Book Review: The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine by Steven Rinella


51npxrbdnhl-_sx321_bo1204203200_What happens when you want to cook a meal from a 1903 cookbook, only to find that your local supermarket does not carry the bladder of a wild boar?



If you are author and avid outdoorsman Steve Rinella, you embark on a yearlong quest to hunt or scavenge the ingredients you need to complete your feast.


In 2003, Rinella discovered one of the greatest cookbooks ever written, “Le Guide Culinaire” by renowned French chef August Escoffier. Known in his day as the “King of Chefs and Chef of Kings,” Escoffier’s cooking methods revolutionized French high or haute cuisine and used many ingredients that are not readily available to us today, such as sparrow, black bear, eel, pigeon and stingray. Rinella’s quest would take him to the far-flung corners of the country, hunting, fishing and scavenging the ingredients he would need to create a forty-five course feast from Escoffier’s tome that would be served over a three-day period to his family and friends.



“The Scavenger’s Guide” chronicles this adventure in enjoyable, easy-to-read (and sometimes hard to stomach) format. As someone who has never gone hunting, killed an animal, and to be honest, doesn’t even put the worm on the fishing hook, I found this book to be a reminder that we are never far removed from our food source. Although graphic in spots, the book will appeal to outdoorsmen and foodies alike. Rinella only kills what he intends to eat and the book is seasoned with respect for nature, the camaraderie of family and friends (including a vegetarian girlfriend) and the love of good food. A book that will at the same time leave you sated and curious to know what pigeonneaux crapaudine really tastes like.


Bon appetite!