When I first became aware of this book (through this site) I wondered to myself if it would 'speak' to me in the same way as it clearly had to a number of other people here. Not being from the US, I thought there might not be much to connect me to this book. My reservations were completely cast aside once I saw the book and sat down and had a good read through it. Amanda Hesser has done an incredible job selecting, testing and collating together a wonderful collection of recipes from the vast New York Times archives and in doing so, put together a real social history of American eating which is altogether fascinating.
Like garlicpig in her review, my copy of this book has followed me around my house, from the sofa, to the kitchen and bedside table - it even accompanied me on my Christmas break at the beach. I love just opening it to a page and reading. Amanda Hesser's voice is very present which adds a great deal to the value of this book, from the cooking notes and 'variations' notes and to the little witticisms she adds to the timelines in the chapter breaks - sometimes these sorts of books are just a collection of recipes with nothing linking them to the person who actually put the collection together - definately not the case with this book.
I think this will be a book I will dip in and out of a lot in the...
I don't know if I'm the person to review a cookbook--especially one of this caliber. So let's not call it a review; just what I like about it and what drew me in.
Amanda Hesser is a natural for writing about food of any kind. I cannot get enough of her. I can see where this is heading because each of her books leaves you 'hungry' for the next. You live in hope that there will be a next.
First let me say it is a very user-friendly book. The front and back covers are Conversion Tables, Handy Substitutions and Tips and USDA Recommended Safe Internal Temps (no flipping through pages to find them. You only have to flip the front and back covers.) In the Introduction to the book is a box on Ways to Use & Not Use this book. Please don't skip over it because it's pretty cute or should I say a hoot!) At the beginning of each section of recipes is a page titled Recipes By Category. Drinks are listed according to type and food according to season with the page the recipe is on for quick reference. So no holding open the Index with one finger while you check out the myriad of recipes. For most of the recipes there are Cooking Notes which I find make the book more personal. And with each recipe there are Serving Suggestions at the end which makes it easy for someone like me to pair a meal when in...
My first New York Times cookbook was the 1960s version by James Beard. It was a 13th birthday present from a great aunt and given to me during my first to trip to New York City in the 1970s. Even though it was a sweltering summer and she lived in a 2 story walk with no AC the first recipe I attempted was French bread. It was during that summer that my bread went from a gelatinous brick to a golden delicious baguette in the truest sense of the tastebuds and that cookbook became my first line of defenseive college cookery for many many years after that.
It's been quite some since I visited with that old friend so why did the bookshelf need a younger version? Well the operative words are in the sub-title Classic Recipes for a New Century. We no longer cook like we did 30 years ago nor do we have the sames tastes. My basic french bread recipe is still included with improved upon directions but who d'a thunk to throw ice cubes right on the floor of the oven instead of dealing with a scalding pan of water?
The other recipes witinin Amanda Hesser's NY Times version are mixture that work for quick week night fare and those more suited for relaxing weekend cooking. There are more vegetable recipes in this new version and recipes that explore ethnic cuisine simply and acheivably like Pad Thai, Jamaican Rice and Peas, Farro and Chickpea Soup, more recipes than...
I just got this book and I am overwhelmed at its girth and the amount of enticing recipes it contains. Time to get cooking!
11/28: Updating my review now since I finally sat down with the book and went through it page by page.
It is a very comprehensive collection of recipes from decades of New York Times publications. I love Amanda's chronological lists that start each chapter. They recall all the food trends I have experienced in my lifetime, and the ones that preceded me.
I love the short stories she includes with the recipes. Her choices appear to be well thought-out and tested. I saw many, many recipes that I want to try. A lot of them I never would have thought of making. Some potential highlights for me: Eggplant Gratin with Saffron Custard, Spaghetti with Fried Eggs and Peppers, Red Snapper with Rhubard Sauce, Chicken Marengo (I used to make this all the time and totally forgot about the recipe), Country Captain, Chicken Paprikash. This is just a small selection from the main dishes. The breads, cakes, cookies and desserts are enticing also. As are the drinks/cocktails, appetizers and soups.
I highly recommend this book.
Even though I have put myself on cookbook probation (due mainly to space limitations) I went ahead and shamelessly ordered a copy. And I have no regrets. Turns out I might not actually need room for it on my cookbook shelf anyway, because so far it has moved from the coffee table, to my bedside table, to the kitchen table, etc. And I think it is a trend that will continue. Wow. Hesser has created a truly astonishing recap of 150 years of New York Times recipes and food history.
I'm loving the short stories that proceed many of the recipes, as well as the serving suggestions that follow. Winter dinner party ideas are rapidly forming! And I realized that I have started to make a game out of guessing roughly when each recipe originally appeared in the Times before looking at the date that appears in red at the end of the recipe (I'm pleased if I can get in the right decade!) The only hard part has been deciding what to try first (all signs point to a winter of good cooking ahead). I settled on a flat and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe that originated from Ms. Hesser herself.
I am crazy about her writing! This book is such a good read... not to mention the recipes I have tried are just wonderful. I made the Even Greater American Pound Cake for a dinner party, served it with some candied kumquats I had made, and it was out of this world! I will definitely make this again...it will be perfect this summer to serve with fresh fruit!
This book is highly underrated and a modern classic. Hesser has distilled over a century's worth of history in one book. It's interesting to see how the recipes reflect their respective eras. Thousands of Americans have cooked these recipes at home for their families. They are tried and true, so whenever I cook from this book, I feel as though I am continuing a tradition. Try the Gougeres, Maida Heatter's Popovers, and the Purple Plum Torte, the most requested New York Times recipe.
I checked this book out of the library when it was first released, but after perusing its pages I was overwhelmed by the quantity of recipes. This is a very comprehensive cookbook. It is well worth the price. I love the stories accompanying the recipes.
I have re-checked this bright red tome out and I now intend to give it a good workout. I am hoping to prepare the following: pasta with yogurt and carmelized onions, pumpkin, sage, and bacon risotto, carmelized endive, chilled sesame spinach to name just a few. I will report on their success or failure. (I'm sure they will all be successful)
I have a feeling I will be adding this one to my permanent collection when I am forced to return it to the library.
I have a galley copy of this book, and some of the missing items include page numbers in the index. This was actually a relief; it meant that I could lose myself reading the book cover to cover and not feel bad about not cooking out of it right away. I love the anecdotes that precede most recipes, the threads of history that weave themselves into various dishes, and the way this book is laid out.
I will eventually purchase a copy of the final/published version of this book, but for now I'm content with my galley copy. It's like going on a treasure hunt every time I want to find a recipe that I've spotted in the index, or remember from a previous reading. I've made countless recipes from this book and consider it an essential part of my home library.