The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria

“It is a book about simple cooking.” Words not typically expected at the beginning of anything culinary, published, and even indirectly attributable to Ferran Adrià. But with The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià, the hallowed godfather of avant-garde cuisine introduces us to the other kind of cuisine coming out of elBulli: family meal. Born out of an inspiration to redefine the quality of this workhorse industry pre-service meal (and fueled by Adrià’s own deep-seated love of simple, pure cuisine), The Family Meal collects 31 meals—as in appetizers, mains, and desserts, for two, six, 20, or 75 people—created and consumed by the staff of elBulli. Before getting into the recipes themselves, which are all accompanied by step-by-step photographs, Adrià shares the process behind their creation (from production sheets to tips that link the restaurant’s menu and its family meal, as in “after making cheese water, especially with Parmesan, the leftover fat an be used in a risotto”). And while Adrià and Eugini de Diego (a head chef also responsible for family meal) certainly intend the book to be an inspiration within the industry, the simple nature of the cuisine (“Catalan-style Turkey,” “Coconut Flan,” “Potato Chip Omelet”) and commonplace equipment (the most “complicated” tool being a soda siphon) means home cooks can eat like elBulli’s professional elite, who create carrot clouds and caipirinha cubes on a diet of house-made pasta and—a house favorite—hamburgers.