Homemade pizza is one of the larger letdowns of cooking. Even if you follow the directions for the crust perfectly, spend $30 on artisanal cheeses, and make your own tomato sauce, the process never seems worth the bother when you can order-in a pizza twice as good.

I have made some horrendous pizzas in my day, starting when I was around 7, and discovered that I could take an English muffin, cover it with ketchup and dried oregano, top it with a slice of American cheese, and stick it in the oven for a few minutes. (Seriously, God bless my father for eating these monstrosities without visibly gagging. He always waited until I left the room, proud as punch, before he… More…

There are endless ways to die with this cookbook — and so much animal fat that I expected each recipe to come with a doctor’s warning. You don’t even have to be particularly accomplished to do it; all levels of difficulty are represented. Sure, I could have cured my own pork belly, but damn it, my “vacuum-pack machine” is at the cleaners. I could have also tried to make my own terrine, which would include me deboning and curing a duck. I wanted something chic and simple, so that when I made my big reveal at my dinner party, I could brush off the oohs and ahhs with an easy, “Oh, this is nothing,” and not be tempted to curl under the table to nap while everyone else ate.

So instead of haunting eBay for a vacuum-pack machine or risking life and limb to debone anything, I turned to the… More…