Ms.-Wheelbarrows-Practical_with-frameUpdate: Cathy has just won the IACP award for Single Subject. See, I told you it was good.

Stop reading this and go order this book. Did you? I mean it. All six of you.

Cathy Barrow, a.k.a. Mrs. Wheelbarrow, was half of the duo that started #Charcutepalooza in 2011. I don’t remember how I got involved, but I’m pretty sure it was through Sean Timberlake of Punk Domestics. As one of our fearless leaders every month Cathy would post our challenge on her blog. These posts were always instructive and had a spirit of cheerleading us on to try some “scary” things, like hanging meat. The challenge grew, prizes were donated and over 300 bloggers joined in. I think around 30 of us made it through all 12 months. Cathy was a great help during that year.

Little did I know that she was also a writer for the New York Times, Washington Post and others, often about canning and preserving. Cathy’s too modest to brag about such things and I don’t always Google everyone I meet. The more I got to know, the more we found in common. Her blog posts have often inspired and enabled me to make things that have been on my cooking bucket list for a long time, like croissant dough. I recently bought canelle molds because of her.

So, her book. It’s really pretty and such a great all around reference for several subjects. Cathy makes everything straightforward and approachable for the novice or more experienced cook. One of the great things about the book though is the bonus recipes. So, you’ve made way too much jam? Make rugelach. You’ve got extra duck fat from making confit? Make a crust with duck fat. And if you make one, I guarantee it won’t be the last one. I’ve made two already. This crust rocks and is justification alone to buy this book. The crust is just amazing. It’s flaky and crispy and layered. It holds up after refrigeration even.

During #Charcutepalooza I got stuck on making Pancetta. It’s always in the house, along with Guanciale. I never did get around to making bacon because I feel so hard in love with Pancetta. This book got me out of my rut with Maple-Bourbon Bacon. OMG. Delicious! And it only takes 7 days. I’ve also got Cathy’s recipe of Pancetta Tesa hanging and a Guanciale curing in the fridge.

The book covers preserving and canning, charcuterie and cheesemaking. Plus recipes to use the items you’ve made. 

I’m excited to try more recipes in this book. Do check it out.

The duck fat crust!

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