The Cookbook Season

A Platter of Figs is shaping up as THE cookbook of the season. Both today’s New York Times and the new People magazine (11/4) include it in their seasonal cookbook roundups. It was also featured in the LA Times list of standouts in what they call a “dazzling season” of cookbooks.

Julia Moskin, NYT  “Dining” section reporter, calls it the “most alluring and useful” of all the books discussed (or coming out this season, it’s not entirely clear). 

The book went from #862 on Amazon to #117. Several libraries have not ordered it; those that do own it show reserves.


A Platter of Figs

Tanis, David

  • Hardcover: $35
  • Publisher: Artisan (September 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1579653464
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579653460

Several books from high-profile chefs are out this season, some with high-end price tags to match (but, at $250, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook still costs less than a meal at London’s Fat Duck restaurant). Recognizing that most of these books are beyond the skills of even the best home cooks, Moskin says you should think of them as “art books, deluxe professional manuals and creative memoirs that happen to be in recipe form.” After all, you wouldn’t expect to be able to paint a masterpiece after reading a Jackson Pollock memoir.

Of the high-end books, Moskin says she would choose Alinea, from the award-winning Chicago restaurant (tasting menu, $125), because of the book’s “relatively reasonable” price and “seductive photography.” 

It rose from #209 to #126 on Amazon. It’s owned in small quantities by some libraries and is showing holds.



Achatz, Grant 

  • Hardcover: $60; 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1580089283
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580089289
Other than Platter of Figs, People‘s list of seven “Great Cookbooks for Fall” does not overlap with the Times list. People features Martha Stewart’s Cooking School (which managed to help the reviewer achieve her goal of making a pie crust without crying; something many of us can relate to).
Of the seven titles, the only one not owned widely in libraries is from one of my favorite Brooklyn bakeries, Baked. It went from #5,653 on Amazon to #280.
Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito, and Tina Rupp
  • Hardcover:  $29.95; 208 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang (October 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1584797215
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584797210

One Response to “The Cookbook Season”

  1. BookBound Blog » Blog Archive » Abuzz About “A Platter of Figs” Says:

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