Cover Image: First, Catch

First, Catch

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

If you are looking for a cookbook, you may be felt like you were led slightly astray.... If you were looking for a cookbook of sorts and have a mind for wandering adventures that will eventually get you more or less to where you were going, you are likely the perfect reader for this book.

FIRST, CATCH is a meditative approach to cooking - intimidating for the novice cook, and uninteresting for the stodgy scientifically-minded. I love food. I love thinking about food, eating food, making food, talking to people about what makes the food they love so entirely delicious! Eagle really encourages a slower meditation on food, that allows a reader to sink in and contemplate what makes a spring meal, a spring meal.

I think this would be a lovely gift for a home cook who enjoys thinking about food and likes to cook from the hip rather than from strict recipes. Assuming they have an interest in a lot of French + Italian cooking traditions!
Was this review helpful?
Not my favorite read. It was hard to read through, it's a great idea but I think more editing was needed.
Was this review helpful?
This book deserves a slow read- to truly take in all the musings and thoughts laid out. For example, my husband and I debated the point that fish seem to be treated outside the scope of other animals/mammals, even by many vegetarians (who are truly pescatarians). This debate stemmed from just a few paragraphs written by Thom Eagle, but pointed us down the road of philosophy, psychology, and a Saturday morning discussion about life in all its forms. This is what I loved about this book. Perfect for people who love to read about food, not only recipes, and who want to feel a deeper connection to culinary layers within our communities and lives. The author brings food to life, in an extremely beautiful and poetic way.
Was this review helpful?
Well written book for people who love food and the whole process of cooking, curing food and seasoning food. It’s not your average recipe book! Though it contains recipes but like in a storytelling way, which I love!
Was this review helpful?
I found the writing incredibly engaging -- it was like listening to a friend talking to me about his experiences and thoughts on cooking. My cooking philosophy is already quite aligned with Eagle's, but I still felt like I was learning a lot about technique and increasing my knowledge of cooking for a strong foundation for future cooking projects / meals. The is ultimately a balance of story telling, touching on where these techniques where derived, and building a better base knowledge -- if someone is looking for recipes themselves, this is absolutely NOT the book even if there are touches such as what's a great ratio for brine. 

I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone who is just beginning their journey in the kitchen to the more seasoned chef -- I couldn't put it down!
Was this review helpful?
I was intrigued by Thom Eagle’s “First, Catch” from the moment I read the author’s charming “preamble,” where he notes, “Although I don’t think my palate or nose particularly refined, they are certainly hard-wired to my memory; my spots of time are almost all edible.” From this beautifully written start, I expected more of a memoir about how food and cooking shaped Eagle’s life and memories, and there is certainly some of that here. First and foremost, however, “First, Catch” is the memoir of one particular meal, a 9-course spring lunch Eagle is preparing for friends, and of how he planned, cooked and served it. (The is title of the book Is, after all, “The Story of a Meal.”) As this meal simmers and takes shape in Eagle’s Suffolk kitchen, he takes the reader on sidebars into the theory and science of cooking (pondering questions such as can you ”cook” with salt—brining—or does heat always need to be involved?), the history of food and food preparations, and the practicalities of chopping vegetables or sweating onions. Admittedly, this was more of a how-to cookbook than I expected or wanted—I struggle to boil an egg and have no real desire to improve my limited kitchen skills—but I still enjoyed Eagle’s charming voice, even while skimming through the more technical sections. Serious home chefs and food enthusiasts, however, should certainly appreciate and enjoy “First, Catch” in its entirety,

Many thanks to NetGalley and Grove Press for providing me with an ARC of this title in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
First, Catch by Thom Eagle is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early January.

Eagle writes with a ratio of 30% personal stories to 70% instructions & directions on how to prepare food masterfully within the frame of a springtime menu. However, it's dense and near-babbling with detail, as though his hand-written draft would be in a small, boxy scrawl, and it sometimes goes off on a tangent that a reader needs to tilt their head to comprehend and accept as part of the greater conversation.
Was this review helpful?
Erudite, lyrical, and warm. My three favourite traits in a book! This is a wonderful journey through preparing a meal to share with friends. Eagle’s menu takes shape as he explores ingredients and methods of cooking, all the while delightfully meandering through food history, theory, and anecdotes from his life. Thom Eagle has a wonderful and inspiring voice for food writing. 

5 stars for me! I’ll be returning to this one whenever I need a ‘lil cooking inspiration.
Was this review helpful?
When you don't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!!			
			
I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

First, Catch is a cookbook without recipes, an invitation to journey through the digressive mind of a chef at work, and a hymn to a singular nine-dish festive spring lunch. In Eagle’s kitchen, open shelves reveal colourful jars of vegetables pickling over the course of months, and a soffrito of onions, celery, and carrots cook slowly under a watchful gaze in a skillet heavy enough to double as a murder weapon. 

Eagle has both the sharp eye of a food scientist as he tries to identify the seventeen unique steps of boiling water, as well as of that of a roving food historian as he ponders what the spice silphium tasted like to the Romans, who over-ate it to worldwide extinction. He is a tour guide to the world of ingredients, a culinary explorer, and thoughtful commentator on the ways immigration, technology, and fashion has changed the way we eat. He is also a food philosopher, asking the question: at what stage does cooking begin? Is it when we begin to apply heat or acid to ingredients? Is it when we gather and arrange what we will cook—and perhaps start to salivate? Or does it start even earlier, in the wandering late-morning thought, “What should I eat for lunch?”

Irreverent and charming, yet also illuminating and brilliantly researched, "First, Catch" encourages us to slow down and focus on what it means to cook. With this astonishing and beautiful book, Thom Eagle joins the ranks of great food writers like M.F.K. Fisher, Alice Waters, and Samin Nosrat in offering us inspiration to savour, both in and out of the kitchen.

This is not a cookbook, per se. It is a love song for those of us who cook from the heart and enjoy everything about creating food and its component ingredients. I never knew so much thought could go into a meal but then again, there are NINE dishes in this meal which in my mind is even a lot for a wedding. It was a delight to read, though - excellently written and it made me very hungry. (But seventeen stages to boiling water? Seriously? Is that why they say someone who cannot cook would burn water?)

I am not buying this for our library as its price (almost $50CAD) is too much for a kitchen and library devoted to food sustainability. I, however, loved it and will recommend it to every food-loving-fanatic (I HATE the word foodie) I know. 
		
As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🐇🐇🐇🐇 to emulate the cover.
Was this review helpful?
A magical cook book Thom Eagle shares with us his love of cooking how his senses come alive in the kitchen,He shares with us steps to cook a rabbit to more everyday cooking of eggs.He does not believe in recipes even though he reads all about food he can he believes in letting your hands mind lead the way. #netgalley#groveatlantic
Was this review helpful?