2011: The missing cuisine

The last week of the year has a special gift for the cookbook-obsessed: perspective. From our vantage point at the very end of a long, busy year of food publishing, we can see trends that weren't so obvious before.  There was a great swell of Mediterranean cookbooks, including a sudden spate of rustic Italian.   There were long, loving glimpses… read more

Holiday food traditions

Just for fun this morning, I ran a little EYB search (Occasion: Christmas; Course: Main Course)  to see what holiday proteins our cookbooks feature.  The results read like some kind of crazy, carnivorous 12 Days of Christmas (I know I'm leaving out our vegetarian friends here):  85 beef joints82 whole turkeys81 pork joint77 whole ducks or geese62 hams, cooked or… read more

Threshold ingredients

We all love "usable" cookbooks, but "usable" is different for everybody.  And one big part of "usable," I've come to realize, is the availability of specific ingredients.  Each of us carries with us an internal dictionary of the ingredients we consider normal--the ones we know how to get without thinking about it--and a sort of anti-dictionary consisting of the ones… read more

3 ways with ground beef

Over the weekend, we got the yearly beefer delivery--1/4 of a steer, or approximately 125 pounds.  Some 25 or 30 pounds of that is ground beef, which I *could* just turn into hamburgers or chili.  Or, I could hit the new cookbooks with my pal EYB! and see what insights they have to offer. Spicy Glazed Mini Meatloaf, from Serve Yourself by… read more

T. Susan Chang

We've hijacked Susie's blog and we're interviewing her.  Susie (T. Susan Chang) has been reviewing cookbooks for years for NPR and the Boston Globe - there aren't many people around who know as much about cookbooks as Susie. Now she's become an author with the release this month of her own beautiful collection of stories, A Spoonful of Promises, about food and love, with 49 recipes. … read more

Thanksgiving sides–some better ones.

If you haven't yet drawn up your menu for Thursday, you've still probably made it as far as pinning down which turkey recipe you're going to use.  A lot of us, though, don't bother worrying about the vegetables because...they're vegetables!  It's enough work dealing with the bird, the stuffing, the pies.  The same goes for starchy sides. But with so… read more

More new features

As well as personal recipe indexing - we've added a few more features that we hope you'll enjoy. EYB has become a lot more colorful with the addition of images for your online recipes.  If you're using the "online recipes" filter you'll see images for the recipes and when you're in the details page you can zoom out to a larger… read more

Add your personal recipes and clippings to your Bookshelf

Do you have stacks of recipe clippings that you've saved from magazines; been given by friends; printed out from the internet?  They seemed so delicious at the time but, once they go into that big, black hole - called the 'clippings file/box/drawer' they seem to disappear once they're swallowed up by your filing system.  Trying to recall what that recipe… read more

Roundup season

I love this time of year, and not just because of the cool air and the glowing woodstove.  No, what's special about early November is that it's Holiday Roundup season, when I get to pick the top 10 cookbooks of the year for NPR.  (I also do the Boston Globe's roundup, which tends to vary a bit more in number… read more

Post cards from the powerless

As you may have heard, Halloween came early to New England this weekend, in the form of an out-of-season snowstorm of heroic proportions.  It wasn't the the storm that was so bad, but the damage it inflicted on the trees, their boughs still laden with unfallen foliage--perfect for trapping heavy, wet snow.  All night long we heard the CRACK! of… read more

500,000 recipes indexed

500,000 recipes indexed - that's a lot of data inputting! Many people assume that this is an automated process - no, it's all done manually!  It's the only way we can provide such precise and accurate recipe searches by ingredients and categories.  No other recipe search engine does this!  We have a wonderful team of indexers headed by Deborah who take on any challenge… read more

Tracey Zabar

Susie interviews Tracey Zabar about cookbooks, kitchen favorites, and what makes a cookie tick.   I confess it: the cookie is my favorite dessert, any time of year, any day of the week, and (if we're being honest here) practically any time of day. I love cookies because they have a glorious variety of textures. I love them because they come… read more

3 ways of looking at a shrimp

Here's an interesting exercise I thought we could try.  Let's take 3 up-to-the-minute cookbooks at random off the pile and see how they address an everyday ingredient. Say shrimp. Shrimp Biryani (Indian Shrimp and Rice), from The Food52 Cookbook.  It's a fairly simple one-dish meal, with an attractive photograph at the end.  It has 18 ingredients if you count all the spices;… read more

Ground swell

Here's a completely new cookbook micro-trend:  ground meat.  To me, it seems surprising because meat cookbooks have been, if anything, increasingly DIY in recent years. There are smoke-and-cure books, and sausage books, and books dedicated to one kind of animal, and books dedicated to offal.  Diagrams of livestock sectioned into their primal cuts abound.  But only now do we see… read more

Choosing the best cookbooks–the 7 questions

Well, I've just about emerged on the other side of my first holiday cookbook roundup, and this time, I was unusually aware of my decision-making process.  You know how you're standing in front of the cookbook shelves at the store, leafing through cookbooks and trying to figure out which one to take home, and you feel paralyzed and uncertain, and… read more

Chef cookbooks, two ways

This week, two cookbooks from the Big Apple got me thinking about what it means to write a cookbook, when you're a famous chef.  It's certainly not the first time I've given thought to the subject--most recently, we looked at the new phenomenon of chefs' home-cooking cookbooks. The two I wanted to look at today, however, define the opposite ends of… read more

All tied up with a bow

Lately I've noticed a new subgenre in cookbooks, hovering somewhere between "D.I.Y.", "Entertaining," and "Baking/Pastry".  It's that tiny category of books focusing on homemade gifts from your kitchen.  You know, the box of holiday truffles, the little jar of blackberry jam, the syrup you tapped from your own trees. The first time I saw a book of this kind was… read more

Cookbooks or apps what will it be?

There seems to be a lot of online debate in the last few days on what the future holds for cookbooks.  The most exciting article for us, because EYB was the focus and it was carried around the globe, was the Associated Press article by Michele Kayal.  One of our most enthusiastic members, Mary-Claire van Leunen does a great job promoting the benefits… read more

Looking south, with flavor

Remember a few weeks ago when we were thinking about what defines "American" cooking?  I don't think we arrived at any conclusions, but what an interesting conversation!  This week, a cluster of books forced me to recognize that even the term "American" is hard to agree upon. What prompted this thought was the rapid upsurge of Latino or Latin American… read more

Famous at Home

This past week, I began putting together a preview of the fall and winter cookbooks I'm looking forward to--you'll see it soon in this space.  As I was paging through press releases and stacks of advance copies and catalogue lists, I couldn't help noticing something.  Here's a short list of what I noticed.  I'm pretty sure you'll see the same… read more

New book choices

You may not have seen so much as a single leaf turn, but fall is here in the cookbook world.   And what a fall it is shaping up to be!  There will be hundreds and hundreds of titles, as usual, but even a small selection will capture the breadth, depth, and grandiosity of what's coming out in the next few… read more

Someday books

I think we all have cookbooks we keep around and never use.  Books all about appetizers, say, but who has time to entertain?  Books on Malaysian cuisine, for the day we find a bigger Asian grocery, one that stocks the ingredients.  Books on butchering hogs, because, well, you never know.  And books on making your own beer, which mostly remind… read more

“American cooking” – what’s it to you?

A fat package in the mail got me thinking this week.  It was The Great American Cookbook, by Clementine Paddleford--a revised edition of an older Rizzoli publication, How America Eats.  I peeked inside and saw curried potato salad from Arkansas, apple muffins from Washington, oyster pie from New York, borscht from Michigan.  I saw sauerbraten from Colorado and barbecued shrimp from Hawaii.… read more

When we cook, we cook alone

Jeff Keys' ruminative author piece had me thinking about the solitude of cooks--not just chefs like Keys, who bear the responsibility for feeding and pleasing tables and tables of visitors every night, but home cooks too. Personally, I like company in the kitchen.  It takes the edge off after a long day, and it makes the expectation we all face--coming up with… read more

Cookbook Voyeurism!! Install the EYB Widget

Have you ever clicked on another member's username to see the list of books they own?  It's the next best thing to standing in front of their bookcase.  Now we've made it easier for you to browse 1,000s of other members' Bookshelves, and compare them with your own collection.  We've made several improvements to the profile page and will continue… read more
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