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June 04, 2012


Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

Some cookbooks are looked upon as bibles, others as stylish monographs. Andoni Luis Aduriz’s “Mugaritz,” his first cookbook on his world-renowned San Sebastian restaurant, is poetry. I find the grandeur of “Mugaritz” not only in its precise depiction of the recipes — all dishes are photographed on white plate-ware and shown at actual serving sizes — but also in its ideas. In the first half of the book, Aduriz tells the story of how Mugaritz began, why they started foraging, the restaurant’s evolution and his team’s creative process. Mugaritz is an experience for more than just the palate. It is to cuisine as Pina Bausch is to modern dance or Bill Evans to jazz music — an inspired and intelligent pleasure. Aduriz translates the Mugaritz experience from the plate to the page, transporting the reader with his cerebral and poetic prose. His words are a delectation unto themselves.

There are three Mugaritz recipes in the boxes to the right: “Carrots Cooked in Clay” (using tiny local carrots grown by farmers specifically for Mugaritz), “Shhhhhh… Cat Got Your Tongue” and “Interpretation of Vanity: Chocolate Cake, Cold Almond Cream and Cocoa Bubbles.”

“Eating an egg is not the same thing as eating an egg that has a story behind it. We like to eat stories.” — Andoni Luis Aduriz

Credit: photography by José Luis López de Zubiria. All photos and recipes are from “Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking” (2012) by Andoni Luis Aduriz, courtesy of Phaidon Press.