Eat Well AND Eliminate Irksome Leaf Piles with the Le Pigeon Cookbook

While positive press continues to swarm the new Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird cookbook, I had yet to check it out, so it was nice to combine my first browse with a four-course meal by Le Pigeon chef Gabriel Rucker, Multnomah Athletic Club executive chef Philippe Boulot, and Boulot’s kitchen crew at the MAC this weekend.


The Friday night feast showcased four impressive recipes from the book, and equally or perhaps even more impressively, Gabe inscribed each cookbook with the admonition to “Have a blast in the kitchen, that’s how I do it,” then drew a pigeon underneath. I used to teach kindergarten, and I would have given this illustration an A+, although to be fair, that’s the only drawing grade you ever give in kindergarten.


Over the course of the evening, we all dined on hamachi with cured foie gras, truffles and mandarins;


Rabbit in a pig blanket with miniature mustard greens quiche;


Short rib with scallop and succotash;


And a simple, ideal-for-autumn apple cheddar crostata with brown butter ice cream and cider caramel sauce, all of which can be found in the book, of course.


Although my iPhone isn’t doing them justice, the photos in this book are exquisite, and that’s because they were taken by the one and only David L. Reamer.


It’s up in the air as to whether I’ll sully the pages of this tome with eel consommé or radish pesto anytime soon, because the dishwasher is broken and when I calculate the probability of me expending the time, ingredients cost, and dishwashing energy to make anything other than a sandwich until we get a new dishwasher, the calculator does this:


which I take to mean I should just book a seat at Le Pigeon instead. That takes five minutes and doesn’t require cleaning elk tongue stroganoff out of the kitchen sink trap.

However, this book is gorgeous, beautifully written by Meredith Erickson, punctuated by entertaining anecdotes, and full of dessert recipes and wine insights by co-authors Lauren and Andrew Fortgang (Le Pigeon’s pastry chef and sommelier/GM, respectively), so dishwasher or no, I can’t imagine any ambitious home cook or cookbookphile who wouldn’t want to find one under the tree. The Christmas tree, to clarify, not just any old tree, although that might be an excellent way to get someone to rake up all the leaves in your yard in a hurry—just tell them that this book is somewhere under the heap. There, I’ve just solved your leaf pile woes and your Christmas shopping agonies in one fell swoop. You can thank me by inviting me over and cooking this:


because goodness knows I won’t. I’m too busy making sandwiches and researching new dishwashers.

If you’d like to buy a copy or 10, depending on how bad the leaf piles in your gardens are after last night’s howling gales, here is a link to Powell’s Books. I’m not sure those copies come with a pigeon hand-drawn in red Sharpie, but I would imagine that if you take yours to Le Pigeon, Gabe will make it happen. Don’t quote me on that though, and whatever you do, please don’t ask him to draw a pigeon for you while he’s busy cooking beef cheek bourguignon for me. A girl can only survive on sandwiches for so long.