Yes, I love this book. I hate this book. I'm torn between my emotions. I hate this book, but oh so love it, because it makes me yearn for the ability to cure my own meat. I LOVE lardo, bacon, prosciutto, guanciale, chorizo, salami.....a never ending list of cured and smoked meats. And now, I have discovered, I am in desperate need of a butcher's saw, brinometer, a meat safe, thermo-hygrometer, salami nozzle for my kitchen aid, and a fridge in my garage, one in which I can control the temperature, humidity, and air circulation. I think I am going to start with Lardo. Based on my readings of this tomb of knowledge, I believe that I will be able to perform Lardo magic with just my fridge. (Crazily enough, I have searched ALL over Charlotte, NC for Lardo....no one sells it and most haven't even heard of this heavenly fat...so I'm making it myself).
I just peaked into my fridge and I currently have six logs of salami. All with various spice and various sweet flavorings. All with various lengths as some have been sliced and nibbled much more than others. I love any type of small-batch artisanal cured meats. So perfect for a meat and cheese tray or my perfect lunch of an arugula and lemon juice salad with a few, or ten, slices of salami on the side.
This book is genius; it informs the reader of the basics and walks the reader, in a detailed fashion, through each step in the curing and smoking process. And, most importantly, it includes detailed photographs of each step. Thus, why I believe....no, I know, that I can be successful in my quest for Lardo. There is nothing like fresh asparagus that has been grilled and then draped with a succulent piece of Lardo. This book is one to be studied and savored. This book of mine will have dog ears and stains and notes in the margins. It may take me a while...as I sit writing this, it is 100 degrees in Charlotte and I need 50 degree weather to air dry my spicy salami! But I am excited about my path; one that The River Cottage will guide me down.
Stick with me. I will report back on my Lardo!