Maria Nicolau is a professional and deeply vocational cook. For more than twenty years she has worked in many restaurants in Catalonia, Spain and France. She currently lives in Vilanova de Sau, Osona, where she runs the restaurant El Ferrer de Tall, devoted to Catalan cuisine. Maria Nicolau speaks on several radio programs, and appears weekly on TV. Above all, Maria is an enthusiast: she is as passionate about cooking as she is about life itself.
“We are so lazy when cooking dinner that, with enough sugar, we’d be open to eat dog’s poo, find it tasty, and convince everyone else that it is, indeed, good. Cook! or die.”
Cooking is not (just) following a recipe, a list of ingredients or meticulously planning the shopping list. Cooking is what happens at the margins of a recipe: it’s about improvising, taking risks, expressing who you are, making choices. Cooking is freedom.
Enthusiastic and non-conformist, Maria Nicolau opens the door to a path of a rich, sustainable, passionate and, above all, coherent cuisine. Cooking explained through history and science, nature and technology, collective memory and the intimate experience. Why is the pot the first invention of civilization? Why do cakes rise in the oven? Why do we only buy salmon and hake, when the Mediterranean is full of other fish varieties? Maria Nicolau offers us much more than recipes: she dares us to drop the “I-have-no-time” syndrome and urges us to take an honest look at ourselves in the mirror and stare at the nonsense of a society that eats but does not cook.
With 20,000 copies sold in Catalan, becoming most probably the most sold book this 2022, COOK! OR DIE is not your regular cookbook but a braid of essay, memoir, and a culinary exploration. It is also a manifesto to ditch the delivery, the take away way of life to rediscover our kitchens and the powerful joy of cooking.