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Book review: the great Kleyn

  1. What do you do when you read in a recipe about a certain technique that you don't exactly know? You can of course consult doctor Google, but it is much more fun to look up the technique in 'De Grote Kleyn'. This (quite) complete culinary reference book is a party for every cooking and eating enthusiast. Full of information you need to know and things that may be less necessary, but also interesting.

  1. Essential connoisseurs for all eaters, cooks and cooks in the Netherlands, that's the description of the big Kleyn. As soon as you have the thick book in your hands, you think you are dealing with kind of an encyclopedia, but it's more than that. In a thousand pages and three themes, Kleyn tells you everything he knows. The result is a thick 'bible' full of information about ingredients and techniques, but also flavors, backgrounds and history. Nice is the attention to etiquette and the different European cuisines Full of information The reference work starts - how could it be otherwise - with the potato. Tubers that cannot be ignored in Dutch cuisine and Kleyn extensively describes the origin, varieties, cultivation and skin, but most attention is paid to the different preparation methods. What about the origin of fries and how do you bake the perfect baked potato? Many ingredients follow the potato from mushrooms and truffles to chocolate and cocoa. The overview of herbs and spices is also nice, for example Cooking techniques are explained very clearly; attention is paid to blanching, poaching, sautéing, sous-vide preparation, preserving and so on. Kleyn also devotes entire chapters to cooking appliances - from römertopf to microwave -, pots and pans, knives, culinary planning and portioning. Especially the latter are a must to read through. They make your daily life as a cook a lot easier The information density is quite high, but De Grote Kleyn is still a pleasant read. This is largely due to the sober way of writing, clear, accessible and with a touch of humor. Anecdotes, history and interesting facts are interspersed with recipes with wine recommendations. Kleyn also names and disproves many fables and prejudices. The layout of the book is calm, with a nice drawing per chapter. Fortunately, the book also has a very extensive register. That way you can look up the information you need very easily.

Continue to eat

  1. The great Kleyn is bursting with information, but Kleyn also hopes that you are and become critical. He wants to encourage people to put things into perspective and to investigate: "Be curious, experiment, read, ask questions." His secret wish is that the compendium is more than a reference work and that the information tastes so good that you keep on eating. "Graze in it, candy, sniff and feast. Rumination is also excellent." Â And although you will not read this thick book from cover to cover so quickly, there is indeed a danger in 'looking something up'. Before you know it, you have not only read about the difference between white and brown caster sugar, but you also know everything about natural sweet, caramel, to what temperature you should heat sugar for a marshmallow or chat, tart apple syrup and you suddenly find yourself in the kitchen to bake a sugar pie with rhubarb compote Onno Kleyn has been a culinary and wine journalist for 28 years. He has regular features in the Volkskrant and has published some forty books, mainly about Italy, France and wine. In 2011 he started the Academy Culinary Writing, where he coaches upcoming culinary talents. He also lectures on culinary history.

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