The cookbook industry has come a long way from Julia Child’s encyclopedic compendiums, Jacques Pepins’ analysis on technique, Mario Batali’s simple pasta preparations, and countless classics written by famous chefs on international cuisine. Getting a leg up now means eschewing those generalized tomes that focus on one type of cuisine or technique and presenting a thorough list of various do-it-yourself recipes. Now, authors are taking a microscopic look at gastronomy.
Take Nick Corbee’s Egg Shop, a compilation of proper egg-cooking techniques and more than 100 egg-centric recipes, or Julia Sherman’s Salad for President, a daringly specific foray into a course that’s usually one of the less-exciting. As Samin Nosrat claims, there are four simple elements involved in all cooking: salt, fat, acid, heat (which you can read all about in her cookbook of the same name). And now, food writer and photographer Michael Harlan Turkell has entered the scene with a highly specific look into vinegar.
Acid Trip: Travels in the World of Vinegar takes a trip across the globe and deep inside the history and intricacies of vinegar (and into Turkell’s almost ardent obsession with the condiment). Tangy, pungent, and acidic, vinegar can be made from a variety of bases like wine, rice, apple cider, and honey. This storied travelogue uncovers the craftsmanship, history, and lore of vinegar around the world, detailing insights from top producers and including vibrant photographs by the author. Turkell explores tasting notes and step-by-step instructions on making your own, and he includes vinegar-inspired recipes from top chefs like Daniel Boulud, Barbara Lynch, Michael Anthony, April Bloomfield, Massimo Bottura, and Sean Brock. Dishes include Fried Eggs with a Spoonful of Vinegar, Sweet & Sour Peppers, Balsamic Barbecued Ribs, Poulet au Vinaigre, Tomato Tarragon Shrub, and Vinegar Pie.
To celebrate the publication and release, Duna will host a three-course, family-style feast centered on its their in-house vinegars, including a 2013 blood orange vinegar and a 2014 peach and honey vinegar. The fast casual eatery from Nick Balla and Cortney Burns of Bar Tartine fame features a Central European-inspired menu that reimagines traditional foods, making it the ideal venue. Early seatings have sold out, but there are still tickets starting at 8 p.m. — and every 15 minutes afterwards — for walk-ins. Duna is also offering the featured dishes as a la carte options for walk-insThe evening’s menu consists of Hungarian-style smoked potato steam buns, cheese and nut dips, pickles, pork rillettes, and salads to start. Featured vinegars meet with Szeged-style fisherman’s stew, grated egg noodles, and chicken paprikas. Turkell will be present to sign books and answering any vinegar-related questions, such as if it’s better to catch flies with honey than with vinegar, what if the vinegar was made from honey?
Acid Trip Dinner: Travels in the World of Vinegar, Saturday, Sept. 9, 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.. at Duna, 983 Valencia St. $58; duna.kitchen