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OP: Au Pied du Cochon: The Album

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by Martin Picard

Douglas & McIntyre, 2008. Paperback. Very Good.

Martin Picard—along with his contemporaries at Joe Beef, Fred Morin and David McMillan—is giving form to cuisine Quebecoise, drawing from its French roots and employing the use of the hearty, rustic fare of Canada’s indigenous ingredients. The result is a rich, hedonistic experience that irreverently ignores the fine dining trend toward small, elegantly composed plates but absolutely one that respects the ingredients. 

Picard’s first cookbook, Au Pied de Cochon: L’Album (2006), offers recipes from his Montreal restaurant of the same name. Among the recipes you’ll find a foie gras poutine—just one of many utilizations of foie gras in the book. There is a pig’s stomach stuffed with seared pork loin and whelks, braised in a tomato lobster sauce. And the remarkable “duck in a can”—a duck magret quite literally cooked inside a can with buttered cabbage and a balsamic glaze; the can is turned over tableside onto toasted bread and celeriac puree, the final instruction: “Serve, raising a glass to your health and hard work.” 

Many recipes for preserved ingredients, such as pickled venison tongue, maintain a thoughtfulness toward whole animal use.

Anthony Bourdain, in his introduction, recalls being wined and dined at Au Pied de Cochon to the point of bursting. There is no reason to think that his fame would have made the experience exceptional. Do all the chefs of Montreal engage in hospitality with sadistic generosity?

The book was originally published in French in hardcover. Ours is the English paperback edition, published in 2008, in Very Good condition. Very minor shelfwear; the interior is clean and unmarked. Illustrations by Tom Tassel and photography of the restaurant and staff make every page all the more lively.

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