More than a recipe book, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook is a kaleidoscopic encyclopedia celebrating apples from a cultural perspective, as well as their impressive versatility and nuanced flavor subtleties. In Amy Traverso’s comprehensive tome, she categorizes apples based on taste and texture and delves into the ubiquitous fruit’s history. Traverso is not only an enthusiast but a true apple sommelier.
The book contains a stunningly glossy and vibrant guide to 59 apple varieties, each life-like photograph complete with flavor profiles, origin, availability and best uses in recipes. She takes us on the apple’s initial journey from Asia to America and introduces us to some of the industry’s most important players, from growers preserving heirlooms to the scientists breeding new varieties.
I loved reading about Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, Massachusetts that boasts home to the magical grafting tree. Al Rose, the farm’s proprietor, describes it as a “Technicolor tree” draped in multiple diverse apple varieties, which have been grafted and crossbred over time.
First and foremost, however, this book is a cookbook, with apple-centric recipes running the gamut from sweet to savory. Traverso includes a useful guide demonstrating the best ways to use each type of apple in cooking as well as an abridged cheat-sheet for easy substitutions, in case the variety of choice is unavailable.
She gives us the expected, like comforting apple pies, crisps and tarts. But she also gives us the unexpected, such as braised brisket with apples and hard cider and cider-braised pork with calvados. The thought of apple pie with cheddar-sage crust stirs a deep anticipation for apple season!
In addition to cooking tips, advice on proper apple storage and even a guide on peeling and coring apples, Traverso teaches us how to pair cider and cheese and provides a list of the country’s foremost apple festivals. She also lists notable apple products such as apple butter, apple tea and apple sorbet.
The Apple Lover’s Cookbook is an indispensably informative and inspiring guide to fans of the noble apple. Amy Traverso has written a classic book you will certainly want to add to your collection. And on that note, W.W. Norton & Company, the publisher, was kind enough to provide a copy of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook to give away. If you’d like a chance to win a copy, leave a comment stating your favorite apple dish, sweet or savory.
-Leave comment on this post between Thursday, March 15 and Monday, March 26, 11:59 EST.
-One entry per person, no anonymous comments.
-Open US residents only. Winner will be chosen randomly, notified via email and announced on this site. A copy of The Apple Lover’s Cookbook will be shipped via USPS.