Cooking with words

An article entitled Dreams of Cooking Behind Barbed Wire passed through my newsfeed earlier this week. The subject of the article broke my heart while reminding me that hope, food and love of family - even when manufactured through memories - is incredibly powerful.  

The photo to the left taken by the Sydney Jewish Museum is of a 56-page cookbook laced together with barbed wire and memories and was compiled by the women of Ravensbruck. The contributors of this formidable piece of history were the starving inmates of Germany's largest female concentration camp during World War II. Sharing their stories and writing down their recipes helped the women hold on to themselves, deal with their hunger and gave them strength. These memories of the life that was left behind sustained their spirits.

The cookbook is housed at the Sydney Jewish Museum and is one of six known fantasy cookbooks written by Holocaust prisoners. Edith Peer, the creator of this particular book, was forced to work in an office which enabled her to steal pencil and paper. Stealing these materials, writing down these recipes and keeping the book hidden was very risky. The Sydney Museum's head curator, Roslyn Sugarman, states it beautifully, "This tiny book is an act of resistance to maintain a sense of hope and humanity."

This piece sent me on a journey of learning as much as I could about these strong women who "cooked with words" and strengthened their resolve to keep home and family in their hearts. My search lead me to "Yehudit's Recipe Book" a young Hungarian woman who with her friends kept the faith by sharing fantasy meals and writing down recipes. There are more stories out there - more voices that must be heard.

Today, I'm sharing a few titles below that may be of interest. The first two I have ordered and were recommended by friends. These stories are powerful reminders of what hate can do but also of what hope, love and strength can endure.

In Memory's Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin by Cara Desilva shares the stories of the brave women who defied their captors by preserving their heritage. Despite the horrid conditions the prisoners' endured in the camps - cultural, intellectual, and artistic life did exist within its hellish walls. The handwritten cookbooks are proof that the Nazis could not break the spirit of the Jewish people.

Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival: The Remarkable Stories and Authentic Recipes of Holocaust Survivors
by June Feiss Hersh gives voice to the remarkable stories and cherished recipes of the Holocaust community.  The first professionally written kosher cookbook of its kind is a moving compilation of food memories, stories about food and families, and recipes from Holocaust survivors from Poland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Greece. 
Holocaust Survivor Cookbook: Collected From Around the World by Joanne Caras and her follow up Miracles & Meals Volume 2 of the Holocaust Survivor Cookbook (The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook)  is a collection of recipes from survivors but more importantly these books contain the stories of the strength and resilience of these women. I've read both books and passed them on to others. I felt keeping these titles on my shelf was not as important as sharing these stories.

Iron Chef America coming back to Food Network

 Iron Chefs

Fans of the television series Iron Chef America will be happy to learn that the show, which left Food Network in 2014, is returning in spring 2017. The reboot of the show includes a new name: the new program will be called Iron Chef Gauntlet

Reports indicate that Alton Brown will be reprising his role as host of the competition. It's hard to believe that the first Iron Chef America premiered in 2005 - over a decade ago! Next Iron Chef premiered in 2007 and the two shows ran concurrently for five seasons, after which Next Iron Chef was dropped. If you didn't realize that Iron Chef America was no longer on the airwaves, that is because although the program ended its run on Food Network in 2014, it moved to Cooking Channel for a year before being mothballed.

Bobby Flay remains the most winning chef on Iron Chef America, racking up 43 wins. He's followed by Michael Symon, whose tally stands at 34. Symon enjoys the best win percentage, beating his opponents over 80% of the time. At this time there is no word on whether these - or any - of the former Iron Chefs will return. 

Alton Brown announces internet cooking show

Alton Brown EverydaycookFans of Alton Brown have mourned his departure from the Food Network, but now they have something to cheer them up. In a live chat on Facebook on Saturday, Brown delighted his audience by revealing that he will be soon starting a new internet cooking show.

The new program will allegedly be called "A Cooking Show", and it will be a sequel to his popular program Good Eats. Brown decided not to try to put the show on television for two reasons, the first of which is that he wanted freedom to do what he wanted without worrying about "what a larger corporate entity might or might not want." He listed several subjects that the Food Network wouldn't let him cover, which included cooking game like rabbit and venison, and working with offal. Brown also said he would be using a digital scale in his cooking. He warned fans that they would have to become proficient in using one, and was adamant that he would be using metric measurements, because he "hates fractions and hates decimals", stating that "grams is grams."

The second reason for placing the show on the internet is that he wanted to be able to respond to his fans' requests. In Brown's hour-long Facebook chat, he proceeded to do just that: notepad in hand, he scribbled down subjects that his fans were writing in the comments. One of the topics was "more steaks" - to which Brown replied that he would be interested in working with meat other than beef. Another topic was yeast breads, and Brown promised to bring back the "yeast puppets" that he killed in an episode of Good Eats. While no exact timeline was announced, Brown said the new show will debut sometime next year.

America's Test Kitchen sues Christopher Kimball

Milk Street magazineIf the EYB Forum and Facebook posts are any indication, plenty of our members recently received the charter issue of Milk Street, Christopher Kimball's new publication. The magazine may have seemed familiar to Cook's Illustrated in its approach to recipe development: create the best version of a dish by listing, and subsequently eliminating, the problems that often arise in other recipes. The concept is a bit too familiar to his former company, which has filed a lawsuit against Kimball, alleging that he "literally and conceptually ripped off America's Test Kitchen."

The suit claims that Kimball not only copied the model, but that he took steps to build Milk Street as a direct competitor to ATK, including using the company's databases and recipes, while still employed at America's Test Kitchen. Jack Bishop, currently the Chief Creative Officer at ATK, said that Kimball "kept on saying he wasn't going to compete. I took him at his word." Bishop noted several similarities between Cook's Illustrated and Milk Street, including graphical properties and the magazine's 32-page size.

The lawsuit cites a number of emails that purportedly show Kimball, or those working under his direction, surreptitiously completing tasks for the benefit of Milk Street, such as obtaining office space and copying recipes. This is not the only litigation involving Milk Street: the owner of Boston's Milk Street Cafe filed a trademark lawsuit earlier this year.

Gourmet Traveller turns 50

 Australian Gourmet Traveller

Fifty years ago last February, the first edition of what would become Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine appeared on newsstands. To celebrate a half century of celebrating Australian food culture, the magazine has issued a 'virtual reprint' of its inaugural magazine, when it was known as The Australian Gourmet Magazine

The magazine notes that a lot has changed since its inception. They note that they "no longer address readers as "my darling girls". Nor would we recommend prawns on ice, or prescribing glazed wing rib of beef as "the way to his heart", they continue. Major graphical changes have occurred along the way as well. 

In an era where magazines frequently fold, it's refreshing to see a food publication celebrate such longevity. While our index doesn't go back to 1966, we have indexed almost every issue of Gourmet Traveller since 2010, so you can browse the magazine and learn more about it. Recent issues have had averaged about half of the recipes available online. 

Oprah set to release new cookbook

Oprah's cookbookThe latest celebrity to jump on the cookbook bandwagon is none other than Oprah Winfrey. Her book, titled Food, Health and Happiness: 'On Point' Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life, debuts in January, 2017. She's distributing the book under her new (as yet unnamed) publishing imprint.

Given Oprah's proven ability to promote books through her book club, the new cookbook is expected to sell millions. In the book, Oprah will share "not only her struggles with food but also the recipes that have allowed food to be a source of joy for her again." The recipe names from the book's promo indicate that healthy eating is the focus, with titles like "Unfried Chicken","Turkey Chili" and"Farro With Peas, Asparagus, Pesto and Cured Olives".  

While this will be the first cookbook where Oprah is the only named author, it's not the first food book linked to her. In 1994, long-time Oprah chef Rosie Daley penned In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah's Favorite Recipes, 1996 saw another   healthy eating/fitness book called Make the Connection: Ten Steps to a Better Body and a Better Life, and in 2008, The Oprah Magazine Cookbook was released. The latter book featured recipes from many professional chefs and food writers, and included contributions from Marcus Samuelsson and Art Smith. Smith and Daley make appearances in the new cookbook as well.   

BBC announces new cooking show

GBBO books 

Fans of The Great British Bake Off who were disappointed that the show was leaving the BBC now have something to look forward to watching. The network has just announced that it will be producing a new reality cooking show begininng in 2017.

Called 'The Big Family Cooking Challenge', the program will follow multi-generational family teams of amateur cooks, who will participate via their home kitchens, each facing a weekly culinary challenge. One by one the teams will be eliminated until one family stands as the winner. Twelve episodes have been ordered for the show, which has not yet cast any judges or started filming.

It's not clear whether this is the program hinted at last month that would star Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc, and Sue Perkins. Last week, the BBC announced it had struck a development deal with GBBO winner Nadiya Hussain, so GBBO fans also have that to console them.  

Observer Food Monthly announces 2016 awards

OFM awards 2016 

The 2016 Observer Food Monthly awards were announced at a gala celebration last Thursday. The awards, in their 13th year, celebrate the best of British food and drink. Categories range from best restaurant and best cheap eats to best food personality to best market and more, including our favorite, best new cookbook. While most of the categories are for professionals and businesses, there is an award for best reader's recipe. Judges are drawn from across the food industry. EYB Member favorites like Nigella Lawson, Nathan Outlaw, Nigel Slater and Lorraine Pascale are all on the judging panel. 

The 2016 Best New Cookbook Award went to Our Korean Kitchen by Jordan Bourke and Rejina Pyo. The book can be viewed as "a love story: of Pyo and Bourke as a couple; and of Bourke towards a cuisine little known in the UK," notes interviewer Tim Lewis. The pair met in 2008, when Bourke was transforming from a career in media to being a chef. Bourke first trained at Ballymaloe cookery school in Ireland, and now mixes writing with consulting and pop-up supper clubs. He has written two other cookbooks prior to Our Korean Kitchen,  The Guilt-Free Gourmet and The Natural Food Kitchen.

Jamie Oliver took home the award for Best Food Personality and Pierre Koffman nabbed the Lifetime Achievement Award. Edinburgh food blogger Kerry Teacle won the reader's recipe award with her whisky, orange and almond cake. The recipe will be published in indexed magazine Observer Food Monthly so keep an eye out for it in next month's issue. 

ATK's post-Kimball plans are all wet

America's Test Kitchen cookbooks 

When news broke that Chris Kimball was leaving America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated, which he founded more than 20 years ago, people wondered how the brand would change and what the bow-tied star would do. While Kimball has moved on to a new venture ( Milk Street Kitchen), it looks like ATK has opted to sail the high seas.

That's right - America's Test Kitchen is partnering with cruise line Holland America, installing replicas of its iconic television sets on board several cruise ships. Starting next month, ATK will host on-board cooking demonstrations and workshops. But that isn't the only change they're making; the company announced that it is also moving ATK headquarters out of the suburbs to Boston's Seaport District. According to a press release, the new location has nearly double the square footage of ATK's current headquarters and will contain three television studios, multiple photo and editing studios, plus state-of-the-art test kitchens.

This move follows an announcement earlier this week of a new website called Cook's Science. The aim of Cook's Science is "to tell stories about food science by stepping out of the kitchen and reporting from the field." ATK sees this as a logical extension of the company's methodology, which has always been rooted in a scientific approach to cooking. 

BBC may launch a rival show to GBBO

James Martin cookbookFans who were disappointed that Mary Berry wasn't going to stay with The Great British Bake Off as it moves to a new channel will be happy to hear that the BBC is planning a new cookery competition starring Berry along with former GBBO co-hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. Sources state that the BBC have told Berry "that she will be placed at the heart of the corporation's cookery line-up and will be styled as the broadcaster's number one television chef until she chooses to retire." There is also a rumor that former Saturday Kitchen host James Martin is being considered as a replacement for Paul Hollywood on the new cooking program.

The BBC will have to tread carefully as they develop a format for any new competition. Love Productions, which owns the rights to GBBO, accused them of "ripping off" the format to create a show about amateur hairdressers, and the BBC had to pay damages. 

More details about the new GBBO have trickled out after we learned that Paul Hollywood was staying with the show. It's apparently going to be extended to 90 minutes in length, although Love Productions chief Richard McKerrow assured fans that the show would keep its original format. "Bake Off will be produced by the same team, in the same tent, with the same recipe," he said.

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