Food Stuff

Illustration By Conrad Garcia

Kitchen stores are loaded with appliances and gadgets offering style and convenience. But can they deliver sensuality and soul? For that, you might turn away from the modern and toward the medieval, as in the fireplace hearth. Santa Cruz resident William Rubel has conveyed his considerable knowledge of hearth cooking in the newly released The Magic of Fire (Ten Speed Press, $40). It is a handsome, well-written and richly illustrated tome, but even if you don’t buy the book, you can learn more at Rubel discusses a variety of age-old cooking methods, including spit roasting, ember baking and hearthside grilling. All of these and more can be done in a living room fireplace or even on a campfire. With ordinary cooking equipment and a sense of adventure, your next dinner party can include the incomparable flavor and soul that only a wood fire can deliver.