"COOKING WITH FIRE," by Paula Marcoux, Storey Publishing, $19.95, 320 pages
In her well-organized recent book, “Cooking With Fire,” Paula Marcoux follows the path early man blazed as he developed new ways to cook food using his favorite tool — fire. Beginning with chapter 1 "A Fire and a Stick," Marcoux shares recipes and methods for cooking over fire based on historical records from various regions of the world.
The first cooking over fire was done by people holding the animal or plant directly over the flame until it was cooked to their taste. In subsequent chapters, the author examines the improvements that developed as ancient man learned better, more efficient ways to cook and prepare the food. Each chapter moves through history, presenting enhancements in cooking procedures right up to the modern times.
Marcoux is very thorough with her information and does a wonderful job matching recipes with each style. Some are simple — hang the meat by a string over the fire — while others require setup or construction of specific items used in the cooking process. Each method and recipe is accompanied by excellent photographs that help the reader see what the end result should be.
All recipes require open fires of some sort, so the author has even given detailed instructions on how to build a fire that will work best in each situation. Whether used by a beginning outdoor chef or a practiced Dutch oven magician, this unique cookbook offers interesting and exciting new ways to use fire in the preparation of good food.
Marcoux is a food historian and lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts.