Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Favorite Cookbooks, Pt. 4.5

I kinda plugged Foie Gras, A Passion the other day.  So more accurately this is My Favorite Cookbooks, Pt. 4.5.  To anyone who knows me well, they'd know I'm doing more sausage work than I've done recently, especially with dried salumis and their ilk.  With way more of an Italian focus than before.  So I started picking up a few of my older cookbooks, began blowing off the dust, and rereading them for technique & details I may've forgotten.  It's been fun.  So today I'm reviewing, Great Sausages and Meat Curing, by Rytek Kutas.

This book reads more like a person's trade notebook than a cookbook.  In fact, the author self published it originally in 1976.  As you read the book you'll realize that Rytek liked to do everything himself.  Seems like he could've given MacGuyver a run for his money after seeing how he shows different ways to jury rig home & professional smokers.  Almost every detail needed to set up an independent sausage shop is within it's pages.

Criticisms I've heard and respected make the case that Rytek didn't know much or at least detail specific ethnic sausages well.  His soppresata wouldn't match the ones from Italy for instance.  He also was a huge fan of dried spices and was phasing out any nondried, nonmeat ingredients out of sheer fear of contamination, when if treated professionally should not be an issue.  I can both agree and disagree depending upon who you're selling to and in what quantities.

One of the best things about his book is that he scales out his recipes for both 10 & 25 pound batches in the same page, making it easy for conversion.  He also gives the best ways to safely and hygenically make sausage both for production and the home.  If you want rediscover some of these techniques, and delve into Instacures and casings, I highly recommend this book.  It's a great way to get a foot in the door.

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