The Publican's New Cookbook Gets A Glowing Early Review
By Anthony Todd in Food on Aug 24, 2017 5:26PM
The cover of the Publican cookbook.
The cookbook I am most excited about in 2017 is Cheers to the Publican: Repast and Present. Written by Chefs Paul Kahan and Cosmo Goss (along with Rachel Holtzman), it contains recipes and stories from one of Chicago's most acclaimed restaurants. And while I haven't gotten a media copy (yet!), someone I trust has, and they are really impressed.
Former Chicago food writer (and current editor of Eater) Helen Rosner reviewed the Publican cookbook in a piece that came out Wednesday. Read the whole thing, but here are some highlights:
The book, like the restaurant, is all over the culinary map: a bounty of vegetable dishes that could be sides or entrees depending on how much you make; a wild array of meats, including plenty of off-cuts, prepared in ways that show off their flavor instead of burying it under spices and sauces; seafood of all sorts prepared without preciousness; a deep bench of charcuterie and breads.
What this food has, instead of simplicity, is clarity: of flavor, philosophy, and intention, catapulted beyond the twee and precious by something that feels like recklessness but is actually just extraordinary skill. Whenever I’m at the Publican, I marvel to whomever I’m eating with that this is how I want to eat all the time. It turns out that’s possible, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. Maybe that’s the magic of it all.
Now, it sounds like (as with many restaurant cookbooks) the recipes in this book might be a bit . . . complicated to try at home. Rosner name-drops ingredients like green coriander seeds and beef blood that we don't normally have in our home pantry. Despite this, I can't wait to try cooking (or adapting) some Publican classics, and also reading Kahan's thoughts on just about anything.