Monday, March 05, 2012

Cook Wild - Getting Creative with Food and Fire - Book Review

Food and Fire by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi

Cook Wild: Year-Round Cooking On An Open Fire (an outdoor cookbook) by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi is certainly one of the most interesting cookbooks I've seen. As a writer and reviewer, I get book copies pretty often. They are all unique in various wasy, but it's seldom that I get one that kind of needs a class of its own. Cook Wild falls in that category.

This outdoor cookbook is billed as "year-round cooking on an open fire," and they aren't just kidding. Susanne offers lots of interesting recipes using mostly all natural outdoor ingredients with a wide range of cooking techniques, going way beyond just hot dogs on a stick or Dutch ovens in a campfire.

Tomato Sauce From a Barrel Outdoors Over Fire

Now perhaps you go out in your yard and make your large batch tomato sauce in a barrel. I do not. In fact, it never crossed my mind to do so. It does sound like an interesting project, especially if home canning with family and friends.

Outdoor canned tomatoes would, or course, be more advanced. I'd say that would be the most complex recipe in the book - or the one hardest to pull off for the average person. Like anything else, I'm sure it would be easy after doing it a couple of times and getting it down.

You'd Be Surprised At All The Foods You Can Cook Outdoors Over a Fire

Cook Wild works for all skill levels, so if you're not up to fire cooking and canning tomatoes outdoors, don't worry. Suzanne has recipes and projects that work for everyone from Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts at Scout camp to gourmet campers tired of the same old camp food all the time.

Outdoor Dutch Oven Recipes

You'll find recipes that work great in Dutch ovens. Those caught my eye, since I taught outdoor cooking to Boy Scouts in the area and worked with them on several Dutch Oven recipes. Those really are easy to make, and they are yummy. I'd suggest trying out Susanne's Cowboy Beans.

Some of the techniques are classic like that while others are more unique like cooking over a straw bed and using clay cooking techniques over fire. Well, clay goes back eons, but I don't see much of that done these days. The clay cooking is similar to the ceramic grilling today like you see on the Big Green Egg, but these recipes are open fire. The food turns out great, and it's a fun skill to pick up if you like cooking outdoors.

Yes - You Can Do Bread Outdoors Over a Camp Fire

I like that Open Fire covers breads. No carb free for me. I do love bread. Susanne has several creative ways to get nice bread outdoors. I could easily make a whole meal off bread, but I try hard not to do that.

There are 100 recipes in Cook Wild, so whether you are looking for breads, meats, vegetables, or dessert, there's a little of everything and all creative and fun.

About the Author

Susanne Fischer-Rizzi is an outdoorswoman who teaches in Germany. She focuses on medicinal plants, aromatherapy, and, of course, cooking outdoors. She conducts wilderness seminars which I think would be grand fun if I lived closer.

Susanne has published twelve books, but only three of those have been released written in English, including Cook Wild which is with Frances Lincoln Publishers out of the United Kingdom. I can't read the original, but the translation works. I did not guess the book originally was in another language.

The photos in this cookbook are really great. The photographers are Sabine Mader and Ulrike Schmid. I snapped a few pages on my porch with my point and shoot (as you can see). The book does have a lot of photos which help in understanding the different techniques and outdoor dishes.

I would say this is a great outdoor cookbook for anyone really serious about going beyond the backyard grill. You won't find burgers on grates over gas here. It's a fire book.

I'd recommend Cook Wild for Scouts, RVers, campers, and for anyone who can have an open fire in the yard. Fortunately, I can and have a fire ring right off my side porch. I really appreciate having some cool new ideas and recipes for expanding our menus outdoors. Wait until the boys get home for the summer. We're going to be rocking the fire pit.

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