Cook Like a Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World

Clarkson Potter: Crown. Sept. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9781524761264. $35. COOKING
Acclaimed chef Shepherd, along with food writer Goalen (The Short Stack Cookbook), have put together a fun book organized around six ingredients: fish sauce, chiles, soy, rice, spices, and corn. Each chapter explores the core food in depth, including a brief history of its development; advice on buying, preparation, and storage; and recipes featuring the ingredient in a range of cuisines. The focus is on Asian, Creole and Tex-Mex flavors, but there are nods to Shepherd’s Midwestern roots as well in recipes such as Vietnamese fajitas, Chile tater tot casserole, and Gobi Manchurian. Shepherd is a James Beard Award winner for his Houston restaurant Underbelly and has a respectful, but unpretentious, attitude toward the concept of authenticity. The book also includes profiles on other area cooks and food providers. Throughout, Shepherd encourages exploration, learning, and reliance on one’s own palate. Many of the recipes come from Underbelly and its follow-up restaurant UB Preserve, including lamburger helper and UB Preserve pickles.
VERDICT While many of the recipes are on the cheffy side and require a lot of prep work, experienced home cooks will find this to be an attractive choice.

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