Archive for the ‘Cookbooks’ Category

Voting for Cake

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

9781623365431_3656aWhat is the perfect election night dessert? NPR’s The Salt suggests it could be American cake, rather than the more expected American pie.

The foodie site focuses on Anne Byrn’s American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-Loved Cakes (Macmillan/Rodale; OverDrive Sample).

Byrn is best known for her Cake Mix Doctor baking books but here turns her attention to the history of American cakes and the way their flavors and ingredients reflect the changes in our history.

The Salt turns that culinary history lesson into a moment to celebrate not just cakes, but their presidential role and the way they reflect our immigrant foundations.

Calling the book a “a coast-to-coast trail of crumbs,” the site says “American Cake takes the reader on a flour-dusted, chronological journey from the era of colonial gingerbread to today’s over-frosted towers. Byrn makes for an expert guide, deftly folding history, literary trivia, Americana and origin stories for 125 iconic cakes, while providing modernized recipes for each of them.”

Byrn says “Cake is an icon of American culture,” and The Salt ends the story with a listing of favorite presidential treats. Bill Clinton loves carrot cake while Andrew Jackson favored Blackberry jam cake (Byrn has recipes for both).

Some presidents liked pie best. Abraham Lincoln enjoyed peach while Barack Obama turns to nectarine (sadly, Byrn follows the current political divide and provides no recipes for pie).

Readers are voting with holds. At every library we checked, all copies are in circulation and reserve lists are present, some topping 3:1 ratios.

Vegging Out

Friday, October 14th, 2016

9780062438485_a1d19  9781615192830_eafd2

Vegan cooking got a huge boost yesterday from NPR’s Fresh Air.

The lauded chefs and owners of Philadelphia’s Vedge and V Street restaurants, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, join host Terry Gross in a lengthy interview that sent both of their books, each named after their eateries, soaring up the Amazon rankings.

Their newest book, V Street: 100 Globe-Hopping Plates on the Cutting Edge of Vegetable Cooking (HarperCollins/Morrow Cookbooks) rose from #1,703 to #12 while their 2013 title, Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking (Workman/The Experiment), rose from #56,116 to #334.

Gross opens the show by introducing the married couple as “two vegan chefs who are working to redefine cooking with vegetables to make the food exciting and satisfying, even for meat eaters.”

Landau says, “I’ve told people for years it’s not really meat that tastes so good. It’s what chefs do to it that tastes so good. And we’re trying to put that same attention into vegetables.”

Asked about the story behind V Street,”inspired by street food from around the world” Jacoby says they have found “really interesting cultural food experiences that complemented the fine dining” they experienced while travelling. The couple has been drawn to Japanese food, finding it the most seasonal, and also to Moroccan dishes.

Landau says “The flavors were just so amazing. It was kind of like Indian food in the sense that they used all these spices, and yet, you never really tasted one spice in the final dish. You tasted this kind of … great symbiosis of all these spices working together to make one final beautiful flavor.”

The entire conversation ranges from eating vegan on the road, to allergies, to food porn, to the value of creating food you believe in.

Eater gives a sense of the foodie world’s reception to the couple’s approach.

Cook and Tell

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

9781101885710_dcf1eAlton Brown is still remembered by fans for Good Eats, a cult hit from the early days of the Food Network, currently available for binge watching on Netflix. Now best known for the culinary contest show, Cutthroat Kitchen, he has just published his next book, Alton Brown: EveryDayCook PRH/Ballantine Books).

The tag on the cover, “This time, it’s personal,” is proving a focus for media coverage. Written after his divorce from his second wife, the NYT calls it “a midlife-crisis book.”  In a profile in the WSJ Brown provides a short, sorrowful, summary of his childhood and career.

Described by the NYT as “an eclectic and appealing collection of 70 recipes in Mr. Brown’s regular rotation and another 30 he created to bring the book to a respectable size,” it is on the first two previews of best cookbooks of season, leading the NYT‘s list and also one of  People‘s “25 New Fall Cookbooks That Deserve a Spot in Your Kitchen”

In systems we checked, holds are topping 10:1 ratios where libraries have bought very low and are exceeding orders where libraries bought multiple copies.

Oprah Memoir:
How About A Cookbook Instead?

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Oprah Winfrey’s memoir, The Life You Want, has been postponed indefinitely according to the LA Times. We wrote about the deal, worth eight figures, last December.

The memoir was intended to launch Oprah’s new imprint with Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan, a line of nonfiction titles hand picked by Oprah herself. Instead, it will launch with Oprah’s new cookbook, Food, Health and Happiness: ‘On Point’ Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life. It is planned for Jan. 3, 2017 (as yet no cover or ISBN is available).

As the AP reports, Oprah, who is not only the latest Weight Watchers spokesperson, but also an investor, owning an estimated 10% of Weight Watchers stock, said of her new effort:

“In the past several months on Weight Watchers, I have worked with wonderful chefs to make healthier versions of my favorite meals. When people come to my house for lunch or dinner, the number one thing they ask is, ‘How is this so delicious and still healthy?’ So I decided to answer that question with recipes everyone can enjoy.”

519JES09H3L._SX305_BO1,204,203,200_If this sounds familiar, back in the late ’90’s, Oprah co-authored a book with her trainer, Bob Greene, Make the Connection: Ten Steps To A Better Body — And A Better Life.

An instant No. 1 New York Times bestseller, it launched Greene’s weight-loss empire. But in January 2009, a much heavier Oprah was featured on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine with the headline, “How did I let this happen again?”

James Beard 2016 Award Winners

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

9780544373280_b69fcZahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (HMH/Rux Martin), has won the 2016 James Beard Book of the Year award.

Chef Solomonov is no stranger to the Beard honors. In 2011 he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. Now his debut cookbook, which highlights the pleasures of Israeli food and profiles his restaurant and life journey, gets similar accolades.

The James Beard Awards, billed as the Oscars of the food world, are given for 14 book categories (as well as for chefs, journalists, TV shows and more). Zahav also took home the International book award.

9781607745532_35ad0Deborah Madison won the Cookbook Hall of Fame category. Her most recent title is The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (RH/Ten Speed).

The very timely Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) by Marion Nestle (Oxford UP) won for Writing and Literature while The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook by Chris Fischer with Catherine Young (Hachette/Little, Brown) took the prize for American Cooking. V Is for Vegetables: Inspired Recipes & Techniques for Home Cooks — from Artichokes to Zucchini by  Michael Anthony with Dorothy Kalins (Hachette/Little, Brown) won for Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian.

Best seller 9780393081084_5fb39The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, J. Kenji López-Alt (Norton) topped the General Cooking category. It won the IACP Cookbook of the Year award earlier this month (see our coverage here).

Other than The Food Lab there are no overlapping winners between the two highly regarded food awards.

The full list of James Beard winners is available online.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

9780393081084_5fb39The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) has announced their awards for 2016 and the big winner is The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, J. Kenji López-Alt (Norton), which took home honors as both Cookbook of the Year and winner in the American category.

The book is already a hitl. It is a NYT Best Seller, entering the list at #4 in October and currently at #10 after 10 weeks.

9780316329514_088c59781101874868_41e4fFamiliar names Madhur Jaffrey and Andrew Weil also took home prizes. Jaffrey for Vegetarian India: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking (PRH/Knopf), which won the Single Subject category and Weil for Fast Food, Good Food: More Than 150 Quick and Easy Ways to Put Healthy, Delicious Food on the Table (Hachette/Little, Brown), which won the Health & Special Diet category.

9780553447293_3cb3b9780714870472_106e5Tacos were big winners with Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman winning the Chefs and Restaurants category for Tacos: Recipes and Provocations (PRH/Clarkson Potter) and Deborah Holtz and Juan Carlos Mena winning the Reference & Technical category for Tacopedia (Phaidon).

The winners in all the book categories are listed with ordering information and alternate formats, on our downloadable spreadsheet, IACP 2016 Cookbook Awards.

COOKED Airs on Friday

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Michael Pollan’s fame is about to spread to Netflix with the series Cooked set to debut this coming Friday, Jan 19.

Directed by Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief), it explores how human developed their relationship to food, a subject Pollan wrote about in his 2013 book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (Penguin; OverDrive Sample). The four-episode YV series will be a mix of culinary travelogue, anthropology lessons, and sessions in Pollan’s home kitchen.

No tie-in is planned but the book is available in various print editions and in eBook.

The stirring trailer was released recently and showcases Pollan’s approach to the powerful emotions surrounding food, the connections food has to tradition and family, and the ways the modern food industry has separated us from the real heart of cooking, which, says Pollan works to “undermine cooking as an everyday practice.”

THE FOOD LAB On The Rise – Again

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

9780393081084_5fb39The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, J. Kenji López-Alt (W. W. Norton, 2015; OverDrive Sample) was a New York Times bestseller when it came out last year. It was also considered one of the best cookbooks of the year by both LJ and Amazon.

Gaining renewed attention, it moved up Amazon’s sales ranking from just outside the top 100 to #4.

The author tweeted he would be on The Chew yesterday:

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 12.42.22 PM

The show did not post the video, but they did post his recipe.

Holds are still strong in libraries we checked.

Chuck Williams Dies at 100

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

9781616289621_35d60When asked the secret of her long and active career, Julia Child replied, “Well, I have been known to eat well.”

The same could be said of her friend, Chuck Williams, the founder of Williams-Sonoma and prolific cookbook author who died in his sleep on Saturday in his San Francisco home. He was 100 years old.

As the New York Times obituary puts it, before Williams discovered the amazing range of cookware available in France, inspiring him to open his first store in Sonoma, California, in 1956, U.S. kitchens were drab affairs, stocked with “pots, pans and knives from a department store.”

The obituary also credits him with writing over 200 cookbooks, the latest of which is Cooking at Home, (Weldon Owen, dist. by S&S) re-released in September to celebrate Williams’ 100th birthday. It was originally published in 2010 when Williams was  a mere 95.

Jail Cookery

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

9780761185529_743d6Step aside, Thug Kitchen, here’s the real deal.

In an affecting interview on NPR’s The Salt, Gustavo “Goose” Alvarez talks about his new cookbook Prison Ramen: Recipes and Stories from Behind Bars (Workman; OverDrive Sample).

Alvarez spent over a decade behind bars and explains that those cheap packs of dehydrated noodles are everything to prisoners seeking some control over their meals, “maybe a guy has a bag of chips — that’s all he has to his name. And this other guy is blessed to have a couple of soups. Well, they get together, they make an interesting meal.”

His book is a mix of recipes and stories. It begins with the basic instructions for cooking the noodles without a pot or open flame. It goes on to offer advice for surviving hard time.

When asked who might use his book, Alvarez replies:

“I know some college kids might attempt to cook some of these. And quite frankly, I’ve had a few of them direct message me and say that they were awesome. They’ll go, ‘Man, these are great. I saved some money. It only cost me a couple dollars.’ Cool. And then I’d like others to read it and be humbled by the stories. And maybe, you know, they’ll have a friend of a friend or a family member — somebody that’s made a mistake and is doing some time. And they can probably share the stories with them, and hope it can teach them something. Maybe learn from my mistakes and others not to make these stupid decisions.”

Best Cookbooks of the Year

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 9.57.12 AMYucatán by David Sterling (University of Texas Press) is the 2015 James Beard Foundation Cookbook of the Year.

Sterling runs a Yucatán cooking school in Mexico and his book is an ode to the food he loves, a huge, 576 page encyclopedic tome, filled with photos and a richly detailed text. It weighs more than a five pound bag of flour and lists for $60. It won the award for best International Cookbook as well.

The James Beard Awards come on the heels of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Awards, which were announced late last month.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.03.37 AMTheir top pick is A New Napa Cuisine by Christopher Kostow (RH/Ten Speed Press; OverDrive Sample), the chef running The Restaurant at Meadowood, a three-Michelin-starred destination eatery in California. A mix of chef’s journey, regional spotlight, and artistic expression, it is a good example of the trend, as we reported last week, for cookbooks to be more than compilations of recipes.

Between the two awards there are five overlapping winners:

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.04.48 AMLiquid Intelligence by David Arnold (W.W. Norton) which won the James Beard Award for best Beverage book and the IACP Jane Grigson Award.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.05.18 AMButchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat and Pork by Adam Danforth (Workman/Storey Publishing; OverDrive Sample) which won the James Beard award for Reference and Scholarship and the IACP Beverage/Reference/Technical award.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.05.58 AMBar Tartine by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns (Chronicle; OverDrive Sample) which won the James Beard Cooking from a Professional Point of View award and the IACP award for best Chefs and Restaurants book.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.06.42 AMHeritage by Sean Brock (Workman/Artisan) which won the James Beard American Cooking award and the IACP Julia Child First Book award.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.07.49 AMAt Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin (Shambhala/Roost Books) which won the James Beard award for Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian cookbook and the IACP award for Health & Special Diet.

The full list of James Beard winners and IACP winners is available at each award’s website.

Cookbooks, “The Golden Age”

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Remember when people thought the digital age would spell the end to cookbooks?

Ironically, the online recipe site, Epicurious, begs to differ. Calling this the “Cookbook Golden Age,” they say, “If cookbooks were just collections of recipes, you could sum them up in an index. But the best books weave the wit and spirit of their authors right into every page.”

They have whittled “The Epicurious Cookbook Canon Longlist,” based on nominees from readers, down to just ten.

Either list is a great opportunity for a display, real or virtual.

Also check out Epicurious‘s list of 30 Spring Cookbooks We’re Excited For (hurrah! our favorite Brooklyn ice cream truck/stand reveals their secrets in June; Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, HarperCollins/Ecco).

Cookie Science

Friday, December 19th, 2014

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NPR’s Science Friday featured Jeff Potter and his ingenious “patent-violating” chocolate chip cookies last week, an event that might be responsible for his book Cooking For Geeks (O’Reilly Media; OverDrive Sample) topping today’s Amazon Movers & Shakers list. Holds are not yet rising, although many libraries bought lightly back in 2010 when the book first came out.

In the spirit of the holidays, we at EarlyWord offer not just Potter’s recipe (at the end of the Science Friday story) but also that of Alton Brown’s, which our highly unscientific (but yummy) tests have found to be the recipe to rule them all.

The Best Cookbook of The Year (Only $200)

Monday, May 5th, 2014

One of the most expensive cookbooks of the year was honored last night as the Cookbook of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. Historic Heston by Heston Blumenthal is listed for $200, but hold on, a lower-priced, $65 edition will be available in October.

The book has won praise from a range of sources, from Saveur magazine, “This idiosyncratic work by Blumenthal, the chef behind the experimental fine dining restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, England, pays tribute to those who inspired him,” to the Daily Candy, “It’s nearly impossible to sum up the awesomeness of this exquisitely packaged amalgamation of photographic still lifes, illustrations, and historic recipes.”

If the phrase “great British cooking” sounds like an oxymoron, Blumenthal debunks that in the following video:

Winners in all eight book categories are listed, with ordering information. on our downloadable spreadsheet, James Beard 2014 Cookbook Awards.

To Brighten Your Day

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Some days, you just need something lovely to look at:

Surprise-inside Cakes

The book is Surprise-Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke, (HarperCollins/Morrow, Feb. 19).

AND, there’s a trailer:

Thanks to HarperCollins Library Marketing for posting this on their Library Love Fest blog and lifting our spirits as this long winter slogs on.