Cover Image: The Modern Larder

The Modern Larder

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Member Reviews

The perfect gift for a foodie or a newlywed couple new to cooking. 
I'd call it a reference book since I'm a librarian, but you could call it a cookbook or coffee table book as well. As food tastes change and expand, it will also be a book that captures this time in our lives. What would someone think reading it 50 or 100 years from now? Buy it now and leave it for your grandchildren!
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This chunky doorstop of a cookbook is just fantastic. It’s just how I love to cook… take a few simple, fresh ingredients, and add an MVP from the larder that adds a flavor bomb. The first half of the book talks in detail about each of these larder ingredients…some I already use and love, others I’d heard of but not used, and some I’d never even heard of! But then it also has a list of numerous recipes later on in the book that use this cupboard staple. I love that that means not having that unique thing for a recipe, that then lingers at the back and goes to waste. Love this!  Useful, beautiful photography, new combinations… everything I want from a cookbook. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC, and I’ve already purchased a hard copy for my shelves
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A very informative book on some ingredients to hold in the pantry for use to create that tasty dish. I found this book very interesting, as I do not have a lot of these ingredients,. some of which I had no idea were available, such as bee pollen and job's tears. 
The information in the book lays out the ingredient and explains its uses and how it can be used. The book is easy to read and photos are good reference points for the information . I found this book very interesting and intriguing.
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[two caveats:  1) this is a review of uncorrected page proofs; 2) I grew up in a place where avocado toast is considered exotic.]
Michelle McKenzie's second foray into the world of uncommon ingredients (her first was "Dandelion and Quince: Exploring the Wide World of Unusual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs" (Roost Books, 2016), doesn't disappoint.  I probably would have picked this one up just for part one--the compendium of ingredients that includes dulse*, Job's Tears, and walnut oil.  In addition to placing each ingredient in context with physical descriptions and cultural & historical information, she helpfully cross-references it with the accompanying recipes (part 2 of the book) at the bottom of the page.  Of the recipes themselves, the Foundations & Finishes were just so appealing I wanted to run out to the Indian market and buy all the chiles and spices!  
For librarians: this book will appeal to adventurous cooks as well as those patrons who just love reading cookbooks.  Rick Poon's unfussy photographs are a welcome addition (and I'm wondering why they didn't put one on the cover).  
*Bonus:  Who really thinks of "sea vegetables" as a thing?
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New ingredients are being introduced often, and some become very trendy. Many cooks see new ingredients, purchase them, and try to find ways to use them. The Modern Larder: From Anchovies to Yuzu, a Guide to Artful and Attainable Home Cooking by Michelle McKenzie gives us everything we need to understand some of these new ingredients, and then supplies us with recipes to use them in. Many of the recipes are of the “tree hugger” variety, but there are also a few recipes in this cookbook that real people may want to cook.

Unfortunately, many of the recipes are not simple to put together and require plenty of time and a long list of ingredients. There are some interesting recipes that many may want to try, but many are too involved and strange, and won’t be something people will cook. However, the recipes are written in the traditional manner, and are easy to follow. 

Most cooks will need to visit specialty, ethnic, and internet stores to purchase many of the ingredients. Some, however, are available at regular grocery stores, and as they gain in popularity, they become easier to find. 

Frankly, this is a book that is for cooks who want to expand their recipe repertoire and are not afraid of new tastes. It is definitely not for busy cooks who prefer to whip out dishes in a hurry and for those who don’t keep a lot of ingredients on hand. This book is only recommended for those who have a curiosity about new foods and are willing to take the time to make them.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.
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I read this book right after reading Ottolenghi Flavor, and the two go SO well together.  My family all likes big flavors, and both Ottolenghi and McKenzie deliver.  They even share some ingredients, like black garlic (which I love).  The first half of McKenzie’s Modern Larder tells you about the ingredients and cross-references recipes in the second half of the book.  I found the recipes to be pretty straightforward, usually only using one or two of her “gourmet” and harder-to-find ingredients.  I made the tomato salad with preserved lemons and MAN it was a hit with my family.  I can’t wait for it to come out in print!
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The Modern Larder is a fascinating and educational read about ingredients that can take your home cooking to the next level. The book opens with an overview of 58 unique ingredients that can be added to your home larder -  these ingredients range from oils to spices to unique additions like yuzu or black garlic. I found this to be a really insightful read that taught me a lot about ingredients that I generally do not stock. 

The second half of the book is filled with recipes for the ingredients listed above. I loved the concept and idea of these, but realistically would not see myself making any of them. They are a little more fussy and involved than the cooking that I typically do day to day, but this book did serve as a helpful education. 

This book is perfect for the adventurous home cook in your life who is passionate about unique ingredients. This would serve as more of a coffee table book than a cookbook in my home.
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I did not read The Modern Larder through an educator lens. 

The Modern Larder by Michelle McKenzie was not a book that I would recommend to most people. There will definitely be a niche for this The Modern Larder with the sometimes difficult ingredients to get and the recipes that were in the book. The recipes provided looked either very simplistic or included a variety of hard to access ingredients. The photography did not make me want to run out and grab ingredients and cook the recipes right away, in fact, many times I thought that the presentation in the photos needed more to make the dish look appetizing.
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This is a truly beautiful and informative culinary book! While it would work brilliantly as a reference for those unique and curious ingredients we inevitably find in our larders, the practicality of the cookbook portion was a bit too advanced for me. I often find myself overwhelmed and a bit weary of ingredients I have never cooked with, and that is essentially everything in this book, but for those who have a much more adventurous soul that I would find something absolutely scrumptious! The recipe that I want to try from this book is the grilled cabbage and blue cheese because it mixes a vegetable that I have never cooked with alongside one of my favorite cheeses. Happy cooking everyone!
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The Modern Larder is a dictionary of exotic food ingredients and also contains a number of gourmet recipes developed and curated by Michelle McKenzie. Due out 28th Sept 2021 from Roost, it's 376 pages and will be available in hardcover format.

This is a minimalist, accessible, and interesting collection of esoteric and gourmet foods along with a collection of recipes which utilize them. The first section contains the alphabetically arranged primer of food ingredients. The entries are chiefly text without photos and contain a brief description and background for each ingredient followed by an inset footer with a listing of salient recipes (and page numbers). The selection of ingredients is quirky and has a very international flair. There are dried limes and shrimp, ancient grains like Job's tears, makrut (citrus leaf), yuzu and many more. Nearly -all- of these exotic ingredients will require access at the very least to a well stocked international/Asian grocer and/or access to a large metropolitan area's very well stocked grocery stores. Most can also be sourced online for readers in more rural areas.

The second part of the book contains the recipes arranged by category: Snacks starters & small meals, breakfasts, salads & sides, mains, desserts, drinks, and partial recipes/foundations and finishes. Recipes contain a description and many tips for alternative presentations. Ingredients are listed bullet style on the left side of the page. Measures are given in standard units (metric) with US measures in parentheses. Step by step instructions are specific and comprehensive enough that most readers will have no trouble producing a credible dish. The recipes are (in my opinion) quite fancy and very gourmand. There is a wide selection from which to choose for impressing "foody" friends and family. 

The photography is well above average. The dishes pictured are styled very well and professionally and are photographed clearly. Serving suggestions are attractive and appropriate. A majority of the recipes are photographed.

This would be a good selection for public library acquisition, gifting to a (very) foody friend, or for the reference cookbook collectors.

Five stars - for the readers who never miss an issue of Bon Appetit and who still own all their old back issues of Gourmet magazine. Four stars for the rest of us.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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This book is an absolute dream for the adventurous cook! 
I admit I was already a fan of Michelle McKenzie since her last book Dandelion & Quince. Once again, I found myself getting lost in Michelle's romantic description of the 58 ingredients the book centers around; her love and fascination with each ingredient are felt in every word.

As someone who works in the food industry, many ingredients were already familiar to me - but I still learned so much and was inspired to look at each ingredient in a new and refreshing way.
The recipes and ingredients surely will stretch the average home cook, but in a way that isn't too overwhelming - the recipes are not overly complicated. In fact, they're often poetically simple. That's the point that Michelle preaches - if you have remarkable ingredients that pack a punch, you don't need to work a ton to make the food taste good. That's the beauty of a well-stocked larder!

I'm also a fan of the variety of recipes - there are many that elevate a humble vegetable to entree status, like her Whole Roasted Eggplant with Tahini, Crispy Chickpeas, and Sumac. Meat recipes are plenty too, and I'm eager to try her enticing variations on a roast chicken. I felt that the recipes all seem fresh and interesting without trying too hard. 

The book design and photography throughout is beautiful and striking in its simplicity. I thought the 'choose-your own-adventure-style charts were a fabulous inclusion as well, for example showing different ways to create Dips & Spreads that show the reader the underlying method so they can develop the confidence to break out of a recipe.  It's a book that never feels boring.

I love when a cookbook entices me to get lost in the world of the author, and I'm certain this will be a book I return to for inspiration for years to come.
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An exceptionally interesting cookbook that focuses on all sorts of ingredients that can add that extra something special to your dishes. I was glued to the screen going through the first 100 pages or so that feature ingredients you most likely have not heard of and some that you already have in your kitchen. I had never heard of things like umeboshi or black garlic, but maybe they are in the stores – I just never noticed them. Now that I know such things exist, it will be fun to look out for them.

I love the many ideas that I gleaned ..such as using fish sauce in desserts! What! Such a possibility never occurred to me. But it's something worth looking into, for sure. I was also reminded of the ingredients that I have neglected in the fridge or the cupboard – such as my anchovies. Or things that I have made before – such as crème fraiche.

I was not overly impressed with the actual recipes. I guess when you have such rich additions to your food, they need not look that fancy. The photographs are beautiful though!

I feared that it was going to be a vegetarian cookbook at first. I was relieved that there are some meat dishes in the mains section.

All in all, a very interesting book and really worthwhile for the adventurous cook.
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This artful cookbook presents delectable single ingredients from across a wide variety of cuisines and then shows you how you can use them in a wide variety of surprisingly practical ways: with meat, with dessert, in a homemade beverage, in a condiment, etc.  Its a really fun book filled with delicious flavors.  Everything is, basically, easy in technique and healthful in result (not low calorie, but rich in nutrients).  The biggest challenge will be sourcing the ingredients in some cases, which you'd need to do from different stores most likely, or some mail ordering.  I will be buying this book.  The author mentions that she wrote her first book before she had a child, and now she writes recipes in mind for busier people -- which makes me more interested in this new second book than the first!
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Very, very gourmet. I found this book really interesting and learned a lot about ingredients I rarely use. The first half explains these ingredients and how they can elevate a dish, like mashing anchovies to add depth of flavor to spaghetti sauce. The second half is recipes that use these. I have to say I probably won't make any of the recipes. Many of them were just too fiddly for me and I don't have access to a lot of those ingredients other than mail order. I really prefer to make my own, grow my own, forage and buy locally in most instances, though I certainly do visit my local Asian and Mexican groceries for some ingredients. You will need to source many of the ingredients at specialty shops, whether online or locally. Still a fascinating primer.

I read a digital ARC of this book for review.
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I love to flip through cookbooks. I buy and check out cookbooks based on how tasty things look, regardless of whether or not I’ll actually make the recipes found in those books. “The Modern Larder” is a cookbook I would not only flip through for inspiration, but would actually follow all of the steps of the recipes.

This book has a great section that focuses just on ingredients. There are lovely pictures, a brief botanical history, taste description, and in many cases storage instruction. This section is a nice way of learning more about new or unfamiliar ingredients and may tempt you to pick up something new when you're at the grocery store next. 

The recipes were written clearly and simply. Nothing I looked at confused me or required me to get any special tools to complete. I live in a large town/small city and I think I could get all of the ingredients necessary to complete each recipe by going to my local grocery store (Kroger, Walmart, etc.) and the local international market. 

Reading this book made me very hungry and ready to try something new in the kitchen!
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Just pretentious enough to be charming, this collection of wholesome ingredients arranged alphabetically will tell you what to do what that bottle of black vinegar or jar of coconut oil you purchased for a recipe and now need to use. Gorgeous still-life photography. Recipes may not appeal to every palate, but there's sure to be something here to tempt you.
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I was expecting this book to be a way to finesse pantry staples into unique and delicious meals, and while that technically is true, if you have none of the "staples" listed in the first section of the book, you pretty much can't make anything. And staples is clearly a very subjective term that means different things to different people, but I own a lot of ingredients, and I barely had any of these so-called staples... some of them being pomegranate molasses, makrut lime leaf, flower water, yuzu... 

Now that's not to say I won't purchase some ingredients solely for this book, I was just expecting this to be more accessible to the average person. The recipes themselves are for sure for the refined palette who can appreciate unique flavors, and I would definitely adapt some of them to fit the ingredients I do have on hand.
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Modern Larder serves as a guide for curating fine dishes using ingredients from your shelf. 

The author shares some ingredients you’ll find in her larder such as oils, vinegars, sauces, syrups, and so on. She offers a fresh perspective on some powerful ingredients as well as tips and techniques. 

She encourages the reader to finesse these already fine ingredients into elevated versions of themselves. The book is divided into two parts: Part 1 covers a wide range of ingredients in an alphabetical order. You’ll find ingredients such as Black Vinegar, Caraway, Ghee, Dried Shrimp 🍤, and so on. The ingredients are explained in depth including how they could be used in and outside the kitchen.

The author offers an endless list of recipes and combinations using these ingredients. For example, there are five versions of fried rice 🍚 including Chicken-Fat Fried Rice and Sardine Fried Rice. 

This book will broaden your culinary knowledge. Definitely recommend to passionate cooks. 

Thank you to Michelle McKenzie, NetGalley and Roost Books for the ARC of this book.
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This book is a treasure trove of information. I quickly realized that in the past few years of taking cooking/baking quite seriously, I've developed quite a lovely larder. My larder includes many of the special ingredients talked about in this book, and I had no idea that that would be the case.

I love the layout of this cookbook, or is it a manual? An encyclopedia? It's very, very thorough. I love thorough. Tell me all the details you know about each obscure ingredient, thank you very much. And this author does much more, she gives many applications as well. I really can't wait to try all the recipes.

Now, I'm someone who thrives off of little culinary projects, and this is the book for that. I've traversed many projects already, and this offers me many more. Want to delve deeply into one ingredient and use it in a variety of ways? This book is for you. It's an amazing accumulation of knowledge that feeds not just my mouth, but my soul. I can look at one ingredient and take that as a sturdy stepping off point, then run with it and indulge myself knowledge-wise elsewhere eventually as well. This is a handy, provoking guide for the curious cook.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my opinion.
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I love adventurous recipes and this book certainly provides that. I don't know if most of the recipes in this book however are fully accessible to everyone. Some ingredients are not easily attainable and might be overwhelming to someone who isn't into more adventurous eating.
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