Seasonal Warm Up: Cooking With Fire by Paula Marcoux

March 01, 2015
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Paula Marcoux's Cooking With Fire

If you yearn for the days of circling the campfire with marshmallows on a stick, Paula Marcoux is a worthy guru. Marcoux is a food historian, archaeologist and chef. Her book Cooking with Fire (Storey Publishing, 2014) provides a comprehensive history of the ancient technique of wood-fired cooking, and adapts these techniques for modern use.

“Spending some quality time with fire,” Marcoux writes, “is a great way to understand this primordial element.” Her detailed explanations of tools and techniques are both entertaining and informative, and leave you feeling substantially smarter, and a little more in touch with your spit-roasting ancestors.

Cooks of every level of experience will enjoy Cooking with Fire. From the basics of firebuilding—selecting kindling, the difference between hardwoods and softwoods—to more involved processes like building a roasting hearth, Marcoux details every step. Recipes range from Beef Shanks with Chile and Cranberry Beans to Cream Scones. Later chapters feature complex techniques like smokers, cast-iron cookstoves and a section on building your own heat-retaining oven.

Marcoux leaves no stone unturned preparing you for a life as a wood-fired chef. On top of recipes for meats and breads of all kinds, there are less obvious but tempting options like the flip, a rum beverage made with a red-hot poker, and an almond meringue that cooks in a cooling oven.

“Today, sadly, the deepest most Americans delve into outdoor cooking is doing something they call ‘grilling,’” writes Marcoux, “that is, flame-steaming food over gas jets inside an expensive metal box.”

 —Eleanor Duke

If you’d like to go beyond the expensive metal box, join Edible Rhody with Paula Marcoux on June 13 for a cooking demonstration on the beach at the Ocean House in Watch Hill. She and the Ocean House Food Forager will create a locally sourced meal without the use of modern cooking appliances.

Visit OceanHouseEvents.com for sign-up details.

Article from Edible Rhody at http://ediblerhody.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/seasonal-warm-cooking-fire-paula-marcoux
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