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Gin is in for 2016 - a look at cocktail trends

Bamboo cocktail

The forecast for next year's foods trends has begun in earnest. But it's not just food predictions being made; cocktail trends are also being watched. According to the Kimpton Hotel group's bar gurus, gin is the spirit of the moment going into 2016, especially barrel-aged gins. Rosé and sour beer are on the rise, and they predict that the Bamboo Cocktail will be the comeback kid next year. Bartenders are also mixing it up with mismatched vintage glassware, herbs and florals, unique ice cubes, shrubs and house carbonated spirits.

Mocktails are poised to be big next year, targeting people watching their diets, designated drivers, pregnant women, and even "foodie" children.Tropical cocktails, replete with teeny umbrellas, should make their way back onto many drink menus in 2016 as well. Upscale cocktail pairings, with drink flavors designed to specifically complement dishes, will sit alongside traditional wine pairings.

Speaking of wine, consumption of white wines is predicted to continue growing. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris will double digit growth and Chardonnay, America's No. 1 selling varietal, will continue its ascent. Read about more beverage trends, including a focus on bubble mania.

Photo of Bamboo cocktail from Saveur Magazine

November 2015 cookbook roundup

Every month Jane and Fiona wade through hundreds of cookbooks, selecting and reviewing all the best new releases of U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand cookbooks. The only thing left for you to do is to add them to your Bookshelf.

November is a bit quieter than October but retains a few of the same trends including an emphasis on chef and restaurant books. In addition, several familiar faces return with new works, and baking books also remain popular. Cocktails get their day in the sun and healthy eating - with a focus on simple and local - stays on fleek.


cookbook collagecookbook collageThe Mission Chinese Food Cookbook by Danny Bowien and Chris Ying: The star chef, founder, and co-owner of the wildly popular restaurant Mission Chinese Food chronicles his unconventional and meteoric rise in a "cookbook in conversations" that combines raucous storytelling with delicious recipes. Written as a series of dialogues between Bowien and essential crewmembers, the stories are accompanied by photographs and recipes for hits like schmaltz fried rice and hot-and-sour soup dumplings.

The Laws of Cooking…and How to Break Them by Justin Warner:  Not so much cooking laws as flavor laws are the focus of this book that encourages improvisation and play. Warner explores his unique "flavor theory" by introducing eleven laws based on familiar foods (e.g., "The Law of Peanut Butter and Jelly"). The book's aim is to teach you why certain flavors combine brilliantly, and then show how these combinations work in real recipes.

Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste by Dominique Crenn: Atelier Crenn is the debut cookbook from the first female chef in America to be awarded two Michelin stars. The book traces Crenn's rise from her childhood in France to her unprecedented success with her own restaurant in San Francisco. Crenn's food is centered around organic, sustainable ingredients with unusual, inventive, and stunning presentations.

Payard Cookies by François Payard: Third-generation pastry chef Payard shares his favorite cookie recipes ranging from bestsellers at his popular New York City patisseries and cafés, to recipes he learned from his father and the ones he makes at home. They range from simple sablés to picture-perfect macarons and everything in between.

cookbook collageSeasons to Taste by Jonathan Bardzik: From DC-based storyteller, cook and author Jonathan Bardzik, Seasons to Taste is a four-season celebration of farm and garden-fresh ingredients and the people - friends, family and farmers - that cooking and sharing food brings together. 

Sweet Middle East by Anissa Helou: While savory Middle Eastern foods have gained tremendous popularity worldwide, until now the sweets section has been limited to one or two items. The doyenne of Middle Eastern cooking, Anissa Helou, presents dozens of classic desserts fragrant with spices, honey, dates and nuts, and steeped in tradition.

Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis: The Food Network superstar shares her year-round approach to living a healthy and happy lifestyle with a book that focuses on healthy eating strategies and maintaining a balance between peak nutrition and the occasional decadent indulgence.

Slow Fires by Justin Smillie: In this book, the celebrated chef of Upland explores the fundamental techniques of braising, roasting, and grilling - and shows you how to see them in new ways, learning the rules in order to break them. The chapters progress from the fundamentals of each technique to variations like altering ratios of moisture, intensities of heat, or reversing expected processes.

cookbook collagePraise the Pig by Jennifer L. S. Pearsall: From the author of The Big Book of Bacon, Praise the Pig highlights the consumer-friendly parts of the pig that you can find readily in any grocery store--loins and tenderloins, ham, bacon, sausage, and shoulder. Pearsall illustrates how to make full use of each part for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks on the go.

The New New England Cookbook by Stacy Cogswell: Cogswell was a contestant on Season 12 of Top Chef and a 2014 nominee for Eater Boston's 'Chef of the Year' award. She's lived, breathed and eaten New England food her whole life. Here she offers new takes on regional staples and fresh, seasonal produce.

The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food by Matthew Gavin Frank: Following his critically acclaimed Preparing the Ghost, essayist Matthew Gavin Frank takes on America's food. He examines a quintessential dish in each state, interweaving the culinary with personal and cultural associations of each region. From key lime pie (Florida) to elk stew (Montana), The Mad Feast commemorates the unexpected origins of the familiar.

Prison Ramen by Clifton Collins and Gustavo "Goose" Alvarez: Yes, this is a book about ramen hacks in prison. But more than that, it's a firsthand look inside prison life, a scared-straight reality complementing the offbeat ramen recipes. The coauthors are childhood friends - one an ex-con, now free and living in Mexico, and the other a successful Hollywood character actor who has enlisted friends and celebrities to contribute their recipes and stories. You won't find any hand-foraged wild mushrooms here, just gritty and fascinating realism.

cookbook collagecookbook collageCook the Pantry by Robin Robertson: If you're interested in vegan cooking but think it's too time consuming, you may want to give this book a try. It features simple instructions to get you in and out of the kitchen in no time using only plant-based ingredients. Chef and cookbook author Robin Robertson also shows you how to create a well-stocked vegan pantry.

Duff Bakes by Duff Goldman: Ace of Cakes star Goldman may dazzle fans with his breathtaking cake decorating, but behind the rigged-up gravity-defying cakes and fancy fondant is a true pastry chef who understands the fundamentals of making incredibly delicious baked goods at home.

Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread by Zachary Golper and Peter Kaminsky: In the oven of his Brooklyn bakery, Chef Zachary Golper creates loaves that are served in New York's top restaurants and sought by bread enthusiasts around the country. His secret: long, low-temperature fermentation, which allows the dough to develop deep, complex flavors. Bien Cuit tells the story of Golper's ongoing quest to coax maximum flavor out of one of the world's oldest and simplest recipes.

Sea Salt Sweet by Heather Baird: This book explores the ways salt accentuates sweet goods - think salted chocolate caramels. Here award-winning blogger and master baker Heather Baird teaches you how to use fine artisan salts -- from Maldon Sea Salt and Red Hawaiian Salt, to Himalayan Black and French Grey Salt -- to make mouthwatering desserts for any occasion.

cookbook collageThe Fire of Peru by Ricardo Zarate: Lima-born Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Zarate delivers a standout cookbook on the new "it" cuisine -  the food of Peru.  He captures the spirit of modern Peruvian cooking, which reflects indigenous South American foods as well as Japanese, Chinese, and European influences, and balances that variety with an American sensibility.

Falafel Nation by Yael Raviv: Far more than a quest for the best hummus recipe, Falafel Nation explores the role food plays in the Jewish nation. Raviv ponders the power struggles, moral dilemmas, and religious and ideological affiliations of the different ethnic groups that make up the Jewish State and how they relate to the gastronomy of the region.

The Year of Cozy by Adrianna Adarme: The antithesis of Prison Ramen, this book features advice for simplifying, beautifying, and living a more thoughtful life from the blogger and recipe developer. Organized by the months of the year, and by categories such as "Live", "Do", and "Make", The Year of Cozy contains activities, recipes, and projects that aim to make the little moments in life just as exciting as the big. 

Gone With the Gin by Tim Federle: The author of Tequila Mockingbird returns with cocktail recipes for die-hard silver screen aficionados. Included within are dozens of drink recipes with titles like "A Sidecar Named Desire" and "No Country for Old Fashioneds", paired with winking commentary on history's most quotable films.

cookbook collageThe Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual by Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry: Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in Lower Manhattan has dominated the bar industry, receiving awards including World's Best Cocktail Menu. The bar's first book details the founders inspiring rags-to-riches story that began in Ireland and took them to New York. Like the bar's decor, Dead Rabbit's award-winning drinks are a nod to the "Gangs of New York" era, ranging from fizzes to cobblers to toddies, each with its own historical inspiration.

Bitterman's Filed Guide to Bitters & Amari by Mark Bitterman: If you have been confused about the dizzying array of the fast-growing bitters selection, this book can help you decode bitters and their kindred spirits amari and shrubs. The field guide including tasting notes, profiles of important makers, and even a few recipes for DIY bitters.

Eatymology: The Dictionary of Modern Gastronomy by Josh Friedland: From award-winning food writer and author (and creator of "Ruth Bourdain," a Twitter mashup that won the James Beard Award for Humor), Eatymology demystifies the most fascinating new food words to emerge from today's professional kitchens, food science laboratories, pop culture, the Web, and more.

Kitchen Hacks by Cook's Illustrated Magazine: A compilation of tips and tricks from 20 years of Cook's Illustrated magazine includes hand-drawn illustrations accompanying the hacks to show you exactly how to succeed. Kitchen Hacks also features 22 of CI's favorite weird and wonderful test kitchen recipe discoveries.


True NorthTrue North: Canadian Cooking From Coast to Coast by David Dammann and Chris Johns: David Dammann is one of Canada's most extraordinary culinary artists. The creative force behind DNA and Maison Publique restaurants in Montreal, Derek has grown steadily in stature and influence in Canadian cuisine. True North is a culinary coming-of-age story, detailing not only the path of Dammann's career but also the rise of the Canadian culinary scene as a whole. Chicken in the Mango Tree

Chicken in the Mango Tree by Jeffrey Alford: Best-selling food writer and photographer Jeffrey Alford has been completely immersed in the unique culinary tradition of the small village of Kravan in rural Thailand for four years. The diet there is finely attuned to the land, made primarily of fresh, foraged vegetables infused with the dominant Khmer flavours distinct from the dishes typically associated with Thailand. With stories of village and family life surrounding each dish, Alford One World Kitchenprovides insight into the ecological and cultural traditions out of which the cuisine of the region has developed.

One World Kitchen by Chris Knight: This book celebrates the cultural diversity of Canada. One World Kitchen features five passionate and engaging hosts each of whom represent one cuisine-Indian, Thai, Italian, South American and Japanese. This vibrant mix of traditions and ingredients is both a celebration of distinct heritage and a recognition that good food is best shared.



cookbook collageCornersmith by Alex Elliot-Howery and James Grant: Cornersmith serves up the recipes and methodologies used in the creation of the food that draws visitors from all over the world to the Cornersmith cafe in Sydney. Awarded best cafe in Sydney, Cornersmith is one of the most cutting edge food venues around, and has been likened to Ottolenghi. This the UK publication of the book released last month in Australia.

The Only Recipes You'll Ever Need by Tony Turnbull: Feeling a lack of inspiration in the kitchen? Tired of making the same recipes over and over again? This book will rescue you from that plight. Turnbull's brilliant cookery feature in The Times Saturday magazine - the only four recipes you'll ever need - has been a huge success from the moment it first appeared. Readers love the simplicity of the concept: four simple but delicious alternative recipes for the foods we really love to eat. Now you can have the complete set, plus new specially written recipes, all in one book.

Indian Slow Cooker by Neela Paniz: In this book, Chef Neela Paniz adapts curries, dals, vegetable and rice side dishes to the slow cooker including classics like Pork Vindaloo, Mixed Yellow Dal, and Black-Eyed Pea Curry. Indian Slow Cooker also features key accompaniments like chutneys, chapatis, raita and fresh Indian cheese.

Whole Food Slow Cooked by Olivia Andrews: This slow cooker book focuses on healthy foods, highlighting plenty of meat-free options, such as tamarind and pumpkin sambar or butter miso mushroom risotto, in adition to an array of curries including Southern Indian chicken and sweet Javanese beef. Whole Food Slow Cooked also features breakfast options Build Your Own Sandwichand desserts to round out the meal.

Build Your Own Sandwich: More Than 60,000 Sandwich Combos by Vicki Smallwood: This fun and practical guide to creating delicious and original sandwiches has literally thousands of combinations, and would be well suited to a beginning cook. The book is split into four sections - bread, sauces, fillings, and toppings - and cooks can mix and match elements by flipping the four cut pages to create their ideal sandwich. Classic sandwich combos such as the Reuben and the Elvis fit side-by-side with vegetarian, vegan, skinny, paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free options.



The K Club CookbookThe K Club Cookbook: Producer to Plate by Finbarr Higgins: 2016 is set to be a very special year for The K Club as it marks the 25th anniversary of the world-renowned Irish hotel and country club and to celebrate this milestone they are launching their first ever cookbook. The coffee-table tome will embody the elegance and sophisticated luxury of The K Club and will also celebrate the plethora of Irish artisan suppliers that chef Finbarr Higgins works closely with in creating the club's magnificent fare.



cookbook collageGelato Messina: The Creative Department by Nick Palumbo: Since opening in Sydney in 2002, Gelato Messina has set the benchmark for gelato in Australia. Gelato Messina provides detailed instructions for creating the eatery's most famous and elaborate gelato cakes. Plus, there is a whole chapter dedicated to weird and wonderful soft-serves.

Biota: Grow, Gather, Cook by James Viles: Viles, chef and owner of two-hatted Biota Dining in Bowral, New South Wales, has become one of Australia's most respected young chefs and restaurateurs. He champions the use of seasonal, ethical produce to create honest, pure and delicious dishes. In his first book, Viles invites readers to celebrate spectacular food created from the perfect balance of animal and plant life in the Southern Highlands.

Life in Balance by Donna Hay: Australia's most trusted home cook is celebrating a fresher approach to eating. Hay counters the confusing and often contradictary advice on what to eat with a realistic, sustainable and more balanced approach to fresher, healthier eating. Each chapter in Life in Balance  from has simple recipes enriched with nature's superfoods - think leafy greens, bright fresh berries, creamy nuts and nourishing grains.

Maggie Beer's Summer Harvest Recipes by Maggie Beer: This book from one of Australia's best loved cooks brings together all of her signature recipes from the summer chapter of Maggie's Harvest, including detailed descriptions of seasonal ingredients and inspiring accounts of memorable meals with family and friends. The recipes highlight Maggie's philosophy of using the freshest and best seasonal produce available in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, and treating it simply, allowing the natural flavours to speak for themselves.

cookbook collageDelicious. Feel Good Food by Valli Little: Another collection from a familiar voice features recipes aimed to make you feel good everyday. Here Valli Little brings her signature style to recipes that look and taste utterly indulgent, yet offer a balanced, more holistic approach to everyday eating and wellbeing. This is the tenth book from Little and the delicious team.

Ben's Meat Bible by Ben O'Donoghue: Ben's Meat Bible builds on the success of his series of books for people who love unfussy, easy food that's fresh, seasonal and tastes great. This beautiful full-colour paperback introduces cooks to O'Donoghue's spin on his favourite meat dishes from around the world. Barbecue lovers are once again well looked after, but there's more here for people who like to experiment with other cooking methods.

New Kitchen by Karen Martini: The way we cook and eat has changed dramatically over the past decade as people experiment with new dishes and ingredients. In New Kitchen, Karen Martini draws inspiration from around the globe as well as locally, and looks at the culinary factors influencing us all, from our love of wholefoods to our desire to learn how to make things from scratch once again.

A Simple Table: Fresh and Fabulous Recipes for Every Day by Michele Cranston: From one-pot cooking to a relaxed, weekend family meal on platters around the kitchen table, the recipes in A Simple Table are contemporary, uncomplicated and fresh, using accessible and interesting ingredients to create amazing tastes, textures and flavours. Throughout, there are notes that link to other recipes in the book, or give quick tips, shopping lists or ingredient information.

cookbook collageSummer on Fat Pig Farm by Matthew Evans: This book evokes images of lazy summer days filled with the bounty of the season. The foods are at once indulgent and rustic as gourmet farmer Matthew Evans showcases beautiful seasonal produce with simple recipes to help you bring summer into your kitchen.

Special Delivery: Favourite Recipes to Make and Take by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe: In Annabel Crabb's accidental second career as the host of political cooking show Kitchen Cabinet, she negotiates her way into the homes of Australian politicians, bringing dessert - the internationally recognised culinary code for "I come in peace." The book elaborates on the theme of food used as communication with recipes for knockout desserts as well as ideas for soups, salads, pastries, breads and other treats ideally suited to make and take.

Masu by Nic Watt: Japanese cooking demystified for the home cook; from Nic Watt of award-winning restaurant Masu. In addition to creative styling and design with accessible recipes, the book is also the story of Masu, a Japanese restaurant in Auckland that has won several awards, including Metro Restaurant of the Year 2014, in addition to receiving acclaim from diners.

Riverstone Kitchen Another Helping by Bevan Smith: The third cookbook from one of New Zealand's most recognised chefs and beloved rural restaurants, Another Helping features recipes for a variety of foods showcasing the best of modern New Zealand cooking.La Latina

La Latina: A Cook's Journey Through Latin America by Grace Ramirez: Venezulan-born New Zealand-based chef Grace Ramirez shares her interpretation of traditional recipes from throughout Latin America. Utilising readily available ingredients, Grace recreates the authentic tastes she grew up with in contemporary dishes full of bold flavours. In addition to recipes, the book contains fascinating tid-bits of information about each Latin American country's culinary history.Traditional Christmas Modern Christmas

The latest from Australian Women's Weekly Weekly:

Traditional Christmas Modern Christmas

Awesome Cakes for Kids

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Dana Cowin steps down as editor of Food & Wine

Dana Cowin cookbooks

There is yet another departure from a major food publication as Dana Cowin is stepping aside as editor of Food & Wine magazine, a post she has held for 21 years. She will retain a tie to the publication, however, as her new job will be "chief creative officer of Chefs Club International, the parent of Chefs Club by Food & Wine, a restaurant group with locations in Manhattan and Aspen, Colo. The restaurants are showcases for prominent chefs, notably those selected as "Best New Chefs" by the magazine."

Cowin will stay on at Food & Wine through mid-January to finish the March, 2015 issue. At Chefs Club, she will join culinary director Didier Elena, who worked with Alain Ducasse; chef Matthew Aita, formerly of Le Philosophe; and business development director Louise Vongerichten, daughter of Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

In addition to staying on through the March issue, Cowin will help select her successor at Food & Wine. Cowin said that she hadn't considered leaving until she was approached by Chef's Club president Stephane De Baets. "I'm surprised that I could find something new that's this exciting," she explained.

Old habits die hard

Danny Meyer

On Friday, Danny Meyer's restaurant The Modern in NYC began a new, "no-tipping" policy. It's part of a plan to make all of his Union Square Hospitality-run restaurants tip-free by the end of 2016. Meyer implemented the policy to level the playing field between wait staff and kitchen staff as the latter generally makes much less. But the new policy is meeting with some resistance, reports Grub Street.

The new, higher-priced menus all include the line "Please note that our prices are all-inclusive," and the receipts remind diners they've just eaten at a "no-tipping restaurant." There shouldn't be any confusion, but as a survey of diners shows, the policy is not being followed yet.

"We left a [$20] tip," one couple said. "We forced her. We left it and ran. [The server] was very polite and did not want to accept it, but we felt she had made such beautiful wine choices and she needed to be rewarded for her extra effort." A different guest said he's "a little opposed because I don't really know what's going into the hands of the staff," so he left a 30% tip.

Other restaurateurs are likely watching this situation closely. There has long been a debate over tipping policy in the U.S. In most states, wages for professions that customarily receive tips are much lower than the non-tipped minimum wage (as low as $2.13USD per hour). This makes tipping less of a reward for good service than part of the wage. Many groups have lobbied to change this situation, but only a handful of areas have done away with a tipping wage (but tips are still allowed and even encouraged).

A recent poll of New York City diners showed that they actually liked being able to tip, so it will be interesting to see if Meyer's new policy will be accepted. Says Meyer, "I don't have a crystal ball. We could be dead wrong on this thing." Would you welcome a change to a no-tipping policy?

Go crazy for cranberries

 Cranberry pepper jelly

Cranberry sauce from a can, wiggly and wearing signature lines around its circumference, was the only cranberry sauce I knew for decades. It wasn't until I had moved away from home before I discovered the fresh stuff, and I was instantly hooked on everything cranberry. No one is a bigger fan of fresh cranberries than Brad Leone, test kitchen manager for indexed magazine Bon Appetit. He shares his favorite cranberry creations for everything from appetizers to entrees

His first suggestion? Use cranberries in a braise: "Shake up the traditional onion-garlic-carrots-celery routine by adding a couple cups of cranberries to the pot. They add an unexpected brightness and astringency to the dish, the way citrus zest of a squeeze of lemon would." Another use that most people might shy away from involves raw cranberries. You may consider them too tart to eat raw, but Leone says they work great in salads, and you can use them to make a "quick no-cook sauce for meat by slicing them thinly, then tossing with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs-plus a drizzle of the sweetener of your choice."

Naturally the EYB Library is brimming with recipes that use fresh or frozen cranberries. You'll never have to settle for the overly sweet, jiggly sauce from a can again. What's your favorite cranberry creation?

Photo of Cranberry-pepper jelly from Bon Appétit Magazine

Julia Child's French kitchen for sale

Julia Child's kitchen in France

Want to own a piece of culinary history? Julia Child's French vacation cottage, complete with kitchen designed by Paul Child, is on the market for slightly less than $1 million. The home was built on land owned by Simone Beck, Child's friend and co-author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Called La Pitchoune (The Little One), "the 1,600-square-foot getaway is exactly what you'd hope of the world's first celebrity chef, who brought French cooking into the everyday American kitchen." It features Child's trademark pegboard kitchen storage, tall countertops, and plenty of light.

The vacation cottage was built in 1963 on property owned by her best friend, Simone Beck, who co-authored "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" with Child. They had a "handshake deal" agreeing that the Childs would give the house back to Beck and her family when they were done using it. Until recently, the cottage was used as a cooking school by an American named Kathie Alex, who knew and studied with Child and Beck. Health issues caused Alex to put the home on the open market - the first time it has been offered to the general public. 

Featured Cookbooks & Recipes

Finding the best recipes amongst the millions online is not easy - but you don't have to! The team here at Eat Your Books, searches for excerpts from indexed books and magazines and every week we bring you our latest finds. Every day recipes are added from the best blogs and websites.

As a member, you can also add your own favorite online recipes using the Bookmarklet. With EYB, you can have a searchable index of all your recipes in one place!

Happy cooking and baking everyone!

From UK books:

25 recipes from Eating Well Made Easy: Deliciously Healthy Recipes for Everyone, Every Day 
by Lorraine Pascale

17 recipes from  Heathcotes at Home by Paul Heathcote, indexed by an EYB member

27 recipes from BBC Good Food: 101 Cakes & Bakes by Mary Cadogan

From US books:

14 recipes from The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure by Alana Chernila
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25 recipes from The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking 
by Samantha Seneviratne

15 recipes from The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World
by Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez

67 recipes from Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen
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14 recipes from The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef's Recipes for Fun, Fearless Home Cooking by Amanda Freitag

10 recipes from Pieography: Where Pie Meets Biography: 42 Fabulous Recipes Inspired by 39 Extraordinary Women by Jo Packham, indexed by an EYB member

18 recipes from Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving by Michael McLaughlin

25 recipes from Thanksgiving 101: Foolproof Recipes for Turkey, Stuffings and Dressings, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, and More! by Rick Rodgers

17 recipes from The Thanksgiving Table: Recipes and Ideas to Create Your Own Holiday Tradition by Diane Morgan


The most Googled Thanksgiving recipes, state by state

Minnesota wild rice casserole

Last fall The New York Times generated a bit of controversy with its 50 dishes for 50 states Thanksgiving feast. Minnesotans were stymied by the selection of grape salad, a dish that very few people had even heard of, much less prepared for a holiday dinner. (Although I am not a native Minnesotan, I have lived here long enough to know that grape salad is not popular.) Other states were likewise perplexed or offended by the dishes chosen to represent their locales as well.

Those dishes were selected by someone who isn't even a resident of the state, which explains why some of the foods didn't fit very well. But the Times redeemed itself somewhat by also providing a list of the most Googled Thanksgiving recipes in each state. Presumably people in the state would search for recipes that they were actually going to serve for their holiday meal. The results do seem to better reflect regional preferences. 

In performing the research, the Google staff did not focus on the most popular dish in every state, because that would be "turkey" in all 50 states. Instead, they looked for more distinctive foods. The results reflect "how much more popular searches for [the listed food] were in a given a state than in the rest of the country during the week of Thanksgiving over the past 10 years. In Michigan, for example, "cheesy potatoes" is 9 times more commonly searched (relative to population size) than in the rest of the country."

In this list, Minnesota's top selection - wild rice casserole - is much more representative of a food that would actually be served at a holiday dinner. The second place search, Snickers salad, is also likely to find its way onto many tables (but it won't be on mine). One mystery remains, however - why would anyone Google their recipes instead of searching on EYB?

Photo of Minnesota wild rice casserole with pecans from The Washington Post

Instagrammers profiting from food photos

Iphone food photo

It's no secret that many foodies post pictures of their meals to various social media accounts including Instagram. You may not realize, however, that more and more of these people are profiting from the habit, reports The Wall Street Journal.

That's right, you can turn those snapshots into money - or at least a free meal. Olivia Young, who works for a group that operates restaurants such as Vaucluse and Osteria Morini, reports that the company has started to invite Instagram users for meals and also plans to pay some to post photos. "We eat with our eyes," she said. "For a couple of hundred bucks for one person, I'm going to have potentially 500,000 people seeing brunch at Morini."

In this new world of gramming for money and food, there are no hard and fast rules. The "Instagram entrepreneurs exist in a gray area of independence and promotion, editorial taste-making and public relations. Each account draws its own lines, which are rarely spelled out for followers: Some won't accept payment or free food; others will accept meals but not money; others will only post for a fee." So the next time you see a tantalizing food photo, remember that it just might be earning the person who posted it a free lunch.

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!