In the introduction to The Cape Cod Table, Lora Brody evokes Cape Cod with such elegant, sensuous prose that you almost smell the sea air and feel salt spray against your face. Dispelling the myth that Cape Cod is ONLY about clams shacks, Brody travels the terrain known by the natives, sharing its treasures and resources, its surprising variety. Each of the food sections has an introduction to share this diversity and each recipe has its own introduction, often a story about a friend or the author's own discovery of a bakery or restaurant. You will read this book even as you discover the recipes.
The recipes are as meticulous and elegantly written as Brody's prose. Of course there are clam and cranberry recipes, dishes that feature the famous Wellfleet oysters. You will find recipes for Fried Clams and Clam Fritters, for Boiled Lobster and Lobster Rolls, the entire spectacle of an Outdoor Clambake. With a nod to lazy days spent at the beach, she has included Lazy Man's Clambake for a stovetop clambake that will be successful in the city as a remembrance of sand and sun-filled days. Brody has not forgotten our love for beach fare even as she explores other tastes from the beloved island. You will find recipes for Mussels Three ways, Clam Chowder Cape Cod Style, Oyster Stew. But there is also the inheritance from the Portuguese fishermen who immigrated to Provincetown and you will find Portuguese Muffins ( like an airy English-muffin) or Strawberries and Cream French Toast made with Portuguese bread for breakfast, Kale Soup or Bacalhau - Portuguese Salt Cod for later in the day.
Cape Cod is known for its native cranberries, for its beach plums, and Brody offers creative twists on their use in recipes such as a Cranberry Martini (libations included, of course), in a Cranberry-Pear Linzertorte, a Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish. From the famous Green Briar Jam Kitchen she has gotten recipes for Strawberry Jam and Spiced Pear Jam. From the Cottage Street Bakery you'll find those muffins called Dirt Bombs.
The Cape Cod Table is a satisfying book in all ways. The photography of food and island shots by Susie Cushner is exceptional, the formatting of the book, executed by The Harvard Common Press, is as simple and elegant as its other elements. The Cape Cod Table speaks well for its island.