First, Catch (Kobo eBook)
“Eagle, a chef and food writer, uses a nine-dish lunch as the occasion to ruminate about cooking, and life” (New York Times Book Review).
First, Catch is a cookbook without recipes, an invitation to journey through the digressive mind of a chef at work, and a hymn to a singular nine-dish festive spring lunch. In Eagle’s kitchen, open shelves reveal colorful jars of vegetables pickling over the course of months, and a soffritto of onions, celery, and carrots cook slowly under a watchful gaze in a skillet heavy enough to double as a murder weapon. Eagle has both the sharp eye of a food scientist as he tries to identify the seventeen unique steps of boiling water, as well as of that of a roving food historian as he ponders what the spice silphium tasted like to the Romans, who over-ate it to worldwide extinction. He is a tour guide to the world of ingredients, a culinary explorer, and thoughtful commentator on the ways immigration, technology, and fashion has changed the way we eat. He is also a food philosopher, asking the question: at what stage does cooking begin? Is it when we begin to apply heat or acid to ingredients? Is it when we gather and arrange what we will cook—and perhaps start to salivate? Or does it start even earlier, in the wandering late-morning thought, “What should I eat for lunch?”
Irreverent and charming, yet also illuminating and brilliantly researched, First, Catch encourages us to slow down and focus on what it means to cook. With this astonishing and beautiful book, Thom Eagle joins the ranks of great food writers like M.F.K. Fisher, Alice Waters, and Samin Nosrat in offering us inspiration to savor, both in and out of the kitchen.
Winner of the Fortnum and Mason’s Debut Food Book Award
Shortlisted for the 2018 Andre Simon Food & Drink Book of the Year
BBC Radio 4 Food Programme Best Foodbooks of 2018
Times Best Food Books of 2018
Financial Times Summer Food Books of 2018
“A contemplation of cooking and eating, a return to the great tradition of food writing inspired by M.F.K. Fisher’s The Gastronomical Me . . . Eagle writes with a wit and sharpness that can turn a chapter on fermenting pickles into a riff on death and decay while still making it seem like something you would like to put in your mouth.” —Mark Haskell Smith, Los Angeles Times
“In two dozen short chapters linked like little sausages, he serves up a bounty of fresh, often tart opinions about food and cooking . . . Eagle is a natural teacher; his enthusiasm and broad view of food preparation is both instructive and inspiring . . . Eagle’s prose, while conversational in tone, is as crafted and layered as his cuisine. Never bland, it is also brightly seasoned with strong opinions . . . Rare among food writing, this book is bound to change the way you think about your next meal.” —Heller McAlpin, Christian Science Monitor