Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cape Cod Chef's Table: A Taste of the Cape

"All of this is to say that today you can find more and more people living off the land and making a living with what is available to them on Cape Cod. And this is helping Cape Cod become a food destination as well as a popular tourist spot."
--John F. Carafoli (p.xiv)

This afternoon, I'll be traveling to Provincetown, on Cape Cod, to spend several days as part of a media trip sponsored by the exploring Provincetown Tourism Office. I'll be dining at a number of restaurants, as well as checking out bakeries, food markets, wine shops and more. Plus, I will be immersed in historical explorations, a whale watch and other tourist activities. It seems appropriate then that today I should review a new cookbook which concentrates on Cape Cod.

I am impressed with Cape Cod's Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from Buzzards Bay to Provincetown by John F. Carafoli (Lyons Press, June 2013, $24.95). This is a hardcover book of 192 pages, which is part cookbook and part travel guide to the 70-mile long Cape Cod peninsula. John Carafoli is a food stylist, consultant, and food writer who lives in West Barnstable. He also wrote Food Photography and Styling and two children’s cookbooks, Look Who’s Cooking and The Cookie Cookbook.

"You can now find Italian, Brazilian, Mexican, and French restaurants, but there is always that touch of Cape Cod cultural DNA in each restaurant, fresh and local."
--John F. Carafoli (p.xiv

The book is broken down into three main sections: Upper Cape, Mid Cape and Lower Cape. Each section consists of 12-15 listings, mainly restaurants though there are also listings for inns, farms, a tea shop, a winery and even a food truck. This is but a representative sampling, including several iconic locations, of what can be found on the Cape. Each of the listings provides some basic information and stories (such as their history) about these establishments. Each listing also includes one or two recipes from each of those places.

You will find lots of seafood restaurants mentioned but there is plenty of diversity, and you will also find Mexican, Brazilian, French and other restaurants. The recipes range from cocktails to lobster rolls, pizza to ice cream, clam chowder to English toffee. Many of the recipes even come with wine suggestions, a great idea, and some of their suggestions are intriguing. Australian Semillon, Italian Ribola Gialla, Italian Dolcetto, Portuguese Vinho Verde. Most of the recipes seem relatively easy to moderate in complexity and my favorite may be the Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Cranberry's Restaurant & Pub.

Besides these listings, there are numerous other articles spread out through the book, detailing more about the food life on the Cape, including: How to Eat a Lobster, Bourne Scallop Festival, All About Oysters, Cranberry Bog Harvest, Cape Cod Cottage Industries (from jams to potato chips), Clambakes, Food From the Sea (fishermen), and The Farmers Who Feed Us. These interesting items add to the reader's comprehension of the culture of Cape Cod and are a nice addition to the rest of the book.

The photography in the book, done by Francine Zaslow, is beautiful and compelling, and you will find a photograph on nearly every page. Not only will you find alluring photos of the various recipes, but you will also find the people and places of the Cape. Very well done.

Overall, this is an impressive and fascinating glimpse into the food world of Cape Cod, an excellent cookbook and travel guide. It has made me even more eager to journal to Provincetown. Check out this book and I bet it will intrigue you to make a journey to Cape Cod this summer. Or at least cook a few recipes that will remind you of the Cape.


Anonymous said...

I also love this book. Its so vivid and inviting like any delucious meal or cozyvrestaurant should be. I live on th he eest coast and it makes me feel like my oen private vacation ecperience. Yummy and coastal.

Chloe Romano said...

I've heard such wonderful things about Cape Cod dining . I'll be traveling to the area next month and I can't wait to try everything. The food is definitely one of the things that drew me to Cape Cod. I'll have to take a look at the book before I go so I have a good idea what to expect and try.