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Food & Drink

Four Cookbooks Destined for the Coffee Table

They look pretty enough to eat

a work in progress!

A Work in Progress
Lowdown: René Redzepi’s three-part package — book, journal, photo collection — is rife with haunting, ethereal imagery: a bloodied goose, neck aslack; a shattered head of black garlic; a shocking blue langoustine. Every page makes a case for Redzepi’s genius. The dreamlike, soulful recipes are impossible to re-create. That’s kind of the point.
Read it: Food fanatics, Danish devotees, those hankering for hay oil.
Weep: PETA members, straitlaced home cooks, those who eat to live.
Buy it:
At amazon.com, $46.

ivan ramen!

Ivan Ramen
Lowdown:
Ivan Orkin (best known as the New Yorker who opened a chain of cult-followed ramen joints in Tokyo and recently returned to NY to cook) says he doesn’t “open a cookbook to cook from it”: “I read cookbooks because I want to know why someone cooks the way they do, how they arrived at their recipes.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Read it: Slurpers, burpers, adventure seekers, travel mavens.
Weep: Soup Nazis, lazybones, squares (Orkin is as liberal with his curse words as with his ladle).
Buy it:
At amazon.com, $18.

historic heston!
Historic Heston

Lowdown: It’s nearly impossible to sum up the awesomeness of this exquisitely packaged amalgamation of photographic still lifes, illustrations, and historic recipes. Lauded British chef Heston Blumenthal gives us a collector’s item, a time capsule, and the ideal holiday gift all wrapped into one.
Read it: History buffs, geeks, erudites, creative types.
Weep: Bores.
Buy it: At amazon.com, $125.

pok pok!

Pok Pok
Lowdown:
Andy Ricker famously brought authentic Thai cuisine to Portland, Oregon, and NYC. In his debut tome, he practically begs you to respect the food. It’s hard not to. “How to Use This Book” informs you that sourcing ingredients will be your biggest challenge. The subsequent pages include complex, layered recipes that require serious legwork (both online and within your city).
Read it: Spice addicts, refined palates, risk takers, recipe riffers (Ricker says it’s okay to substitute).
Weep:
The chance-averse, cynics, penny pinchers (tools are required to master the trade).
Buy it: At amazon.com, $22.

Photos: Courtesy of Rene Redzepi; Daniel Kriger / Courtesy of Ivan Ramen; Romas Foord / Courtesy of Heston Blumenthal; Austin Bush / Courtesy of Pok Pok