Friday, October 17, 2008
Getting Tired Of Waiting: The Alinea Book
The Alinea Book arrives in it's own harness.
I'd like to believe that I'm a patient man.
Back in the spring, the announcement was made that Grant Achatz would be releasing a cookbook featuring the exact recipes of the food he prepares at Alinea. Pre-order now for fifty bucks and you'll get exclusive access to the website, exclusive recipes and a signed edition of the Alinea Cookbook. How could I say no?
Fast forward to September 2nd and Michael Ruhlman is showing off pictures of his copy of the Alinea Cookbook on his blog. After months of remaining dormant, suddenly, the chase was on. Anticipation exploded.
But False Start. The pics on his blogs is Ruhlman's preview copy (he did write the foreword, afterall). He's just teasing us and making us feel sorry for ourselves. What's going on here? There's no word. Where's my copy???
Then on September 20th, I receive an email from Nick Kokonas updating us on the status of the book: the books have arrived in the United States, they need to be sent to Chicago so that Grant and everyone else can sign each of our copies, re-shrink wrap them and then ship them to us by October 15th, the book's official release date.
Of course, while I'm in Albuquerque, I find copies for sale on the shelves at Border's. And that was the first weekend in October.
Amazon has the book available at the same time for the discounted price of $31.50!
The well-dressed wear a jacket.
Really, I want to know the secrets of Alinea. I want to see how it's done. I want to be kissed by God. And while I forked out fifty bucks six months ago, I'm still waiting for my copy while everyone and their mother can go to the local bookshop and pick up their own copy. Dammit.
I want to call. I want to complain. I don't because I realize it's not going to do any good. I just want to see the book in my hands. To hold it. To caress it. To lay it over my forehead while I sleep and allow osmosis to do its' thing. I remind myself that things are probably crazy busy for them. They've got how many thousands of books to sign? I'll be patient. I'm a man. I understand.
On October 10th, I receive another email that tells me my copy shipped the day before. Not much longer now and I alert my staff at The Spro to be on the lookout for this VIP - Very Important Package.
The entire week rolls by and nothing. No box. No envelope. No nothing. WTF??? Where's my book? I leave for Montreal on Monday, am I just born to suffer?
Finally, the last straw comes when I head to Woodberry tonight to take care of a few details before the market tomorrow. Isaiah excitedly shows me the copy he bought at Barnes & Noble and that Spike (who also ordered around the same time I did) got his copy in the mail. Huh???
I can't contain myself any longer.
I spent a couple of moments, ranting and raving about my book (and lack thereof). Everyone and their mother already HAS their copy - everyone, except me. I want to Karate Chop something. Can somebody hand me a butter knife so I can stick it in my neck already? Isaiah pulls it down to show me. For a brief moment, I don't want to look at it. I am the petulant child. I want to look at my own copy, not someone else's.
But I can't resist. I open the book and it's gorgeous. It's so thick and chock full of information. I leaf through it but the prep kitchen at Woodberry is a madhouse and I can't focus. This book is so interesting that it demands my full attention. I gingerly place the book back on its' perch.
A signed edition.
By the time I get home, I notice that there's a white box sitting by the doorway. What is that? Could it be? Oh, Thank God, it is! My copy of the Alinea Cookbook has been waiting at my house the whole day!
I tear into it and immediately notice the handsome slipjacket that my copy rests in. It's not a feature of the store bought books and already I'm one ahead of everyone and their mother. Plus, mine is signed. Lovely.
I peruse the book more intently and notice that it truly is gorgeous. It's a manual on how to recreate the actual Alinea recipes. In all their difficult glory. I notice several dishes that I ate during my visit to Alinea and I read eagerly. Honestly, it's too much to take it. I need more time. I need to take it in doses and really get into the gist of the material.
One detail about the book warms my heart: the equipment list. It's a list of some of the specialized equipment that they use at Alinea and equipment that will be necessary to finish the recipes exactly. I'm happy to already have a vacuum sealer, immersion circulator and AntiGriddle. Now, if I can only get the Volcano and PacoJet...