Clearly I am obsessed with culinary books. I have to be in my line of work. And honestly sometimes there is nothing more fulfilling than sitting down and digesting an entire book in one sitting. All of the ideas and thoughts. The images of dinners served and food eaten. The pleasure derived from what was just created is all worth it. And then it is into the kitchen to start working on these thoughts, images, and ideas. My latest book is “The Elements of Taste” written by Peter Kaminsky and chef Gray Kunz. I purchased this book for three reasons. The first being that I enjoyed Peter’s book “Pig Perfect” so much I had to see what else he had published. Once I stumbled onto this selection I had to buy it for the last two reasons. The first being the title. “The Elements of Taste” to me said the essence of what I do. I focus so much of my attention to how food taste. Food to me is more than what I have to consume to sustain life, it is an experience. Everyday we all eat, everyday we all make the decision of what to consume. I find that if you eat what taste great to you and something you really want then no matter how bad your day may be at least you have the brief moment of pleasure while eating. The final reason was the coauthor. Kelly and I ate at Cafe Gray the last time we were in New York City and had one of the best meals of our trip there. I may have mentioned the foie gras sausage we had for lunch before but feel I must mention it again. Chef Gray Kunz that day was offering something as rich as foie gras in a dish as heavy as sausage for lunch. As a fan of both foie and sausage Kelly and I both wanted to try it. Amazing is the first description I have of the dish we received. Light, bold, perfectly textured, filling yet not heavy, and perfect would be how I round out my perception of the dish overall. The richness was perfectly balanced with acidity, the sweetness countered with the appropriate application of salt. Again, it was one of the single best dishes we had while in New York that week where we also dined at places like Bouchon Bakery, Eleven Madison, Gramercy Tavern, Upstairs at Bouley’s, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Blue Ribbon Wine Bar, and Mas Farmhouse. So into the book I went like a child into the deep end of the pool on the first day of summer break. When I finally surfaced for air I was filled with ideas, thinking at a pace that nearly confused me, and at the same time felt satisfied and uplifted by what I just read. Kind of like the perfect meal I had the experience of consuming enough to fill my appetite without being to full yet would (and obviously will) come back many more times to try all the wonderful things I did not get to the first time around. The first recipe I tried out was the chicken glazed with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. I have to be honest and say that I had some doubts in the recipe and the method of cooking. But being a good sport and in the interest of cooking I followed the recipe to the word in the exact order it was printed (which is how the authors recommend you do) and the results were just as the dish sounded. Better even. The chicken came out of the 500 F oven (one of my biggest doubts) with the crispest skin I have ever seen without deep fat frying and was perfectly cooked (in that I mean just done without being anywhere near dry). So to that I have to say this is a must for all of those interested in cooking, from the professional chef to the weekend gourmet. Follow this book from the introduction through the methods and then to the actual recipes and you will find yourself in the blissful moment of culinary perfection. The only down side to this book is it is not easy to find. You can find it on Amazon.com but you have to buy it from another vendor as Amazon does not have any in stock. But as I have said the hunt is worth it. Below is an image of the cover for reference and an image of the chicken I cooked as it first came out of the oven.