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November 21, 2009

The Big Fat Undertaking: Blogger to cook through Blumenthal's "Fat Duck" cookbook

Hats off to a blogger in the Netherlands who is cooking his way through Heston Blumenthal's bible of molecular gastronomy, the Fat Duck Cookbook. He's documenting his culinary odyssey at The Big Fat Undertaking.

One of the early recipes he tried was grapefruit and crisp candied beets lollipops in edible transparent wrappers. He did very well, especially considering he didn't have the refractometer that Blumenthal recommends for making the candy.


Beets. Jesus. Beets just seem to me to be one of those dreadful things like turnips and rutabagas that starving peasants could store for the winter to eat as emergency rations.

Come see us in New York, cfrost, and I'll take you for a bowl of borscht that will make you rethink the potential of the beet. (Ukrainian Village on the Lower East Side, for you locals.)

I love beets, but not in a sweet lollipop. Although I must say crisp beetroot discs on their own or in a savoury dish are quite delicious.

I've always wondered about borscht. I've never had it. If I were traveling in Russia how hungry would I have to be to eat it? Russian bread -I'm all over that! Weird and gristly cuts of meat -I'll lap them up like a dog. Beets -I don't know. Perhaps there is such a thing as good beets. Should I get to NYC or Russia I guess I'd be willing to try.

Lindsay, is it bad that the only Ukrainian Village I can find on Google Maps is in Somerset County, New Jersey?

I meant Ukrainian East Village. Their borscht and homemade bread is an unbeatable combo. Makes a delicious lunch or light dinner under $10.00. Their pierogies are good, too.

I have that book on my Amazon Wish List for Christmas. I don't know that I'd ever get ambitious enough to actually cook from it, but that's hardly the point.

School lunchrooms ruined beets for a lot of people, as they did so many vegetables. I love them roasted, I've made a very tasty (and pretty) pasta dish with them, and they make awesome pickles.

I did HB's chicken tikka masala from In Search of Perfection. The recipe was 5 pages long and took 3 days to complete. Good luck, kid! (You'll need it.) Also, I question whether it should really count if you substitute a rice cooker for a water bath. My vote is "no." Only if you soup up the rice cooker ala Alton brown to achieve temperature control in the same ballpark as the $1,000+ piece of lab equipment.

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