I recently read a Macleans article about chef Martin Picard and his restaurant, Au Pied de Cochon and decided I must get Picard's cookbook, described as "part scrapbook, part manifesto," for Todd. Why? Because Todd loves good food, enjoys cooking (and is good at it), and has always shown an interest in the culture of my home province, Quebec.
The cookbook, Au Pied de Cochon - The Album, comes with an entertaining and inspiring DVD, though I suggest you avoid viewing it if you're a vegetarian. (Indeed, if you are not fond of meat, it's best to stop reading this blog entry immediately and go back to your previous activity.) While I do like pork and can stomach almost all parts of a pig (I grew up with Cantonese food, after all), I am in the habit of reading all food labels and buy my kids veggie hot dogs. So I am simultaneously fascinated and horrified by Picard's work, which, according to the book's introduction, is "an ode to all things porky, ducky, fatty, and wonderful."
I am pleased Todd likes his gift but I do fear he might actually cook a recipe from it for the family one day. For me, there is a voyeuristic appeal to the book: "Wow, so that's what people who don't care about their arteries like to eat!" I've never been able to bring myself to try poutine, but Picard's poutine with slabs of foie gras covering it is so over the top (in a literal sense) that I'll have to go to his restaurant one day to see for myself. Well, maybe I'll opt for one of the stupendous seafood platters instead. To my Montreal cousins: if any of you ever visit this place (it's at 536 Duluth E.), please send me a review!