Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Het Dikke Vrienden Kookboek


For the gastronomically-minded who can also read Dutch, Het Dikke Vrienden Kookboek is one you will definitely want to pick up and might not want to put down.
Genuinely written by Fons Burger (Dutch writer, journalist and musician), it showcases the culinary creativity of late chef Ron Arnold. Unfortunately, Arnold lost his battle to the progressive neurodegenerative disease known as ALS on the 19th of October, yet through this cookbook, his legacy lives on. He believed that when cooking, there is no need for fancy equipment, just feeling and intuition. Although Arnold could no longer cook, Fons, his friend of twenty years, lovingly took on the role of his hands during a week spent in Geijsteren, a small village in the North of Limburg. It was there that Fons beautifully carried out the recipes that make up the eleven, four-course dinners featured in the book.  
After a moving introduction, attention is devoted to a few cooking basics: buying good ingredients, how to keep a well-stocked pantry and valuable tips to consider before starting to cook (never underestimate the importance of a proper mise en place!). The recipes vary in level from simple (the fool-proof Dutch shrimp salad with rocket, a mayonnaise sauce and quail’s eggs or the sensuous Love Soup with asparagus, garlic and cherry tomatoes), to recipes that require a little more attention (the champagne-amaretto bavarois, which should not be underestimated and the lobster, which you are instructed to kill yourself). There are menus designed to please just about any kind of friend or suit any occasion. You’ll find a colourful menu to make for your vegetarian friends, a menu composed of lighter fare for those who are watching their weight, a clever ‘Mexiframerican’ menu with fun dishes (Mexican Redneck, anyone?) and at the very end, an unforgettable dinner, which ultimately embodies the essence of the book love.
Chock full of emotion and peppered with a good does of humour, Het Dikke Vrienden Kookboek abounds with gastronomic inspiration, yet goes far and beyond your average collection of recipes. From the first word to the last, it is a stunning tribute to friendship, love and life.  
Het Dikke Vrienden Kookboek/ DIF Books/ISBN: 9789490077167