New cookbook draws modern cooking closer to the flame

Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:13am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For archeologist and food historian Paula Marcoux, the business of cooking begins as it did almost two million years ago: with a fire and a stick.

From fish and meat to breads and vegetables, the 100-odd recipes in Marcoux's first book, "Cooking with Fire," serve as a how-to guide to often ancient and sometimes forgotten culinary techniques.

"The flavors are just so much better," said Marcoux, who instructs readers in the use of sticks, spits, skewers and grills as well as masonry ovens and coal beds.

"Even if it seems you're just boiling something, there's a lot more that enters into the food when you're cooking with fire," she said.

The 53-year-old, who lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts, spoke about reclaiming the bygone pleasures of gathering around the hearth, whether it is to bake bread in a wood-fired oven, slow roast a pork loin on a homemade spit, or toast cheese in an urban fireplace.

  Q: Why did you write this book?

A: (Fire) is the basic element that cooked all our food until recently, and it's gone away so quickly. I'm hoping to give people confidence to try things out.   Continued...

Paula Marcoux smiles in Plymouth, Massachusetts in this August 2013 picture provided by Keller+Keller.  REUTERS/Keller+Keller/Handout via Reuters