I’ve stumbled upon an intriguing new cookbook, Smoke and Pickles, by Edward Lee. I have to admit I picked it up pretty much entirely because I love the title. Come on, isn’t it a great title?
Fortunately it’s not only the title that’s great. This is actually part cookbook, part biography, and has a fun visual design that’s pretty unique for a cookbook. (The design is what caught me next.) I feel like the look is not quite a collage, not quite grunge, not quite a traditional cookbook, but a really a little bit of all three done in a bold graphic style. (My school background is actually in fine arts and graphic design. I find I can’t help but be intrigued by an interesting design style or layout.)
The title and design might have been what caught my attention in the first place but it’s the recipes that kept me hooked. Potato Stuffed Roast Chicken, Curried Pork Pies, Oxtail Stew…. What’s coolest about this book is that it’s a total mishmash of cultures. Author Edward Lee is Korean American, grew up in Brooklyn, and is into Southern cookin’. I think that’s why I want to try so many of the recipes, because they reflect that awesome cultural mishmash. For example “Rice Bowl with Beef, Onions, Collards, Fried Egg, and Corn Chili Remoulade” if that isn’t a mishmash I don’t know what is. I personally identify with Lee’s eclectic background, my Dad’s side of the family is Jamaican and Haitian, my Mom’s is Irish. My husband’s family is Japanese and Swedish. I grew up in Colorado (home of killer Mexican food) and have a personal love for Italian cooking and French pastry. I feel like a bit of an eclectic cook myself. I hope that some day I can bring it all together in such a tasty way as Edward Lee.
I’m digging the southern influences Lee has going on. Southern classics and a little bit of BBQ are in play here. I’ve been falling for the BBQ thing myself in more recent years. A few years back my Dad became fascinated with smoking. After his smoked brisket and sausages I’ve become a believer. I won’t eat a Thanksgiving turkey any other way then smoked. (More about this later.) The Korean influence adds a great twist as well… there is a nice little section on Kimchi. I have to admit I’ve never thought of making it homemade, but it really might happen some time now.
As you can probably guess Smoke and Pickles gets five stars from me. And you can count on upcoming recipes from me finding their inspiration from this book.