Ferran Adria on how to cook El Bulli's "The Family Meal"
If it seems like you’re seeing a lot more of Ferran Adria than you have before, you’re right. Perhaps it’s because he’s trying to keep the buzz alive sans El Bulli, or maybe without the responsibilities of running the best restaurant in the world he just has more time. That’s not to say he’s slowing down – quite the opposite (see where you can accidentally bump into him on his busy schedule). He’s still teaching culinary physics at Harvard (a class I’d love to audit), he’s giving more interviews than ever and he just wrote another cookbook, The Family Meal. Whereas Adria’s other cookbooks hardly ever make it to my kitchen and act instead more like objets d’arts for my coffee table (I barely made it through chemistry, I doubt I’ll be diving into molecular gastronomy for dinner any time soon), The Family Meal features recipes like Caesar salad, cheeseburgers & potato crisps, pasta bolognese and saffron risotto, aka things I can actually make. And none of it requires liquid nitrogen or a dehydrator or a Spherification Kit (part of Adria’s line of domestic products that allows you to make any food into little caviar-like pellets).
Packed full of pictures, with layouts beforehand of all the ingredients you’ll need for a recipe, as well as step-by-step, photo guided how-to’s, the book isn’t intimidating at all. There are 31 menus, and each consists of a first course, a main and a dessert. Moreover, it answers an interesting question: what do some of the world’s most talented chefs eat? “Everyone knows we cook,” Adria said, “but they don’t know what we eat. I kept asking around I realized nobody knew.” It turns out they eat very simply (pasta, fish, curry) but very well, which is exactly what you want in a good, home-cooked dinner, right? Adria also explains “how to apply the practicality of cooking in a restaurant to cooking at home,” providing quantities of ingredients needed for serving 2, 6, 20 or 75 people. So whether you’re cooking for a date or for a room full of people, you can serve El Bulli-style right at home.