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After 25 years, Food Arts says farewell

Food Arts magazine

It's always sad to see a much-loved food publication come to an end. It seems to be happening with increasing frequency in the digital age, and the latest to fold is indexed magazine Food Arts. According to Inside Scoop SF, the magazine's September issue is its swan song. There is no word yet on what will happen to its online recipe collection.

Created in 1989 by husband and wife team Michael and Ariane Batterberry, Food Arts was aimed at the fine-dining restaurant community and featured sumptuous photo spreads paired wtih in-depth recipe tutorials. (Former staffer Julie Mautner penned a touching tribute to Michael Batterberry after he passed away in 2010.)

The Food Arts Facebook page provides this simple farewell: "It is with great sadness that, after 25 years, we announce the closing of Food Arts magazine. We have loved working with everyone in the food industry-our writers, photographers, chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, and everyone else we've raised a glass with along the way. Thank you for all of your loyalty and support throughout the years. We wish you all the very best. Keep the kitchen fires burning!"

A new place to find joy

Recipes from the Joy of Cooking

If you named the most influential cookbooks of all time, Joy of Cooking would appear near the top of the list. By itself, the 1974 edition is the fifth most popular book in the EYB Library. If you add together the number of 1974 and 1997 editions on member Bookshelves, the total far surpasses that of the number one cookbook in the Library (Plenty by Ottolenghi).

Recently descendents of Joy's original authors, Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, have created a blog that carries on the family tradition. We're delighted to announce that EYB has indexed the blog, bringing the total number of indexed Joy of Cooking recipes to 8,870. This total includes 3 editions of Joy of Cooking plus the blog. 

In addition to recipes, the Joy of Cooking website contains notes on recipes and ingredients, plus the fascinating history behind the original cookbook, which was born out of the grief Irma von Starkloff Rombauer faced after her husband's suicide in 1930. Irma found a sense of purpose as she spent more than a year assembling a collection of favorite recipes which she published it at her own expense. She sold copies of her book out of her apartment for a few years while rethinking the entire process of recipe writing. Finally "she hit on a novel format with the ingredients lists worked into the directions, now known as the action method." Irma and Marion continued to revise the book through World War II and beyond, changing to accommodate new ingredients and cultural influences while retaining many familiar favorites. The practice continues to the present day, where the fourth generation is preserving the family legacy while introducing the Joy of Cooking to a new audience.

Photos of Golden cherry tomato and ginger jam, Vietnamese bún bowls, and One-eyed bouillabaisse with bacon and peas from indexed blog Joy of Cooking

Ottolenghi fans - it's here!

Ottolenghi Plenty More

The wait is over for Ottolenghi fans!  Plenty More is now available - at least in the UK.  You'll have to wait until Sept 26 in Australia and Oct 14 in the USA for your own editions.  Though you can now check out the recipe index on EYB - 156 recipes, continuing the Plenty tradition of innovative ways to cook vegetables.

Because the recipes were first published in the Guardian newspaper in the UK, many of the recipes have Online Recipe links - so you can start cooking now before your copy of the book arrives.

You can get a signed copy of the book from the Ottolenghi website.  And if you are feeling extravagent, you can order a Plenty More hamper for £100 (about $160) which includes ingredients used in the book and a signed copy.

If you are feeling lucky you can enter to win a signed copy of the book and a tote bag on the Random House Happy Foodie website.  And also read about Yotam's own cookbook collection and his favorites.

Finally, if you want to see Yotam Ottolenghi in person, check out our list of his tour dates. This will be updated so check back regularly - he may be coming to your town.

Favourites across the board

Tessa KirosTessa Kiros combines her love of food, travel, and world cultures to create international best-selling cookbooks. Born in London to a Finnish mother and Greek-Cypriot father, she and her family moved to South Africa when Tessa was four. At the age of 18, she travelled the world, learning all she could about the world's cultures and traditions, especially about food. Her latest publiciation, Tessa Kiros - The Recipe Collection, is a selection of recipes from five of her previous cookbooks: Falling Cloudberries, Apples for Jam, Piri Piri Starfish, Venezia, and Food from Many Greek Kitchens. (Australian and UK members can enter our contest for their chance to win one of six copies of the book.) EYB posed several questions to Tessa about her cookbook, travels, and life in Tuscany with her husband and two children.

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You have written 7 cookbooks (plus one journal), with over 1,100 recipes (we know because we have indexed them all on Eat Your Books!). How hard was it to decide on which ones made it into The Recipe Collection? What were your criteria for deciding?

It was favourites across the board, a collection of recipes that could stand up alone in a separate book. I wanted a fair selection of soups, fish, desserts and so on. It was a collaboration between my publisher Murdoch Books and myself.

You have an interesting heritage. How has this impacted your food tastes?

I love the food I have grown up with, in particular my mother's gravadlax, herrings, cinnamon and cardamom buns and my father's lemon and oregano lamb. I think I have grown up learning to eat foods from different heritages and to really appreciate those. These are the things I really value in my work, in research and when collecting my recipes.

You have also travelled a lot, living in lots of different countries. What has been the effect of each place on your cooking?

Well, it has really been integrated into our way of life here and the way I approach things. It makes me want to be able to recreate the things I lived and saw elsewhere in my kitchen wherever I am. I like to mix things like fresh coriander, avocado and lime into my everyday life in Italy for example, where these ingredients are not used much by the Italians. I also like to baste my meat with barbecue marinades and this mixing of flavours makes me want to travel more. I love to learn the way things are done from the people of the place. I think it has made me appreciate the singular approach to cooking of a culture, as well as an eclectic approach.

Is there anywhere you have travelled to or lived that you really did not care for the food?

Nothing comes to mind, nowhere that I have stayed for longer than a day but I can't really comment on places that I just drove through or passed by. Most places that I have stayed long enough to lift up a knife and fork I have found interesting because I think my interest is also beyond just what hits the palate necessarily. I am fascinated by why people eat what they do and when, and what they do with the products their land gives them and so on.

Now you have children, how has your travelling changed?

Ha! I always say the thing I love about Italian school is the 3 months summer break! It's such an opportunity. Apart from this, it can be a challenge especially as I like to take my family with when I travel, so we might go for a shorter time, or sometimes I will travel alone if necessary for work.

Are your children as passionate about food as you are? Do they eat the same food as you and your husband?

They love food, but they definitely have their own tastes. They like jam shortbreads, spaghetti with meatballs, huge schnitzels, scaloppini al limone, stuffed vegetables, big roasted dishes with potatoes, Mexican grills wrapped in tortillas, spiced yoghurt on everything, croissants....things like this. We eat mostly the same food, but I know what they won't appreciate. They do not appreciate things like liver, small birds, tripe and innards but they certainly appreciate the seasonal things here and the way people eat, so love it for example when asparagus come into season here. They also very much appreciate tasting things in new places when we travel and getting to know the food there.

Your books have been influenced by the places you have lived. Which people have also been an influence?

Many people. My mother and father. My Cypriot grandfather and my Finnish grand uncle. Corinne Young and Liz - wonderful cooks who I worked with in South Africa in a Mediterranean restaurant. Ketty in Athens who has a wonderful restaurant cafe (Avissinia) where I worked when she first opened. Angela Dwyer - a truly fantastic chef who first took me in to the kitchen in London. She is in Wales now and still a big inspiration. Herve Pronzato - a French chef I worked with in Athens. My mother-in-law here in Tuscany and many more people I have met along the way. It is never-ending really!

Is there any one recipe in The Recipe Collection that is a personal favourite?

I love the prawns with lemon, piri piri, garlic and feta. Also lamb with lemon and oregano. They have been part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Cookbook giveaway - Tessa Kiros - The Recipe Collection

Tessa Kiros - The Recipe Collection brings together over 150 of Tessa's favourite recipes reflecting her love of many cuisines and cultures. Above all, it highlights her passion for family and celebrates good, simple food. (Learn more about her travels and life in Tuscany in our author interview.) Recipes in the book cover all occasions: breakfasts, smaller bites, soups, salads, pasta, gnocchi & risotto, seafood, meat, vegetables, and desserts.  We are delighted to offer six copies of the book to EYB members in the UK and Australia.

Enter by clicking on the contest below. This contest is limited to entrants with addresses in Australia and the UK only (three copies of the book will go to winners in each country). Please note that while one of the entry options is to answer a question in the comments, you must enter through Rafflecopter or your entries won't be counted. The contest ends October 9, 2014.

David Lebovitz on his favorite cookbooks

David Lebovitz

The Perfect Scoop and My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz grace many EYB member Bookshelves, and his indexed blog is also quite popular. If you're curious about which cookbooks he turns to for his cooking and baking, look no further. Serious Eats sits down with Lebovitz to discuss his cookbook collection.

We learn that the perfect cookbook for Lebovitz isn't just one with a lot of glossy photographs; rather, he feels that a "cookbook should have a reason to exist. I'm interested in the story of the book and the author. Why did they write this book? What is their unique perspective on the topic? What are they bringing to the subject that's new, interesting, or relevant? What makes this person special? I want to hear the author's voice when I read a cookbook." 

Cookbooks that meet these criteria for Lebovitz include books by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi, Alice Waters, and Judy Rodgers. Currently he is inspired by books that explore different cuisines and cultures yet manage to make them accessible. This includes Pomegranates & Pine Nuts by Bethany Kehdy, Simple Thai Food by Leela Punyaratabandhu, and Coming Home to Sicily by Fabrizia Lanza.

When it comes to desserts, Lebovitz has been influenced by Maida Heatter, Nick Malgieri, Alice Medrich, and Renato Poliafito, among others. He notes they write with "the right amount of clarity, without making one terrified to bake something. I've learned a lot just reading their books, and have been inspired by them."

Read the full article at Serious Eats.

Storage wars

Mini caprese skewers

Nothing says summer like fresh tomatoes. And apparently nothing stirs up debate like how to store them. Alton Brown is adamant: never, ever store your fresh tomatoes in the refrigerator. Over at Serious Eats, Daniel Gritzer says unequivocally that you should refrigerate tomatoes and ignore anyone who says otherwise. Why is there such a difference in opinion from two respected sources?

Brown's reasoning has to do with a key flavor compound in tomatoes known as (Z)-3-hexenal. If this compound drops below 50 degrees F, it "is just going to flip itself off like a chemical switch ... permanently." Conversely, Gritzer claims that tomatoes left on the counter can get "too ripe, losing flavor and texture in the process."

Earlier this summer Gritzer performed a short experiment on the effects of storing supermarket tomatoes in the refrigerator vs. on the counter. The results of that testing led to another, more involved test on fresh heirloom tomatoes from the farmers' market. The result? If they had a preference (approximately half didn't), testers favored the refrigerated tomatoes. To explain this apparent discrepancy, Gritzer opines that while optimal storage temperature for tomatoes is between 55 and 70 degrees F, not many home kitchens remain that cool during the summer. Therefore fully-ripened tomatoes that sit out at temperatures above 70 degrees lose both flavor and texture. The refrigerator protects them from excess heat.

His advice is to only buy as many tomatoes as you will eat in one or two days. If your tomatoes are not fully ripe, let them ripen before moving them to colder storage. Once ripe, store tomatoes for up to a day at room temperature, but then move them to the fridge. Another tip: if you have a wine fridge, store your ripe tomatoes there, because it isn't as cold as your regular refrigerator.

Where do you weigh in on the storage debate - do you ever refrigerate tomatoes?

Photo of Mini Caprese skewers from indexed blog Skinnytaste

Weeknight cookbooks: two approaches

The days may still be long, with a hot still afternoon and crickets in the middle, but the pace of school and work is picking up for everyone.  Cooking's more of a crunch.  And though you sometimes get an inspiration for dinner, it's usually not at 5:45pm when you walk in the door from work or driving your kid back from soccer practice.

A couple new fall cookbooks aim to serve the busy family cook.  America's Test Kitchen, as usual, takes the maximalist approach with The New Family Cookbook, a tenth-anniversary reissue of The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  (Is it my imagination, or are cookbooks considered "classic" getting younger and younger?  If you find yourself suddenly needing a straight-ahead recipe for muffins or a stir-fry or chicken breast, you can be sure you'll find one here.

One Pot, from the Martha Stewart Living team, is just a little over a tenth the size (120 vs 1100 recipes), but some may be drawn to its focus.  It's got stews, roasts, pastas, casseroles - all sorts of dinners you can throw together in a single cooking vessels with a little finesse.  And if the vegetables sometimes get short-shrifted?  It's not too hard to throw some salad greens on the side and call it healthy.

One thing that's kind of funny to me is that both jackets feature a cast iron skillet.  That's a theme these days.  The 21st-century cast iron skillet has somehow transformed from rustic icon into shorthand for "capable home cook".  Plus, it photographs better than non-stick and looks artier than stainless steel.  Who knew?

Groundbreaking women in food and drink

Influential women in foodThe number of women helming food-related companies and otherwise influencing the food industry has been growing steadily over the past few decades. Fortune magazine (in partnership with Food & Wine) takes a fascinating look at top 25 innovative women in food and drink.

While some of the women are well-known, others effect their influence from behind the scenes, like Liz Myslik, Executive VP for Brand Management of Fresca Foods Inc. That company "partners with natural food brands...to help them grow by handling the manufacturing and supply chain side of their businesses."

The list includes women in diverse roles, including women in food technology like Kellee James, CEO of Mercaris, maker of an online trading plaform used by the organic commodities market; and filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig, whose most recent effort is the film Fed Up. Nonprofit founders like Ruth Oniang'o of Rural Outreach Africa and public policy leaders like Margo Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, are also recognized.

The beverage industry is well-represented, with many winery owners and the co-founder of popular New Belgium Brewing all making the list. Naturally, several chefs and food television personalities feature prominently in the rankings. EYB members will recognize many of these women, such as Christina Tosi of Milk Bar fame; Kylie Kwong, who helms Sydney restaurant Billy Kwong, Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, and Nancy Silverton, who recently won a James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef.

Butter's popularity has a downside

Butter

U.S. butter supplies (known as "stock" in dairy economist parlance) are 40 percent lower this year than at the same time last year. This dip prompted some economists to speculate there might be a butter shortage for the holiday season. NPR Food reports that we can breathe a sigh of relief, as there appears to be no imminent shortage. However, we should expect to pay more for butter in the next several months.

Not only has demand for butter skyrocketed--Americans are now using nearly 50% more than they did in 2000--but rising exports have also contributed to the drawdown of butter stock. The U.S. went from almost zero butter exports to about 10% over the last decade. Part of that increase is due to a recent drought in New Zealand, normally a big butter exporter. U.S. farmers filled that gap, and also found new markets in north African countries like Morocco and Egypt. 

So why isn't a shortage imminent? There are many factors that come into play. One is that people have a price ceiling when it comes to butter, so when the price rises too high demand will decrease. Other variables to consider include Russia's import ban, which could potentialy hold prices down as exporters flood other markets with product. In the final analysis, it looks like we will have enough butter for holiday pies--even if it might cost more. 

Have you noticed higher butter prices where you live? Will high butter prices have an impact on your holiday baking?

Photo of the best way to soften butter, fast from Food52 by Alice Medrich

 

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