Saturday, May 30, 2009

Good Omens

Yesterday I attended a a free knife skills demonstration at Omnivore Books on Food. Peter Hertzmann, the author of the excellent Knife Skills Illustrated as well as the à la carte website, was the guest of honor. He demonstrated the basic techniques and offered a lot of insight about to get the most out of your knives. I picked up a copy of the book, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in improving their knife skills.

Peter was a lot of fun and was a great teacher. He teaches Knife Skills at the Palo Alto and Los Gatos locations of Sur La Table, if you get a chance, take one of his classes. In addition to having a background in Chinese and French cooking, Peter has been learning the art of Butchery in recent years, so I really enjoyed talking to him about his experiences and getting his feedback.

For those of you in the Bay Area, if you haven't been to Omnivore Books yet, you really need to go. It is a fantastic bookstore with an amazing variety of cook books and books on food. They have a great selection of current books, but even more impressive is their collection of antique and out of print books on food.

I was surprised to find out that Omnivore Books is in an old butcher shop, and they have the rails and walk in cooler to prove it. The USDA and local health agencies have done their best to get rid of rails in butcher shops, and old wood walk ins like this one are almost non-existent. As much as I love Omnivore Books, I couldn't help but think how great it would be to put the old butcher shop set-up back to work!

I consider it a good omen that even when I go to an event about cutting vegetables at a book store it turns out to be taught by a butcher at a butcher shop!

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