Archive for the ‘Cookbooks’ Category

NYT Notable Cookbooks

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

The world’s priciest cook book, Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold (The Cooking Lab, $625) is one of 19 titles on the New York Times list of the year’s most notable cookbooks. The annotation states, “The recipes are likely to drive home cooks mad, but the photography is both revolutionary and museum-worthy.”

Not everything is out of reach, however; it explains how to create cappuccino art.

It’s in six volumes, so it’s more like an encyclopedia than a single cook book. As we noted earlier, some libraries have decided to buy it precisely because it’s so expensive, and thus out of reach for many of their customers.

The first printing sold out, but it is now back in stock at wholesalers.

PEOPLE Best Cookbooks

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

There’s several reasons to pick up the 12/28 special double issue of People magazine. In addition to 2011’s Sexiest Man Alive (Bradley Cooper), dozens of other hunks are featured (click here for “100 Sexy Men in 1 Minute“). Even more mouth-watering are the “Best of the Fall Cookbooks” in the Books section, which confines itself to just six titles:

The Family Meal, Ferran Adrià, Phaidon —  the chef  known for bravura cooking (like the “liquid olive,” which he created and many have copied) here address the more mundane, but not necessarily easy, like how to poach an egg.

The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks, Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, Morrow/HarperCollins — Hesser started after she realized from her work on the  NYT Cookbook, that some of the best recipes come from home cooks. The cookbook rounds up the winners from the site’s contests.

Lidia’s Italy in AmericaLidia Matticchio Bastianich, Knopf/RH — the celebrity chef moves from Italian to Italian American cooking.

Martha’s Entertaining, Martha Stewart, Clarkson Potter/RH– her first book, pubbed in 1982 was simply titled Entertaining. It launched an empire.

Momofuku Milk Bar, Christina Tosi with intro by David Chang, Clarkson Potter/RH– desserts from David Chang’s pastry chef.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch — Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods, Jennifer Reese, Free Press/S&S — what a concept. After losing her job, Reese decided it was time to figure out how to save money by doing more herself. She discovered that some things are better to buy than to make and vice versa. Surprisingly, she says that bagels can be easily made at home (and, given the quality of many store bought bagels, that idea is appealing).

New Title Radar – Week of Oct. 10

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Next week, look out for 80-year-old Pakistani debut novelist and international publishing discovery Jamil Ahmad, plus new novels from Jeffrey Eugenides and Allan Hollinghurst. In nonfiction, there are memoirs from Harry Belafonte and Ozzie Osbourne, and a fresh look at the Jonestown massacre.

Attention Grabber

via @PeterLattman

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike Large Print). Visitors to Times Square may be startled by the unfamiliar phenomenon of a giant billboard featuring an author. Pictured is Jeffrey Eugenides, in full stride, a la the Marlboro Man. Anticipation is high for the release on Tuesday of his new book, The Marriage Plot  (FSG), the first since his 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex. Even Business Week gives it an early look. Set during the 1980s recession, it follows three disillusioned college students caught in a love triangle. The Los Angeles Times compares it favorably to Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, calling it “sweeter, kinder, with a more generous heart. What’s more, it is layered with exactly the kinds of things that people who love novels will love.” Michiko Kakutani says in the NYT, “No one’s more adept at channeling teenage angst than Jeffrey Eugenides. Not even J. D. Salinger” and NPR interviewed the author on Wednesday. Holds are heavy in most libraries.

Watch List

The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad (Riverhead; 10/13) is a series of fictional sketches about a family on the harsh border region between Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan that has become a literary sensation in Pakistan and has received positive coverage in the UK. The author is a Pakistani writer who is now 80 years old, and was engaged in welfare work in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas for decades. According to a Los Angeles Times interview, Penguin India picked up the book in 2008 after  it was submitted for a contest, 37 years after London publishers had originally rejected it.  U.S. trade reviews are mixed, with PW calling it a “gripping book, as important for illuminating the current state of this region as it is timeless in its beautiful imagery and rhythmic prose,” while Kirkus says it’s “fascinating material that’s badly in need of artistic shaping.”

Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst (Knopf; Random House Audio) is a social satire about the legacy of a talented and beautiful poet who perishes in WWI, in the vein of E.M. Forster and Evelyn Waugh – written by the 2004 Booker prize winner for the Line of Beauty. The Washington Post says it “could hardly be better,” and PW calls it “a sweet tweaking of English literature’s foppish little cheeks by a distinctly 21st-century hand.”

Usual Suspects

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central; Hachette Audio; Grand Central Large Print) explores the decades of fallout caused by a misguided high school romance.

Snuff (Discworld Series #39) by Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins) brings back fan favorite Sam Vimes, the cynical yet extraordinarily honorable Ankh-Morpork City Watch commander as he faces two weeks off in the country on his wife’s family’s estate. There are more than 65 million copies of the series out there.

Young Adult

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Mass Market; Trade Paper) is back in a movie tie-in edition, in advance of the film opening November 18. Beginning Nov. 1, theaters will feature “Twilight Tuesday” showings of the entire series, including new  interviews with the cast and behind the scenes footage.

The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Mark Cotta Vaz (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)


My Song: A Memoir by Harry Belafonte and Michael Shnayerson (Knopf; Random House Audio; Random House Large Print ) is the memoir of the music icon and human rights activist.




Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy: Advice from Rock’s Ultimate Survivor by Ozzy Osbourne and Chris Ayres (Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is a humorous memoir mixed with dubious medical advice.


Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam by Lewis Sorley (Houghton Mifflin) argues that much of the fault for losing the Vietnam War lies with General William Westmoreland. Kirkus says, “The general’s defenders will have their hands full answering Sorley’s blistering indictment.”

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres (Free Press) follows the experiences of five Peoples Temple members who went to the Jonestown farm in Guyana to sacrifice their lives to the vision of a zealous young preacher. Scheeres draws on thousands of recently declassified FBI documents and audiotapes, as well as rare videos and interviews. PW says, “Chilling and heart-wrenching, this is a brilliant testament to Jones’s victims.”

Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More Than 300 Recipes by Paula Deen and Melissa Clark (Simon & Schuster) is a collection of Southern recipes. PW says it’s “not quite as comprehensive as it could be, [but] certainly an honorable addition to the field.”

Cookbook of the Year, 2011

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The International Association of Culinary Professionals named Around My French Table by Dore Greenspan  (HMH) the Cookbook of the Year earlier this month.

Winning in the American category was The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern (Random House).

The full list of winners and finalists is available here.

James Beard Cookbook Awards

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Diana Kennedy’s Oaxaca al Gusto (U. of Texas Press), was named the Best Cookbook of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in an award ceremony on Friday night in New York.

In General Cooking, the winner is Amanda Hesser’s The Essential New York Times Cook Book: Classic Recipes for a New Century,”

Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking (Scribner, originally published in 1984; revised edition in 2004) was placed in the Cookbook Hall of Fame.

The other winners are listed here; all the nominees are here.

Why Buy a $625 Cookbook?

Friday, May 6th, 2011

According to WorldCat, very few public libraries have bought Modernist Cuisine, despite the heavy media attention (the NYT, The New Yorker, NPR, Time, even Popular Science) and a starred review from Booklist.

But why would they? It retails for $625, library budgets are strained, and the book features cooking tools and techniques only available to professionals.

One library did buy it and recently explained that decision to the local press. The San Francisco Public Library ordered two copies; one for reference, one to circulate from the main library, and are considering a third for the branches. Why? Public demand, Mark Hall, the library’s cookbook buyer, tells the San Francisco Weekly. He also points out that the price tag is not for a single book, but six volumes that will be circulated individually. Does he fear theft? Not really, says Mark, “Cookbook readers seem to be a pretty responsible group.”

One benefit; the library got good press for the decision. And, at a time when people are obsessed with digital books, they are giving the public access to a physical book that shows off the ultimate in modern printing technology (Booklist says, “Stunning, dramatic color photographs transform every page into a visual banquet”). Even though some of the cooking techniques may be beyond the home cook, as Time magazine says, “no serious student of food doubts that it will stand alongside Escoffier as one of the defining cookbooks in history.”

Modernist Cuisine has sold out its initial print run and is now going back to press. Because of the the intricate printing process, it will be a while before it is back in stock at wholesalers.

Most-Ordered Upcoming Cookbooks

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Have we caught your attention with these covers?

They’re a just a few of the cookbooks you can look forward to in the coming months, from the Edelweiss list of  the cookbooks most-ordered by independent booksellers. Edelweiss produces online catalogs for publishers (a few publishers are not on the system, such as S&S, so their titles are not included). Many independent booksellers use Edelweiss for ordering.

Earlier, we posted the Edelweiss most-ordered fiction and nonfiction lists.

Full cookbook list below, after the jump.


Best Cookbooks 2010 Mashup

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Librarians aren’t the only ones in the best books mashup business. The Huffington Post has put together a slide show of the Best Cookbooks for Giving. Each had to be chosen by at least two of  eight sources (four got by with just one pick — from the Huffington Post’s own Food Editors).

We’re pleased to see Brooklyn well-represented. The Frankies Spuntino’s cookbook (it’s by two Frankies and “spuntino” means “a little snack” in Italian), from EarlyWord‘s neightborhood restaurant, came in with 5 picks:

The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual
Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo, Peter Meehan
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Artisan – (2010-06-14)
ISBN / EAN: 1579654150 / 9781579654153

And, slightly further afield, but within walking distance of EarlyWord headquarters, the bakery Baked got two picks for its innovative approach to American standards in Baked Explorations. Below, the author/owners talk about a recipe they picked up while touring for their first book:


Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
Retail Price: $29.95
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang – (2010-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1584798505 / 9781584798507

New View of Julia Child

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Next week, a new window opens on the Julia Child legend, with As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, edited by Joan Reardon, a collection of Child’s correspondence with her close friend and unofficial literary agent. The two women first encountered each other in 1952, when DeVoto responded to Child’s fan letter to her husband after reading an article he wrote about knives, and became soul mates as Childs was writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking (DeVoto is portrayed in the film Julie & Julia by Deborah Rush).

Entertainment Weekly gives it a “B”: “While their conversations can drag a bit — weather, health, and politics get too much space — the book is an absorbing portrait of an unexpected friendship.”

So far, library holds are in line with modest orders at libraries we checked – but that may change as more media arrives.

As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – (2010-12-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0547417713 / 9780547417714

Usual Suspects On Sale Next Week

Rescue: A Novel by Anita Shreve (Little, Brown) follows a paramedic worried that his daughter is becoming an alcoholic, like his troubled ex-wife. Library Journal says, “a solid read, though not the author’s most compelling or dazzling work. Excellent fodder for book clubs; there is plenty to discuss in the protagonists’ motivations, decisions, and characterization.”

Of Love and Evil by Anne Rice (Knopf) is the second entry in the supernatural Songs of the Seraphim series, involving a divine vigilante dispensing justice in Renaissance Italy. Kirkus says, “The plot’s intense; equally so are Rice’s meditations, while never breaking the seamlessness of the story line, on the nature of love and evil. A bullet of a book—and an absolute bull’s eye.”

Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell (Putnam) is the 18th novel with detective Kay Scarpetta.

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore (Twelve) finds a literary investigator caught up in a murder case. Library Journal says, “constant switching of narrators can be jarring, but Moore does an excellent job of making his characters and settings feel real, using his thorough knowledge of the Holmes stories to good effect.”

Clouds Without Rain by P. L. Gaus (Plume) is an Indie Next Pick for December that won bookseller praise for its slowly unravelling mystery set in Amish country, “with a good many surprises along the way. Another excellent entry in this series.”

NPR’s Best Cookbooks 2010

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

One of EarlyWord‘s most clicked-on stories from the past year is NPR’s Best Cookbooks of 2009, so we’re happy to announce NPR’s Best Cookbooks of 2010 is here.

Even though you can Google nearly any recipe you want, T. Susan Chang tells Liane Hanson on Weekend Edition Saturday that this was an amazing year for cookbooks. In putting together this list, she stuck to the books that everyday cooks would want to use. The common thread of these books is that the “authors take the trouble to tell you everything you need to know to do the recipes. The short, cute cookbooks with almost nothing on the page, those are the ones to look out for, because they will double cross you.”

Curiously, the book that received the largest Amazon sales bump is The Food Substitutions Bible, from Canadian publisher, Robert Rose (distributed by Firefly). It rose to #53 from a lowly #18,937, proving that you can’t Google everything.

The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 6,500 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment and Techniques
David Joachim
Retail Price: $24.95
Paperback: 696 pages
Publisher: Robert Rose – (2010-09-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0778802450 / 9780778802457

Richards’ Memoir Sticks it to Mick

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is setting the tabloid press abuzz over excerpts from his new memoir, Lifein the Times of London, where (big surprise) he says that Mick Jagger has been “unbearable” since the 1980s.

In the New York Times, Janet Maslin calls Richards’ memoir “a big, fierce, game-changing account of the Stones’ nearly half-century-long adventure. . . . some of its most surprisingly revelatory material appears in what Mr. Richards jokingly calls ‘Keef’s Guitar Workshop.’ Here are the secrets of some of the world’s most famous rock riffs and the almost toy-level equipment on which they were recorded.”

Keith Richards
Retail Price: $29.99
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company – (2010-10-26)
ISBN / EAN: 031603438X / 9780316034388
  • CD: Hachette Audio; $34.98; ISBN 9781600242403
  • Large Print: Little Brown and Co., $31.99; ISBN 9780316120364

Other Notable Nonfiction On Sale Next Week

The Mind’s Eye by Oliver Sacks (Knopf) explores how people with impaired senses handle, and even excel at, everyday life, drawing on six case studies including his own loss of depth perception due to a tumor.

Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe (Threshold) outlines the economic ideas of the Fox News pundit.

Memoirs and Biographies

Cleopatra by Stacy Shiff (Little, Brown). Sure, it’s a bio of a fascinating historical figure by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, but the buzz around this book has focused on its adaptation as a movie, with Scott Rudin producing, James Cameron in talks to direct (in 3-D!), and Angelina Jolie possibly starring.

The Elephant to Hollywood by Michael Caine (Holt) “revisits familiar territory” from his first memoir, according to Kirkus, “including childhood poverty, the deprivations of World War II, faltering first steps in show business before signature roles in The Ipcress File (1965) and Alfie (1966) made him an international film star—but his warm, wry delivery keeps the material interesting, even though many of the anecdotes have a distinctly practiced feel.”

You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam (Riverhead) is about a “slightly wacky person who, instead of looking inward for answers [to how to be happy], decided to help others — specifically, Boston terriers,” according to the 11/1 issue of People, where the book is a People Pick and garnered 3.5 of 4 stars.

My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Scottolini Serritella (St. Martin’s Press) is a collection of true life stories originally written for the Philadelphia Inquirer by the popular suspense writer and her daughter.

Twisted Sisterhood: The Dark Side of Female Friendship by Kelly Valen (Ballantine) is based on the author’s New York Times “Modern Love” column about the lasting scars of her sorority sisters’ betrayal, which attracted lots of reader mail from other women. She is scheduled to appear on Good Morning America on October 26.

Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) examines the relationship between FDR and his wife.  PW says “Despite Rowley’s cheerleading that the cousins’ conflicts brought out their courage and radicalism, and that they loved with a generosity of spirit that withstood betrayal, FDR emerges as a narcissist while Eleanor carved a spectacular life.”

First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis (Knopf) gets praise from PW: “Ellis’s supple prose and keen psychological insight give a vivid sense of the human drama behind history’s upheavals.”

Cookbook Season
The major gift-giving season will soon be upon us, bringing a raft of new cookbooks.

Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter) focuses on simplifying meals without sacrificing quality. The Food Network guru will appear on the Today Show October 26  and 27.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century, Amanda Hesser (W.W. Norton) ; long before the Contessa became barefoot, the NYT was publishing recipes. In what is sure to be THE gift cookbook of the year, Amanda Hesser examined the NYT recipes since the newspaper began running them in the 1850’s, chronicling the effort in the NYT Magazine series Recipe Redux (the latest is about readers’ “most stained” recipes).

Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes, Harold McGee (Penguin Press) was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air last night, shooting the book to #15 on Amazon sales rankings.

Cooking the California Way

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

The NYT Dining & Wine section takes a look at Sunset magazine’s role in promoting the California life style. The article says that Sunset can be thought of as “the Betty White of food magazines,” getting a new life after being eclipsed by celebrity chefs and flashy cooking shows because of

… its extreme dedication to regional food, its reputation among readers for reliable recipes honed in a skilled test kitchen and its forays into the D.I.Y. ethos of backyard beekeeping and home vinegar making has helped with a rehabilitation.

A new collection of recipes from the magazine came out this week. It was not reviewed prepub and is not owned by most libraries we checked.

The Sunset Cookbook: Over 1,000 Fresh, Flavorful Recipes for the Way You Cook Today
Sunset Books, Margo True
Retail Price: $34.95
Hardcover: 816 pages
Publisher: Oxmoor House – (2010-10-19)
ISBN / EAN: 0376027940 / 9780376027948

Kitchen Geeks

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

We love that O’Reilly Media, known for it’s geeky-but-in-a-cool-way tech books and conferences, has published a cookbook, aptly titled Cooking for Geeks, by Jeff Potter. The current issue of USA Today says, “it’s interesting enough for the experienced sous-chef but covers the basics (scrambled eggs = a surprising foray into protein entanglement) for the truly cooking-impaired” and details Potter’s rather frightening efforts to hack his oven so it would be hot enough to produce a great thin crust pizza.

Cooking for Geeks is also on O’Reilly’s on-demand digital library, Safari Books Online.

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food
Jeff Potter
Retail Price: $34.99
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: O’Reilly Media – (2010-08-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0596805888 / 9780596805883

The Julia Child of Mexico

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Diana Kennedy, who at 87 is still “on the hunt for the perfect tamale,” has done for Mexican cooking what Julia Child did for French cuisine; celebrated it and made it accessible to home cooks.

She is interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition about her new book which focuses on Oaxaca, “the culinary hot spot of Mexico.”

Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy (William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere)
Diana Kennedy
Retail Price: $50.00
Hardcover: 459 pages
Publisher: University of Texas Press – (2010-09-15)
ISBN / EAN: 0292722664 / 9780292722668

Quirk Takes on Pasta

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Those wonderful folks who invented the classic/vampire/zombie mashups have turned their attention to pasta. The result, The Geometry of Pasta was featured on NPR‘s All Things Considered last night and rose to #106 on Amazon’s sales rankings (from a lowly #8,529 yesterday).

One of my favorite travel memories is wandering the aisles of a grocery store in Florence with an Italian speaker who translated the evocative names for me (‘priest strangler,” “bridegrooms, “larks tongues”). Turns out they are not just quixotic; there’s a reason for those shapes.

And, of course, there is an addictive book trailer.


The Geometry of Pasta
Caz Hildebrand, Jacob Kenedy
Retail Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books – (2010-08-17)
ISBN / EAN: 1594744955 / 9781594744952