Balancing the trinity of life 

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Book Review: The Ski House Cookbook: Warm Winter Dishes for Cold Weather Fun

by Tina Anderson and Sarah Pinneo

Published by Clarkson Potter, 2007. 192 pages.

Reviewed by G.D. Maxwell

Good skiing, good food and good drink. Somewhere along the way, that trinity has more or less replaced sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll as my most frequently enjoyed pastimes.

Judging from the spirit of The Ski House Cookbook, authors Tina Anderson and Sarah Pinneo would agree. The only thing that further complements skiing, good food and good drink are good friends. The problem most people have is balancing all those elements in such a way that one of them — good food — doesn’t get squeezed out by the others and wind up as a mad scramble to make dinner reservations.

While there’s nothing tragic about dinner out, there is a certain warmth and charm, a joie de vivre surrounding the rituals of dinner in. The trick is to get a jump on it so your precious après time isn’t reduced to a frantic blur of shopping, preparation and cooking instead of hot tubbing, imbibing and snacking.

That — the delicate balance of skiing, eating and drinking with friends — is the organizing principle behind The Ski House Cookbook. Tina and Sarah want to make the whole skiing and eating thing as easy and pleasurable as possible. Their book is more than a collection of simple, delicious recipes. It’s a primer on how to organize your slopeside cabin or even your weekly ski trip so that you’ll eat well without spending an undue amount of time in the kitchen… or in the bar waiting for your table.

Key to that organization is reigniting your love affair with slow cooking. Not the trendy Slow Food slow cooking but the get-close-and-personal with your old crockpot kind of slow cooking. Nothing, they say, beats falling into the cabin after a day of skiing and smelling a pot full of Brisket with Sweet Mustard Sauce or Spicy Pulled Pork that’s been cooking since you left around the time the lifts started turning.

They’ve used a skiing theme to organize their 125 or so recipes into green dots, blue squares and black diamonds, based on time and effort required as opposed to cooking skills needed. In fact, none of these recipes seem to call for more than casual proficiency in the kitchen.

Furthering the effort to make good eating and good skiing coexist, the authors offer up a couple of tempting breakfast recipes that go together the night before and pop in the oven while people are figuring out where they left their long underwear or shaking themselves awake with coffee. Their ‘Twas the night before French toast, for example, takes about 30 minutes in the oven and sounds delicious enough to make even a breakfast hater fall out of bed drooling.

If you ski, if you eat, or if you know people who do, this is one of those cookbooks that might actually get used instead of just read and drooled on.

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