Elisabeth Prueitt likes to tinker. As co-creator of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery, the new Tartine Manufactory, and its forthcoming branch in Los Angeles, the award-winning pastry chef is also the author of two books. The second, Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook hits bookstores next week.
Though the James Beard Award-winner built her career on wheat flour and its many uses, Prueitt discovered she had a gluten intolerance several years ago. In her new book she writes, “Had my intolerance been identified today, I may very well have abandoned wheat early on. But I found an imperfect way to cope with it — mastering pastry recipes one minuscule bite at a time. It’s said that limitations often become the best teachers... I was forced to cultivate an acute awareness of how the slightest shift in technique or ingredient altered a pastry’s outcome.” She’s now applied this skill in developing new recipes using non-wheat flours: Tartine All Day contains 46 gluten-free recipes. But that doesn’t mean it’s a book for special diets. It’s also not a book necessarily tied to any one restaurant.
“This isn’t a Manufactory book,” Prueitt says, noting that a book about Tartine’s newest concept will likely come in the next couple of years. “But I was doing research for the Manufactory’s menu while I was writing this book, so that’s why it’s a cookbook for breakfast and lunch and snacking and dinner,” she says. “This is a book about how I am thinking today, how we like to eat right now.”
Prueitt, her husband, the baker Chad Robertson, and their daughter tend to eat mostly wheat-free these days, with one key exception: “I can eat all of Chad’s bread, or other bread made like it,” she says. Thanks to its natural leavening, slow fermentation, and absence of additives, artisanal bread — like the kind Robertson makes — tends to be easier on the digestive tract.
That bread becomes the basis for a lot of recipes, including savory puddings, sandwiches, salads, and toasts. The book also contains recipes for snacks, dumplings, pancakes, roasts, cakes, and cookies. Prueitt explains in the intro that she was inspired to format the recipes so that the list of ingredients is to the left of the instructions, allowing the cook to reference the two sources side-by-side instead of having to look up or flip the page back while in the midst of cooking.
A mother, partner, and business owner, Prueitt is quick to acknowledge that she doesn’t always have time to cook a full meal at home. “Sometimes I’ll grab a bunch of Chad’s bread dough, bring that home, and make pizza for dinner,” Prueitt says, noting that her life is just as messy as everyone else’s.
“Cooking is work,” she writes in the book’s introduction. “Work in that it requires forethought, a modicum of skill, and time. Work in that you must use your hands, stand on your feet, wash the dishes...” But, she continues, there’s a reward. “Your simple hope is that while sitting around the table to share the fruits of your labors, the effort fades to memory,” Prueitt writes. “Or better yet, the effort becomes part of a meal’s pleasure, and that the experience of transforming ingredients into a sum greater than their parts connects you to the food in a far more profound way than any recipe lets on.”
Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook, the first book from Lorena Jones Books, is available for pre-order now.