Artisan's new cookbook line

Artisan cookbooks

When you visit a bookstore, you will find plenty of high quality cookbooks with prices to match, plus heaping displays of low cost cookbooks of dubious quality, and precious little in between. A new cookbook line from publisher Artisan Books is aiming to change that situation

Called Artisanal Kitchen, the line includes three titles released this June with more to follow in the fall.  The books, modestly priced at $12.95 USD, are intended to appeal to both new readers and new retailers. The publisher's editorial director, Lia Ronnen, said that bookstores are devoting less and less space to higher-priced cookbooks because the stores feel like they are "showrooming for Amazon." 

The goal of the Artisanal Kitchen line is to combine the quality that is the hallmark of Artisan Books "with exceptional photography and exceptional production value", all at a price that appeals to retailers and cookbook enthusiasts alike. The books are thinner than most higher-priced books in the genre, each containing about 100 recipes, just over half of the industry average. 

Even though these cookbooks are based on the "impulse buy" of the discount books mentioned above, they will be more sophisticated than others you might find stacked near the checkout line. "This is a specific chef applying a specific technique to his food," Ronnen said, of Andrew Feinberg, co-author of the first three books. "There's something to be learned from these cookbooks."

Artisan wanted the books to be not only affordable but also approachable. Over the past few years, says Ronnen, the market has become "bloated with restaurant cookbooks that are not written with the home cook in mind." Pizza, pasta, and vegetables are "what we go to," she said. "It's how most of us are eating at home on a regular basis."

Jenny mentioned the first titles released under this imprint in the June cookbook roundup. The three books - The Artisanal Kitchen: PastaThe Artisanal Kitchen: Vegetables, and The Artisanal Kitchen: Pizza - were written by Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens, the owners of Franny's restaurant in Brooklyn, and New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark. The recipes in these volumes originally appeared in Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian. Later this year, Artisan is releasing three additional titles: Holiday Cookies by Alice Medrich,  Holiday Cocktails by Nick Mautone, and Party Food by Susan Spungen. 

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