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« Just right: Memphis and the World Barbecue Championships, Part II | Main | Bitty Spears: El Bulli's deconstructed asparagus »

June 04, 2006

Contraband cookbook: El Bulli: 1994-1997

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This is going to sound odd, but this particular cookbook can't legally be sold in North America.  It's a complicated situation, but the crux of the matter is that Harper Collins' Ecco imprint, which owns the English language rights to the El Bulli cookbooks in North America, hasn't yet gotten around to publishing El Bulli: 1994-1997 on this side of the Atlantic.

So how do I own a copy?  I bought it in Europe, of course.  Sort of.  I could tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you.

I wish I could say I had some sympathy for Ecco, but, quite frankly, they do a miserable job as El Bulli's North American publisher.  Currently, the only English-language El Bulli cookbook available to North American consumers is El Bulli: 1998-2002.  This is the edition from which I've prepared all the El Bulli dishes I've made so far.  Now consider the fact that there are already five published El Bulli volumes covering the years from 1983 until 2005, though only two of those are available in English.  Translate and publish them already!

I now own both, and I'm thrilled to say that the 1994-1997 volume is every bit as wondrous as its 1998-2002 counterpart.  I often grab the book, flip it open to a random page, and find a dish that provides equal parts inspiration and intimidation.  The mid-90s were a period of tremendous evolution at El Bulli: these four years witnessed not only the dawn of foams and the integration of the sweet and the savoury, but also the first inklings of "new pastas" (a process which would lead, eventually, to creations like liquid pea ravioli), all of which became hallmarks of El Bulli's singular style.

During this time, deconstruction also appeared at El Bulli, giving birth to a dish so intriguing it's the first preparation I made from this book, as well as the subject of our next post....

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Comments

Michelle

Sneaky! You're "mean."
...I'll be waiting...

Gourmet

Rob!!!
You've got My book!!! :)
I love this edition and the photos are very beautiful..
;-)
Bravo!!!
See you soon in italy???

Tania

Hi,
Where are you from? Is it a secret? :)

Thank you
Tania

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