Charcuterie, by Fritz H. Sonnenschmidt

Charcuterie, by Fritz H. Sonnenschmidt

Postby This Little Piggy » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:47 pm

Has any member of the forum got their hands on this charcuterie book, which has just come out? It's available now from Amazon in the US for $40, but is not listed on Amazon's UK site.

Sonnenschmidt is the lead author of a Garde Manger textbook that has been around for years and gone through five editions. I'd be curious to know how his book compares to Ruhlman's and Polcyn's.
"Nothing exceeds like excess."

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Postby wheels » Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:59 pm

Sorry, not got this one yet Little Piggy.

It's available on Amazon UK from 5 Feb.

Phil
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Postby This Little Piggy » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:56 pm

Just got ahold of this book. Unfortunately, it is not the "comprehensive and detailed" book on the subject that he set out to write. Unfortunately for us meatheads, publishers don't seem to believe that there's enough of a market out there to do such a book and price it reasonably.

A full-length review is posted on my blog. Here's a condensed version:

Fritz Sonnenschmidt is a Certified Master Chef, who joined the faculty of the Culinary Institute of America in 1968 and retired in 2002. He authored and edited the book, The Professional Art of Garde Manger, which has been a standard textbook for many decades. Michael Ruhlman memorably describes Sonnenschmidt as a master of the cold kitchen, �who is very nearly a perfect sphere,� so presumably he has vast experience in eating charcuterie as well as preparing it.

Published by Delmar Cengage Learning, this book sets out to be a textbook for both the culinary student and the keen amateur. In the Preface, Sonnenschmidt declares �For some time now I have felt the need for a comprehensive and detailed book on preparing sausages, p�t�s, aspics, and salsas the easy way, as my masters taught me.�

If indeed it were �comprehensive and detailed,� it would be worth the hefty $62 asking price. But the first five chapters, covering equipment, the raw materials, seasonings and cures, sausage casings, and the smoking of meats�all in less than 50 pages�are woefully inadequate.

Fortunately, the bulk of the book is taken up by recipes, and they almost redeem it.

As befits someone born and trained in Germany before he emigrated to the US, it has a boatload of German sausage recipes�Liverwurst (seven different kinds!), Pressack, Mettwurst, Onionwurst, Cervelat, Brotzeit, Land Jaeger, Bauernwurst, Frankfurters, Beerwurst, Leberk�se, Jaegerwurst, Knockwurst, Gelbwurst, and Bratwurst (which, for him, constitutes a whole category of sausages). I was particularly pleased to see him dedicate a whole chapter to Spreadable Raw Sausages, something all-too-rarely seen in this country. And then there are the p�t�s and terrines, which are his specialty. He even includes a significant number of kosher recipes made without pork meat or pork fat.

My only disappointment with the recipes is that he does not provide more information about the products and ingredients. For example, he gives a couple recipes for boudin noir, but does not mention that an Asian grocery may be your only source for finding pig�s blood in this country. For someone of his experience and reputation as a culinary historian, I�m sure he could have told us much more about the history and traditions of the various kinds of charcuterie instead of just leaving his readers with bare-bones recipes.

The weakest part of the book, technically, is his chapter on sliceable raw sausages, like salamis. Here, there seems to be a fair amount of confusion or misunderstanding about the maturation process for dry-cured sausages.

The second phase is the incubation or fermentation of sausages, and here he seems seriously confused. He writes, �Even though I do not use starter cultures (fermento), I recommend (especially to beginners), using lactic acids� (97). First of all, he does use Fermento in his recipes. Second of all, Fermento, despite its name, is not a starter culture or even a fermentation aid; it is merely a flavoring. This means that if you follow his recipes, as written, you are relying solely on bacteria strains naturally present in the meat (chiefly Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Staphylococcus) to produce a proper fermentation, which is iffy at best. At a time when a variety of cheap and reliable bacterial starter cultures are readily available, his procedure of taking raw, uninoculated meat and incubating it at 70�F for one to two days (98), is not only highly unprofessional, but downright dangerous. Either follow his recipe and use the Fermento (to give a fermented flavor) and skip the incubation phase, or add a commercial bacteria culture to the recipe and incubate as directed.

All the faults I�ve pointed out are a small portion of the overall book, but they are unacceptable coming from a Master Chef, particularly when he has set out to provide �a comprehensive and detailed book� on the subject and the publisher has priced it accordingly. My final grade: 60 or three stars�not enough to pass the charcuterie section of the Master Chef exam.
"Nothing exceeds like excess."

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Postby wheels » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:06 pm

TLP

Thanks. Whilst I won't be buying this, I too am interested in spreadable raw sausages, particularly any liver sausage that doesn't taste overly of liver! Any chance of some recipes?

Phil
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Postby saucisson » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:35 pm

Anyone heard of Copyright around here :wink:

More seriously, having never used it, I didn't realise Fermento was only a flavouring and descriptions of it on e.g. sausagemaking.com (the US supplier) don't help:

Detailed Description

Fermento is a starter culture that produces a tangy flavor immediately in semi-dry cured sausage. No need to wait, you can stuff and smoke immediately
My Bold

Immmediately
is the give away I now realise. That and the ingredients list of only Cultured Whey Protein Concentrate and Cultured Skim Milk.

Dave
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Postby wheels » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:42 pm

saucisson wrote:Anyone heard of Copyright around here :wink:
Dave


Said in jest? But it does raise a serious issue. I.R.O. the US the law says:

Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, when a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.


So, maybe you can, maybe you can't. Of course a PM doesn't infringe anything. :wink:

Fermento's a weird one, isn't it. I was all on for getting some from The States for use with Rytek Kutas's recipes, but didn't bother when I saw the ingredients.

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Postby saucisson » Fri Mar 13, 2009 11:44 pm

So, maybe you can, maybe you can't. Of course a PM doesn't infringe anything. :wink:

My wife works in publishing so I know what is and isn't on, it's why I'm always going on about acknowledging sources because I know how close to the line we sometimes get here :)

Dave
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Great hams, from little acorns grow...
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Postby wheels » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:54 am

I agree fully. But a PM is not publishing anything.
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Postby wittdog » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:15 pm

Fermento is intrersting that it does impart that �twang� flavor�.but the technique is more important than the use of fermento�.I�ve make pepperoni both dry cured and fully cooked�.the dry cured did not contain the fermento but had a much better flavor than the cooked pep�..
I
ts 44 USD on Amazon...I think I'm going to order the book
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Postby This Little Piggy » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:15 am

Wittdog, read the reviews first! Hank Shaw gave the book 1 star out of 5. Any chance you could borrow it instead?
"Nothing exceeds like excess."

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Postby wittdog » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:16 pm

This Little Piggy wrote:Wittdog, read the reviews first! Hank Shaw gave the book 1 star out of 5. Any chance you could borrow it instead?

You gave it 60%...I think it might be worth the 44 Bucks just for the recipes..you've seen the book what do you think?
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Postby This Little Piggy » Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:57 pm

Having bought, on the basis of Sonnenschmidt's reputation, I now wish I had just ordered it through interlibrary loan to get the recipes. I am glad to have more German sausage recipes�I'm planning to make Liverwurst, the raw, spreadable Mettwurst sausage, and a tongue sausage as soon as I can get my local processor to stop throwing the tongues away.

So if borrowing is not an option and the price is not too big a hit, then go ahead. At least you know what you're getting and what you're not getting!
"Nothing exceeds like excess."

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Postby wittdog » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:22 pm

This Little Piggy wrote:Having bought, on the basis of Sonnenschmidt's reputation, I now wish I had just ordered it through interlibrary loan to get the recipes. I am glad to have more German sausage recipes�I'm planning to make Liverwurst, the raw, spreadable Mettwurst sausage, and a tongue sausage as soon as I can get my local processor to stop throwing the tongues away.

So if borrowing is not an option and the price is not too big a hit, then go ahead. At least you know what you're getting and what you're not getting!

Thanks I'm a book/recipe whore so I'll order it :lol:
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Postby SausageBoy » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:28 am

wheels wrote:Thanks. Whilst I won't be buying this, I too am interested in spreadable raw sausages, particularly any liver sausage that doesn't taste overly of liver! Any chance of some recipes?


Did you ever receive the recipes?

:D
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Postby wheels » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:46 pm

I'm sure that if TLP said he would send them that he did - he's a great bloke. I don't recall what they were though, was there a recipe for a particular thing that you are after?

I have Sonenschmidt's 'Art of Garde Manger' if that helps?

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