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The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating, by Fergus Henderson (Introduction by Anthony Bourdain)

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The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating is a certified "foodie" classic. In it, Fergus Henderson - whose London restaurant, St. John, is a world-renowned destination for people who love to eat "on the wild side" - presents the recipes that have marked him out as one of the most innovative, yet traditional, chefs. Here are recipes that hark back to a strong rural tradition of delicious thrift, and that literally represent Henderson's motto, "Nose to Tail Eating" - be they Pig's Trotter Stuffed with Potato, Rabbit Wrapped in Fennel and Bacon, or his signature dish of Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad. For those of a less carnivorous bent, there are also splendid dishes such as Deviled Crab; Smoked Haddock, Mustard, and Saffron; Green Beans, Shallots, Garlic, and Anchovies; and to keep the sweetest tooth happy, there are gloriously satisfying puddings, notably the St. John Eccles Cakes, and a very nearly perfect Chocolate Ice Cream.

An audacious chef whose St. John restaurant in London draws legions of fans, Henderson is a staunch proponent of using virtually the entirety of any plant or animal being served up. Harking back to the days when very little went to waste, he practices what he preaches with such victuals as Rolled Pig's Spleen, Duck's Neck Terrine and Roast Woodcock, which is cooked with innards and head intact, the latter providing a bit of "delicious brains." Henderson recommends the use of a disposable Bic razor for depilating the primary ingredient in Crispy Pig Tails. And then there's Warm Pig's Head, which extreme chef Anthony Bourdain describes in his introduction as "so Goddamn amazing that it borders on religious epiphany." Here, too, are four recipes for lamb's brains, a commodity that Henderson admits is illegal in both the U.S. and England. Home chefs will encounter difficulties in obtaining other ingredients as well. Blood Cake and Fried Eggs calls for a quart of fresh pig's blood, and Soft Roes on Toast requires delicate white sacs of herring semen. Sprinkled among these challenging dishes, however, are more accessible fare: Kid and Fennel, Mussels Grilled on a Barbecue, and Radishes to Accompany Duck or Goose, wherein both the radish and its leaves are added to the bird's jus. Desserts include Treacle Tart and Carragheen Pudding made with red seaweed.

Released March 30, 2004