Here's A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories by Seattle chef Renee Erickson (The Whale Wins, Boat Street Café, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Barnacle), and if there is a better looking new cookbook out this fall, I haven't seen it. Page after page of jewel-like Pacific Northwest cuisine is accompanied by perfect, aspirational images of beach cookouts, cozy winter meals by the fireplace, and autumn meals at long picnic tables dotted with candles and bottles of Calvados. Watch your back, Ina Garten: Renee Erickson has come out to play, and she's a tremendously successful restaurateur, to boot.
The book's recipes are split into menus, and those menus are grouped by season. Man, do I love a cookbook with menus, especially when those menus are so tempting: Do I want to cook a Lamb and Rosé dinner in mid-summer, outdoors? Yes, I do. Do I want to make a sophisticated but simple winter brunch with scones and strata and a rustic cured salmon? Obviously. Do I want to prepare a fall feast based on the foods of Normandy, with cider-steamed mussels and braised cabbage and a French apple cake? I didn't before, but I'm dying to now.
Erickson's book is a move into the national-level chef cookbook market for Seattle-based publisher Sasquatch, who have done chef books in the past but will likely get their (very pretty) product in front of many more eyeballs with this title. And man, did they kill it: Triple toned text in shades of teal, lovely illustrations by Jeffry Mitchell, and the aforementioned photography by Jim Henkens all come together in a book that simultaneously reads as comfortingly old fashioned and invigoratingly modern.
Co-authored by Jess Thomson, A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories is out today from Sasquatch (order on Amazon). Your move, Contessa.
This preview of Renee Erickson's new cookbook is a companion piece to an interview with Erickson on Eater Seattle. Do go take a look.