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A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

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Overview

Forget about getting back to the land, David Tanis just wants you to get back to the kitchen

For six months a year, David Tanis is the head chef at Chez Panisse, the Berkeley, California, restaurant where he has worked alongside Alice Waters since the 1980s in creating a revolution in sustainable American cuisine. The other six months, Tanis lives in Paris in a seventeenth-century apartment, where he hosts intimate dinners for friends and paying guests, and prepares the food in ...

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A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

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Overview

Forget about getting back to the land, David Tanis just wants you to get back to the kitchen

For six months a year, David Tanis is the head chef at Chez Panisse, the Berkeley, California, restaurant where he has worked alongside Alice Waters since the 1980s in creating a revolution in sustainable American cuisine. The other six months, Tanis lives in Paris in a seventeenth-century apartment, where he hosts intimate dinners for friends and paying guests, and prepares the food in a small kitchen equipped with nothing more than an old stove, a little counter space, and a handful of wellused pots and pans.

This is the book for anyone who wants to gather and feed friends around a table and nurture their conversation. It’s not about showing off with complicated techniques and obscure ingredients. Worlds away from the showy Food Network personalities, Tanis believes that the most satisfying meals—for both the cook and the guest—are invariably the simplest.

Home cooks can easily re-create any of his 24 seasonal, market-driven menus, from spring’s Supper of the Lamb (Warm Asparagus Vinaigrette; Shoulder of Spring Lamb with Flageolet Beans and Olive Relish; Rum Baba with Cardamom) to winter’s North African Comfort Food (Carrot and Coriander Salad; Chicken Tagine with Pumpkin and Chickpeas). Best of all, Tanis is an engaging guide with a genuine gift for words, whose soulful approach to food will make any kitchen, big or small, a warm and compelling place to spend time.

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Editorial Reviews

Christopher Kimball
For years, I was convinced that Chez Panisse was an A-list restaurant merely coasting on its reputation as a groundbreaking, locally sourced innovator. All that changed last year when I stopped by for lunch, which was at once exquisitely crafted and charmingly simple, offering a creative spark that never veered into culinary silliness. Simply put, it was the best lunch of my life: honest, clean, and delicious.

As head chef at Chez Panisse, Mr. Tanis has my attention, and his 2008 work, A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes, is a must for any holiday gift list. Christopher Hirsheimer, perhaps the best food photographer in the business, has contributed top-notch, luminous compositions, and the quiet, thoughtful layouts partner nicely with the straightforward recipes, among them Goat Cheese with Honey, Sliced Tomatoes with Sea Salt, and Orange Salad with Dates. The problem, as any astute reader will immediately gather, is that Mr. Tanis is using world-class ingredients and the rest of us are shopping at Safeway. Well, we can dream, can't we? And the imaginary world of Chez Panisse is as close to the Garden of Eden as I will ever get.
Founder and Editor, America's Test Kitchen

Publishers Weekly

Both a meditation on the powerful rites of cooking and serving a meal and a gentle but serious education in doing both, this book by the part-time head chef at Berkeley's renowned Chez Panisse is an impressive ode to the simple beauty of food. With 24 menus distributed over the course of a year, Tanis emphasizes seasonality with ingredients (blueberry-blackberry crumble in summer; celery root mashed potatoes in winter) and with the types of dishes provided for each menu (as with a divine, warming lobster risotto as part of a menu for a cold spring day). Anecdotes from his peripatetic life of enjoying good food around the world, from Venice to Morocco to New Mexico, add another intimate dimension and help the book appear written just for the reader by a kind, patient friend. Many of the recipes are almost as simple as the title implies: a summer menu features sliced tomatoes with sea salt, while a course for a fall lunch consists of nothing more than pears and Parmigiano cheese. Others, like a black paella with squid and shrimp, are more involved, but the detailed instructions make them accessible to any cook willing to put in the effort, and the results are delicious, never fussy. Taking a stand against the typical cookbook organization from appetizers through desserts, Tanis teaches how to think clearly about conceiving, preparing and enjoying simple but delicious meals. Full-color photos throughout. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579653460
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 294
  • Sales rank: 197,078
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Tanis is the author of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes,Heart of the Artichoke and Other KitchenJourneys, and One Good Dish. His weekly column, City Kitchen, appears in The New York Times.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 9, 2010

    Unique inspirational cookbook with minimal ingredients

    I use this cookbook as a reference for style, presentation and recipes. David Tanis presents his recipes with poetic minimalism. He focuses on fresh foods and also introduces international flare. Recipes are as basic as tomatoes and sea salt, or as instructive as best practices when cooking local game (rabbit, etc). This is also an ideal cookbook for those with food allergies, because Tanis uses fresh, minimal ingredients, limiting the amount of alteration of the recipes.

    Tanis' instruction and advice make the cookbook an all around joy. To introduce each chapter, Tanis adds in a bit of prose about places he has visited and international techniques/spices that he incorporates. If you are looking for a cookbook with a little bit of education, a little bit of diversity and beautiful presentation, this one will definitely please. I have also given this as a gift with great results.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    Genuine

    The food is the star here, not the author. There are few cook book authors as genuine as Tanis.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008

    Respect food

    I'm a big fan of Tanis and wasn't disappointed with this one. It's the respect that he has for food and eating that's so enticing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 21, 2009

    Exceeded my expectations

    I generally do not write reviews, but this book was inspirational to me. I was so happy to discover this was not another cookbook with recipes from Chez Panisse. What I found inspirational was that David Tanis writes about how to think about cooking. His book re-frames the way we should think about food. It provides guidance for finding only the freshest ingredients and using them to prepare simple, tasty menus. This book is a "must have" for cooks that want to take their cooking experience to a higher level.

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    Posted November 29, 2009

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    Posted May 30, 2009

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