February 2013 cookbook roundup

This month we're introducing a new feature to the EYB website - a cookbook roundup. Every month Susie Chang will be reviewing new releases and noting trends. And she may also occasionally throw in a review of a "not-quite cookbook." We're arranging for similar roundups like Susie's for books published in the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, but until we formally… read more

Cookbook award season is here!

Now that the Oscars are over we can turn our attention to cookbook award season. Two have already been announced, the Gourmand and the Food52 Piglet Contest, but the two most prestigious are coming up - the James Beard Foundation and the IACP. And the IACP is especially exciting. Below you'll see the list for the cookbook finalists, but first we wanted to… read more

An ironic viewpoint of the horsemeat scandal

  We've been avoiding commenting on the horsemeat scandal. First, it's hard sitting in the U.S. to really judge how much of a problem this is (political hyperbole knows no geographic boundaries) and, second, the revelations never seem to stop. Somehow, though, when IKEA's iconic meatballs get involved, it seems futile to not at least recognize the situation. Given the… read more

Garlic meets the microwave – quickly peeling or roasting a head of garlic

Here's a quick tip from Chow for a Monday morning. Heat a head of garlic in a microwave for about 20 seconds and the cloves will slide right out of their skins  - no mess and no sticky problem. This video demonstrates. And while we're on the subject of microwaving garlic, check out the Kitchn's tip for roasting garlic in… read more

Winging it

I was leafing through the new Nigella Lawson book the other day, when I came across this recipe:  Prosciutto-wrapped grissini.  Grissini, as you probably know, are breadsticks. The recipe listed two ingredients - I will leave you to guess which.   The directions were one (1) sentence long. It was a long sentence, because it instructed you not only to… read more

An Interview with Clifford A. Wright

We recently had a chance to chat with Clifford A. Wright. Clifford, a specialist in Mediterranean cuisines, was a winner of the James Beard Cookbook of the Year and Beard Award for the Best Writing on Food for his 2000 cookbook, A Mediterranean Feast. He just published a new cookbook, One-Pot Wonders, which Susie reviewed in her Cookbook roundup, stating "What… read more

Pies in the face and James Bond

This weekend we're honoring the Oscars with great food-related movie moments. Yesterday we wrote about The best food movies and movie scenes. Today we're presenting memorable food fights and a tribute to 50 years of James Bond. Food Republic recently published 10 of Our Favorite Movie Foodfights, inviting readers to "get ready to get dirty." Here's their list: Homicidal tomatoes… read more

The best food movies and movie scenes

We're doing a two-part food and movie blog this weekend in honor of the Oscars. Today we're looking at two compilations - from Serious Eats  of  their favorite food movies  and Boston.com's collection of chefs's favorite movie scenes. In 12 of Our Favorite Food Movies, Serious Eats lists movies that are either about food or have great food scenes. Here's… read more

Sous vide – is it more than just boil-in-a-bag?

Sous vide has been a restaurant cooking technique for many years. For anyone who is not sure what sous vide is, it's a process of cooking food in a vacuum-sealed bag.  The food is then cooked in a precise temperature-controlled water bath. There are several advantages: reliability - the same moist results every time; cooking to the exact desired temperature -… read more

The best way to store lemons

America's Test Kitchen Feed recently  tackled one of the kitchen's basic questions: How to best store lemons? It's tempting (and cheaper) to buy lemons in bulk, but then how to keep them juicy? In We Prove It: The Best Way To Store Lemons, they compared the results between storing whole lemons in an unsealed container,  in a zipper-lock bag with 1/4… read more

Street food vs. home cooking

If you've picked up an ethnic cookbook lately, chances are you've seen one of two phrases either in the title, subtitle,or "teaser copy":  home cooking or street food.  As in Hugo Ortega's Street Food of Mexico or Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking.   What exactly does a publisher mean to convey by using one of those two phrases,… read more

Fish Wars

NPR recently pursued an indepth investigation of the Marine Stewardship Council, an organization which certifies seafood as good for the environment. In their three-part series, Under the Label: Sustainable Seafood, NPR reports that  "as more retailers promise to sell only sustainable-labeled seafood, the program is certifying fisheries that don't deserve it." The MSC is a non-profit, non-government organization that provides a sustainable… read more

The Piglet cookbook contest

Since we are confident that our readers love cookbooks, we wanted to make certain that people are aware of Food52's Piglet contest. It's a bracketed tournament of cookbooks, where they choose 16 notable cookbooks from the previous year and have them square off for the Piglet trophy. They ask a top food writer or chef to judge between two cookbooks. The… read more

Jell-O never ceases to amaze

What's not to love about Jell-O? Well, awhile ago we wrote a blog about the ways people have abused Jell-O over the years (see Abusing Jell-O vs. respecting it) but this week (International Jell-O week) we wanted to join with BuzzFeed in celebrating all the ways - many unexpected - that Jell-O have contributed to our lives. Here are a… read more

Truly awful cooking results

We've all had kitchen disasters, but hopefully never as bad as the ones that BuzzFeed so graphically illustrates in 37 People Who Are Worse At Cooking Than You Are. Here are a few of our favorites - check them all out for reassurance that your kitchen disasters can - and have - been surpassed: (Check out yesterday's blog, Tips for easy… read more

Tips for easy cake icing

If you're an experienced cake froster (icer), this blog probably isn't for you. But for those of us who ice cakes only on special occasions (Valentine's Day, birthdays, etc.) it doesn't hurt to be reminded of some basic frosting rules that will truly make a difference. After all, our EYB members have over 600 cake cookbooks in their collections (750 of… read more

More than just the recipes.

I'm just back from the Cookbook Conference in New York, where EYB's Jane Kelly and I sat on panels and hobnobbed with cookbook authors, publishers, marketers, and others involved in food.  It was a good time, and a chance to meet with many people we work with but don't often get to see, working from our New England fastnesses. On… read more

Is food more fashionable than fashion?

Over at the Huffington Post, Martha Stewart reflects on the possibility that food may be the new fashion. As she writes in her introduction to Food is the New Fashion: "The notion that 'you are what you eat' extends beyond the virtues of a nutritious, well-balanced diet. These days, it often seems that you are what you purchase in the… read more

How not to impress a food lover

Thanks to BuzzFeed, and just in time for Valentine' Day, here are several no-no's if you're going on a first date with a food lover. Check out the post for the rationale behind each item: Don't choose a super-fancy restaurant Don't choose a concept restaurant Don't make someone you ask out choose a restaurant Don't be rude to anyone who… read more

Alton Brown’s 5 most important kitchen tools

Serious Eats has been publishing a series of interviews with Alton Brown that are each, in their own way, quite interesting. We wrote about one of them, Will recipes become living things?, in December, and we've been meaning to highlight another one that was published last month: Alton Brown's 5 Essential Pieces of Kitchen Equipment.  We wanted to note this interview… read more

Celebrating the year of the snake

This coming Sunday begins the Chinese New Year. The Chinese calendar is a lunar/solar calendar and other names for this festival - by far the biggest in the Chinese calendar - are the Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival. The celebration begins on the new moon on the first day of the new year (Feb. 10 this year) and ends… read more

Borrow your seeds from the public library

We assume since our members are avid cooks that many of you are also avid gardeners - the two often go hand-in-hand. And, at least up here in the cold environs, it's now the perfect time to plan a garden. So here's an idea that NPR recently reported about that struck us as a win-win idea. According to How To… read more

The cookbook index in the age of EYB

I don't know about you, but Eat Your Books has radically changed my relationship with the cookbook index. You remember the old days.  Say you needed a recipe for quail.  You'd go to your bookshelf and try to guess which books were most likely to have quail - books that might be fancy enough, or odd enough, or retro enough,… read more

When can you claim a recipe as your own?

Last month The L.A. Times published an article that delved into a thorny problem in food editing - who actually owns a recipe? When can you claim a recipe as your own? In The complicated case of the simple cookie The Times described how a rosemary apricot bar cookie had been declared the winner of a recent baking contest. Several readers wrote in… read more

When bad reviews happen to good people

I've been reviewing cookbooks for some 12 years now.  Every once in a while, I write a critical review.  It doesn't happen terribly often - maybe 2 or 3 times a year, a small fraction of the total.   There's a reason bad reviews are infrequent: if a book looks really unpromising, my editor and I generally just don't consider… read more
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