Food Lab_978-0-393-08108-4_frame

I typically get sent what must be hundreds of pounds of cookbooks in the fall and so have a fair idea of the landscape of new books. Owing to an uncommon amount of travel, I haven’t had the opportunity this year. But I was sent one book to blurb (“say nice things about”) that goes above and beyond any cookbook I’ve seen since Nathan Myrhvold and company’s Modernist Cuisine. That book is The Food Lab, by Kenji López-Alt, Managing Culinary Director of Serious Eats, named for his cooking column there. That column first appeared in 2009. Over the next half-decade, this uber food geek tackled all kinds of cooking experiments to determine the very best way to cook, say, eggs. Kenji has combined knowledge gleaned over half a decade, reshaping it and putting all this knowledge, all this work, Read On »

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oysters on table

  Last week, I asked readers what kind of cookbook they’d most like to see written. The responses were all great, but I wanted to write about what was the most requested kind of book. It’s important because it’s exactly what my Little, Brown editor talked about (I once forgot to capitalize the publisher’s name and was asked how I could be so racially insensitive). Talk we did over the above oysters at Jeffrey’s Grocery in the West Village. Please note the humongous and delicious Island Creek oysters, which I recently wrote about here. Suggestions here ranged from lunches to Southern cooking to Rustbelt cooking to spices. Two big topics were cooking for one or two people, which I like, especially when I’m in Manhattan in a tiny apartment. The other was interest in sous vide cooking in the Read On »

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IMG_2732

  This is my new favorite cookbook. I’ve long made a fuss about not liking cookbooks, because I don’t. Cookbooks are too often about recipes, and that’s not what cooking is about. I tried to write an anti-cookbook, Ratio, that intended to help the home cook rely on proportions and technique rather than recipes. It had a ton of recipes in it anyway (editor request). I admired books with a genuine voice, David Lebovitz‘s books, Judi Rodgers’s Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Well-written cookbooks. I didn’t dislike recipes per se. I still rely on a page torn from Saveur with a fabulous falafel recipe—too many ingredients to remember, let alone their proportions. I have to look at my own recipe for fried chicken to make the seasoned flour (included in the above book above, happily). So what is Read On »

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cook-books-@1020

  I get sent a lot of cookbooks throughout the year, some from publishers looking for blurbs, others just wanting me to know a book has been published. Recently I reviewed some select books out this season for the Wall Street Journal (it will be online for everyone here after a couple weeks). One of those books, which I highly recommend for baking, is Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi. But it is not featured above because I am giving it to someone who can actually bake. What is the story about the five books above? As I said, I get a lot of books throughout the year, more than I actually have room for in the downstairs of our house. Cookbook space is now severely rationed. After much difficult thought, the above books are the ones I Read On »

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Take a look at these ten cookbooks made for little chefs, via Independent UK.

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