By Stephanie Stiavetti & Garrett McCord
Little, Brown and Company, $30.00, 211 pages
At first glance Melt appears to be a cookbook for the food snobs with unlimited food budget and an accessible well-stocked cheese shop. This is only partly true. A hefty budget will help, as most of the recommended artisan cheeses in the recipes are pricey imports. And most of them you may not ever have heard of. But authors Stiavetti and McCord give alternative cheeses and, blessedly, some you may find at a good cheese counter. For example, alternatives to fiscalini bandage wrapped cheddar are five equally uncommon cheeses but the sixth is “any stout aged cheddar.”
“Macaroni and cheese has been an American obsession…”
The book has a considerable collection of great recipes including wine pairings, all featuring cheese and pasta and supporting ingredients accessible to most dedicated home cooks. Most recipes are not easy to reproduce, and even the familiar ones (Tune Noodle Casserole) will take some serious kitchen time. The recipe writing, head notes and layout (with some exceptions) are excellent and so are the many food photos. The many extensive sidebars are informative and so are the first chapter and appendices, providing you with practically a seminar on cheese and pasta. The index is extensive and well cross-referenced. This is a wonderful cookbook.
Reviewed by George Erdosh