100 is the magic number

cookbook collageBrowse the EYB Library long enough and you're certain to stumble across the number 100 in a cookbook title. There are over 3,000 centuplicate cookbooks in the Library, and this year there are a few big names who are featuring 100 in their cookbooks. Emeril Lagasse has a new book due out this October, in which he distills his storied career into 100 recipes.

Winnowing decades of cooking down to this relatively small number proved difficult for Emeril, who told Publishers Weekly "I'd be writing the recipe and talking about the story and why it's special to me, and my team would ask, 'OK but is it special enough to make the cut?' In the beginning, it was a frustrating process and I thought they just didn't get it. Problem was, by the end of my first list it was about 400 recipes. It was really hard to pick out just 100."

America's Test Kitchen is going against type in its latest cookbook. While ATK often includes hundreds (even a thousand) recipes in each book, the new cookbook (out in October) contains just 100 essential recipes. ATK's Jack Bishop says about the smaller cookbook: "It's a snapshot, but it's meant to provoke curiosity and to get people cooking." ATK has divided the book into three sections: Absolute Essentials like Breaded Pork Chops and Blueberry Pie; Surprising Essentials, like Polenta and Grilled Pork Tenderloin; and Global Essentials, like Vegetable Curry and Pho.

Also riding the 100 recipe wave this year are Mina Holland, whose The World on a Plate features one hundred recipes from forty countries, and Food52 with Genius Recipes, which boasts 100 recipes that "will change the way you cook." In July, Paul Hollywood is set to release a new edition of 2004's 100 Great Breads. It just goes to show that the 100 recipe cookbook is not a passing fad.

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