I received The Family Meal as a gift just a couple of hours ago, but I can already tell it’s going to become a kitchen workhorse. It’s a beautiful book, brilliantly organized, and is so so so approachable. I have found that a cookbooks by people of Chef Adrià’s class tend to be aspirational, but woefully fussy. This one, however, was written with the pragmatic spirit that makes books like Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food indispensable for me (a competent but not especially fancy home cook).
Most importantly, I believe this book will help me learn to think like a better, more organized cook, and therefore become a better, more organized cook. I have this theory that if I can ever manage getting my culinary mise en place, I’ll be able my existential mise en place. In a reductive kind of way, The Family Meal is all about getting one’s mise en place—about organizing one’s gastronomic life in such a way that eating well on a daily basis is relatively strife-free. In the intro, Chef Adrià even writes that those who do not eat well simply haven’t tried. I think (assuming a certain amount of wealth and access to decent ingredients) he is very right.
The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià