"If you really want to learn about food. . .
. . . , travel. Travel to France."
Every cookbook I read has that one sentence that reaches out, grabs my attention, and connects with me on a personal level, and this quote is that one from my good chef-friend John Tesar's newly published first book Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals at Home (Flatiron Books). It's a stand out because my own life has been chock full of travels throughout France and Asia, significantly altering my perspective on food and inspiring me to create: Traveling truly is the key to learning--on a profound level--about food.
When I purchase a cookbook, I read it from cover to cover--every word of it: the introduction, every recipe, the acknowledgments, and even the credits. Knowing how much effort writing and perfecting a cookbook can be, how devoted the chef-author must be to it to properly convey his story and his recipes, and how much of his valuable time, fueled from his passions, he commits to its creation, I feel it's out of respect that I should devote just a small bit of my time in return to reading it--all of it. Besides, owning a cookbook, to me, isn't just for the single purpose of having a handy reference available when I need a recipe, which has the unfortunate consequence of thumbing quickly past (and ignoring) any page that doesn't serve my immediate cooking needs, it's also about a story, just as any other non-fiction work is intended to be. It's amazing how much more you learn about cooking from a chef when you follow his entire message from beginning to end, as if on the journey with him.
Why is such a quote in the book of a Texas steakhouse chef? You must read the full story to find out!