open our minds and kitchen doors to blood as a mainstream ingredient. It is, as she tells us, just another animal product, after all.
The book is packed with fascinating information about how blood has been consumed in history (she might have called it “Blood and Lore”). The Nordics drank blood believing that it would give them the fighting strength of the animal whence it came, whereas nomadic peoples, such as Masai herders, lived off a diet of blood and milk exclusively. We also learn how blood behaves in cooking, which is like egg. Blood can be used to clarify stock, for example, and it can be scrambled or even whipped to meringue.
For those of us who already love a good blood pudding (boudin noir), this is a book to expand our blood repertoires. With everything from pork, chicken liver, and blood terrine to blood pasta, marshmallows, and cocktails, Blood is a primer filled with delicious ideas that are bound to make even the skeptics entertain a second thought.