Bi Rite Market Cookbook
BI-RITE MARKET’S EAT GOOD FOOD
A Grocer’s Guide to Shopping, Cooking, and Creating Community through Food
by Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough
That’s a mouthful of title and the book has the heft to match. The printed hardcover with no dust jacket adds to the no nonsense, brawny presentation.
The authors start with an essay on “Creating Community Through Food.” Here, they explain their philosophy and family:
buy it with thought
cook it with care
use less wheat & meat
buy local foods
serve just enough
use what is left
Don’t waste it.
That was written in 1914, and as is noted on a store sign, it’s still a go-by.
Bi-Rite has been celebrated lustily for most of the 20 years we’ve lived in San Francisco. I’ve been there a few times, due to its reputation, but Bi-Rite is deep in the Mission District of SF and we live on Russian Hill, about as far from Bi-Rite as possible in the same city. Not convenient; so we’re not part of their community. They describe an exuberant community that one would want to share, perhaps we should have made more of an effort. On the other hand, we’re very much involved with the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and the CUESA community.
They go on to feature the products of each of their departments.
Wine and Beer
For each product — such as Beans, in the Grocery Department, or Spring Onions in Produce — they feature a paragraph or two on:
How to Buy
How to Store
How to Use
They further group by seasons for seasonal products.
At the end of each section, they provide some recipes. For example: Orecchiette with White Beans and Chard, the first meal I cooked from this book. Yum.
Basically, you make olive oil, pancetta. onions and garlic into a flavor base for white beans. Once you stir that stuff together and mash about half the beans you add chard, orecchiette and some pasta water to make a fine pasta dish with greens and a bean sauce. Finish with your favorite olive oil and parmesan. From reading the recipe, I couldn’t imagine quite what it was. But after eating it, I can tell you it was Goooooooood.
The wonderfulness of the Bi-Rite book is that you can be a raw beginner and learn to cook and manage your food and meals with this book. An experienced home cook, on the other hand, will find ideas and methods that they might not have experienced — like that orecchiette deal — and learn new things about cooking.
I love it. Buy it. Make that Orecchiette deal; you won’t be sorry.