Every now and then a cookbook comes along that steps out of the standard “recipes and photos” format. Fast Ed Halmagyi of TV and radio fame has just released his fourth cookbook that does just that. The Food Clock is a whimsical, and cute take on the current trend of eating seasonally. Using the fictional story of Monseuir Henri Petit-Pois, the cookbook follows his discovery of a food clock which tells him what to eat as the time passes.
Instead of using the standard seasons, the book is divided into Hot, Cold, Cool and Warm O’Clocks, with corresponding quarter hour divisions of each. Each chapter begins with another snippet of Henri’s life, and the food he eats, vaguely introducing the in season produce.
This format is quite perplexing, and it took me a while to fully grasp the produce that was in season, unless I read the narrative before choosing a recipe. The recipes themselves are ordered oddly, with no discernible categories for desserts, main meals or even the produce they use. However, the index is quite thorough and the book’s meandering layout is designed to encourage the reader to flip through the book and become tempted to try something new, rather than head straight to staid favourites.
Notwithstanding the narrative aspect, this book is beautiful. Stunningly rustic photos accompany the recipes, including incredible two page spreads depicting wholesome meals for the whole family. You can’t help but be hungry as you flick through the book.
Where the book truly shines is its recipes. From rustic, hearty bread recipes, to exotic and fragrant desserts, the book covers everything you could want all year round. Each of the recipes are fresh, simple and don’t require you to purchase any strange ingredients that you would have no other use for. There are also exciting twists on classic dishes like Pan Roasted Duck, Mustard-Cruster Pork Loin, Honey Petit Pots de Crème and Hearty Tomato Soup.
With a little more clarification about the concept, this book would have been perfect. Despite this, the book is perfect for the cooking enthusiast who has a little more time on their hands, and is willing to take the time to bathe in the whole culinary and seasonal experience.
Available now: Harper Collins RRP$39.99.