Brad Long On Butter : it’s good for you (The Harvest Commission) Paperback 176 pages $28
Having been force-fed the plastic-packaged evil that is margarine from an early age (all those bad fats, right, Mum?) it wasn’t until my post-university years I got seriously into the pleasures of butter, and I have been slathering it all over much of the food in my kitchen ever since. Our household goes through quite a volume of the stuff as our young son appears to been smitten with its slick allure from a very early age. With this in mind, it was with a small shriek of delight I received this little book in my mailbox.
For full disclosure, I’ve been good friends with the author of this book for over 20 years, and so perhaps that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed reading through it so much. Dipping into its pages was akin to one of the extremely enjoyable meandering discussions that the two of us have from time to time; It’s chock-full of jokes both good and not-so-good, shaggy dog story anecdotes, and layer upon layer of tangents and factoids. The author’s personality shines through on every page, and this, in my mind, a truly wonderful thing. The other reason I enjoyed it is because it’s a damn good read.
At 176 pages it’s also a pretty quick read, especially because of the snappy conversational style in which it is written. I had no trouble reading my advance copy from cover to cover in one sitting (and went to bed to dream of braised garlic butter sandwiched betwixt Matzo crackers… I kid you not!) But contained within those scant 176 pages are many a recipe and neat little culinary trick.
“It’s all about the cream” is how the book leads off. In the first segment Long gives us his thoughts on what makes for good butter, this is followed by instructions for three methods of making it for yourself. I have to admit that I had never even thought of making my own butter before, and yet this morning I awoke with plans to track down the very best cream available, although I’m wondering if I actually have the stamina to shake a mason jar full of it for upwards of 15 minutes? We shall see…
The recipes range from the basic clarified, drawn, and compound butters, through the slightly tricker beurres blanc and noisette, and into many recipes that have at the very core of their delectable tastiness the application of butter in some way or another (chicken, beans, potatoes, veggies etc.)
The final third of the book is assigned to the sweeter side of butter’s use in the kitchen, the dessert recipes all being penned by Long’s wife and accomplished pastry chef, Sheryl. Not having much of a sweet tooth it will probably take me a little longer to experiment in this section, but saying that my wife’s birthday is coming up soon, and I’m sure she would appreciate some home-baked shortbread.
This is a cracking wee book, and well worth picking up if you’re a butter lover.
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’s looking forward to the follow up. Brad Long on ???