Winners of the 2018 Julia Child Award

Los Angeles chefs and restaurateurs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have worked together since 1982. The pair are co-proprietors of the acclaimed Border Grill restaurants in Los Angeles, and are the authors of several popular cookbooks. They also starred in 'Too Hot Tamales' on Food Network in the late 1990s, and if you have ever browsed foodnetwork.com, you are sure to find their names on hundreds of that site's most popular recipes. 

Today this hardworking duo is being recognized again for the efforts, as they have been named the recipients of the fourth-annual Julia Child Award. Created by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts in 2015, the Julia Child Award is given to an individual (or team!) who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.  This is the first time a team has received this honor. The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts recognizes the pair's accomplishments as chefs, as well as their "track record of their mentorship, bridge building, and giving back to the community." 

Cookbooks by Feniger and Milliken

In addition to their groundbreaking restaurants, Milliken and Feniger are also committed to advancing the position of women in the restaurant industry. The duo will receive the Julia Child Award on November 1 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History gala. Past winners of the award are Danny Meyer, Rick Bayless, and Jacques Pépin. 

What James Beard had to say about onions

Onions are indispensable in my kitchen. I usually have at least two types on hand at any given moment (red and yellow) and frequently even more. They are essential to many dishes. I'm far from the only fan of onions, of course; they are favored by home cooks and chefs alike. One of the onion's biggest fans was James Beard, who wrote about this subject and many more in his iconic book Beard on Food. The James Beard Foundation just posted an excerpt from the book regarding onions, and it makes for a wonderful read

cider and sage roast onion

Beard notes that onions form the backbone of dishes from many cultures and provides us with examples of how onions have been venerated throughout the ages: "Onions, we are told, were part of the cargo on Noah's ark. The Egyptians regarded them as a symbol of the sun they worshiped as a god, with the concentric rings of the sliced onion representing heaven, hell, earth, and the universe. If you've never studied the inside of an onion, cut one in half sometime and really look. It is one of nature's most amazing works of art."

The essay provides myriad ways to enjoy different types of onions - in a salad, pickled, or even on their own as a sandwich. Beard adored onion sandwiches, preferring sweet onions grown in Washington State and Idaho (undoubtedly the Walla Walla variety). As much as he loved onions, Beard shared the lament that many of us have about the tasty but fussy pearl onion, noting that "peeling these babies is a pretty monotonous task."

Naturally, the EYB Library is stuffed with onion recipes. These alliums are included in over 41,000 online recipes. A few highlights are listed below. One of my favorite onion recipes is the Golden onion & thyme dip from Fine Cooking Magazine. What's your favorite way to enjoy onions? 

The end of one era, but the promise of something new

For the past 20+ years, Donna Hay has been a driving force in the Australian food scene. As Australia's leading food editor and best-selling cookbook author, she has shaped the conversation around food for decades. Recently, Hay announced that major changes were afoot: both Donna Hay Magazine and Donna Hay Fresh + Light) will soon be ceasing publication

Donna Hay collage

The announcement began with the words "Be brave" and explained that now is the perfect time to make a transition. "With the 100th issue of donna hay magazine drawing near, I feel clarity...it's time for change," Hay said, stating that the milestone issue "will be the last as you've known it." 

Fans can breathe a sigh of relief that while the change may signal the end of an era, it does not mean the end of the Donna Hay brand. A new cookbook is in the works, and Hay promises that a new subscription print publication will also be forthcoming. "We believe there is still demand for high-quality creative print publication, and we are working on a plan to create a new and different magazine," Hay notes.  Updates will be posted on the Donna Hay website when there is more information. Naturally, we'll be keeping our ears to the ground and as soon as we hear something, we will share it with you. 

Up your ice cream game with Jeni Britton Bauer

The heatwave continues unabated in much of the Northern Hemisphere, which leaves many of us thinking about the best cold things to eat. Chief among those is ice cream, which is excellent any time of the year but especially welcome during the hot summer months. One of the best minds in the ice cream industry is Jeni Britton Bauer, author of two books dedicated to the subject. Jeni recently sat down with Plated to help us better understand the science of ice cream (tiered registration system). 

Jeni's Ice Cream

The founder and chief creative officer of Ohio-based  Jeni's  Spendid Ice Creams feels like she was born to be an ice cream creator. "When I was 10, I knew I'd rather be an ice cream maker than struggle to become a lawyer just because somebody else thought that was a successful path," she told Plated. And she's done just that, with 34 locations of her ice cream shops to date. 

Jeni says her breakthrough was understanding how fat can carry flavor and fragrance. "I'd was thinking about becoming a perfumer and was working in a pastry kitchen when I figured that out. That's when I realized ice cream could carry scent. In ice cream, you can layer butterfat with different scents like perfume, with top, middle, and base notes," she says. Since there is also water in ice cream, it can carry both fat-soluble and water-soluble flavors. 

Marcus Samuelsson's new show celebrates America's melting pot

Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson is living the quintessential American dream. The Ethiopian-born chef was raised in Sweden, emigrated to the United States, and eventually opened a successful restaurant (Red Rooster in Harlem). He has written several successful cookbooks as well as a memoir titled Yes, Chef. Now the talented chef is embarking on a new venture: a television series called No Passport Required.

Marcus Samuelsson

 

The six-part series, produced in partnership with the website Eater, showcases the kitchens of American immigrants. Samuelsson says that food brings people together and he wants to "show a human side about this heated conversation we're having now. This is not about numbers. It's about real people, our neighbors, our fellow Americans." The program doesn't just feature chefs and restaurateurs, but instead includes musicians, poets, artists, community leaders and home cooks who have contributed to US culture and cuisine.

The first episode of No Passport Required, which premieres Tuesday, July 10 on PBS, focuses on Arab immigrants in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit. 

What will happen to Mario Batali's cookbook legacy?

Shortly after the news broke late last year that chef, restaurateur, and television host Mario Batali had been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and assault, many of his business dealings began to fall apart. He was removed from the The Chew  and he lost other television deals that were in the works. Three of his restaurants anounced that they were closing, and Eataly (which Batali co-owns with Joe Bastianich) removed his branded products from its shelves. But what about the many cookbooks he has written? Eater's 

According to booksellers, Batali's books haven't sold well for years. His most recent book, 2016's Big American Cookbook, sold about 30,000 copies, barely making it onto the best-seller list for that year. That's not bad, but it's nothing compared to the roughly 400,000 copies Ina Garten sold in 2016.

Retail bookstore owners corroborate those statistics with their own anecdotes. Matt Sartwell, owner of Kitchen Arts & Letters, notes that sales of Batali's books have been in decline for years. "To be honest, our business with Batali books had fallen off a long time ago," he says. Celia Sack of Omnivore Books told Eater via email that Batali's books "were never terribly popular because my customers rarely buy books by 'celebrity chefs,' but now, especially, I can't wait to just have them off my shelves." 

Both retailers say they won't remove the books from their stores, but they are not going to promote them. Other booksellers, such as Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, are doing the same. They have removed the books from displays or prominent locations, but feel that it would be censorship to pull the books entirely. 

For many individuals, however, it's a different story. Food writer Adam Roberts (aka The Amateur Gourmet) announced on Instagram that he was throwing out his Batali books. He told Eater that he "couldn't stand to see Mario's face on my bookshelf after reading about his behavior towards women." Other people have banished their Batali books to the basement while they decide their ultimate fate. 

I had one Batali book on my shelves, a copy that I had picked up for a song at a thrift store. The decision to donate the book to another secondhand store was, therefore, easy to make. I have many other - and better - Italian cookbooks, by Marcella Hazan and other great writers. There is no need for me to keep Batali's book and it didn't feel right allowing Batali to share shelf space with Hazan. 

Batali's most popular book in the EYB Library is the 2005 volume Molto Italiano, which resides on over 1300 Bookshelves, squeaking into the 100 most popular books on the site (#92). Subsequent cookbooks by Batali haven't done nearly as well, with the latest, Big American Cookbook, found on only 184 Bookshelves. It doesn't appear as though EYB Members are tossing Batali's books in the trash bin, although people may give away the book and not remove it from their EYB Library. If you own some of Batali's books, what are your plans for them? 

Anna Del Conte on why she loves Nigella Lawson

Anna Del Conte is one of the greatest living experts on Italian food. Born in Milan, she arrived in London in 1949 where she quickly became the first cookery writer in England to specialize in Italian food. Nigella Lawson has cited Del Conte as her favorite Italian food writer. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Del Conte returns the compliment, explaining why she loves Nigella.

cookbook collage

Recognizing that food writers often take bits and pieces from each other when developing recipes, Del Conte notes that Nigella's edits always seem to improve the dishes. "Nigella has taken a lot of my recipes, always giving me full credit, and somehow always makes them better," she says. "Her changes are slight, yet they are distinct improvements. I don't quite know how she does it. She's very clever."

Although the 93-year-old Del Conte doesn't do a lot of cooking these days, she still enjoys browsing through cookery books. "I still like to read cookbooks (but not in my bed, thank you very much)," she says. "I read them in the kitchen. I appreciate them." 

The Food Lab's 20 most influential books

J. Kenji López-Alt can count at least 1,897 EYB Members as fans (that's how many of us have The Food Lab on our Bookshelves), although it is surely much more than that. López-Alt has written numerous columns for Serious Eats (more than 12,000 recipes are indexed) that are marked as Member favorites, and people frequently turn to him for advice, especially detailed scientific explanations into the 'whys' of cooking. His writing inspires many, and now we know what has inspired him. López-Alt recently went through his cookbook collection and tells us about the 20 food-related books that have had the most influence on him

cookbook collage

The late Anthony Bourdain pops up right away. Kitchen Confidential inspired López-Alt (along with thousands of others) to choose cooking as his life's work. Coming in right behind that book, which admittedly is a book you would use to actually cook with, is Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. For López-Alt, this is the single most important book. "McGee took that science and revealed how it can be applied to home and restaurant cooking in a way that even a non-scientist can understand. It's safe to say that without this book paving the way, Good Eats Modernist Cuisine Heston Blumenthal, and The Food Lab wouldn't exist as we know them today," he says. 

About half of the books on López-Alt's list are not cookbooks. Works like How to Read a French Fry and The Man Who Ate Everything play a prominent role in how López-Alt looks at and thinks about food and cooking. However, numerous cookbooks do appear on the list. Among those tomes are The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty, and Rick Bayless' Authentic Mexican

What children and parents can learn by baking together

I, like so many people who love to cook and bake, developed an enthusiasm for the culinary arts by standing at my mother's elbow, first watching and then helping her make everything from simple cookies to more complicated dishes like strudel and pâte à choux. The time spent baking with my mom created indelible memories, but there is more to the story than that. Dorie Greenspan understands, and writes about the things she and her son Joshua learned by baking together

Everyday Dorie

Not surprisingly, Dorie and Joshua spent the latter's formative years doing a lot of baking. A photograph of the two of them cutting out cookies together when Joshua was just a toddler immediately ushers in a flood of memories for Dorie, who wishes that she had taken more pictures of them baking. She fondly recalls their shared time in the kitchen: "Playing with the dough a little longer than any recipe would recommend. Molding miniature figures from the scraps. Licking bowls, spoons and fingers. Piling dishes in the sink and leaving them for later. Sitting on the floor in front of the oven window, watching our work rise, turn golden and set."

But more than just memories were made in her kitchen, Dorie explains. She believes that by teaching Joshua how to bake, she was instilling more than a mere appreciate for baking or even the skill to make his own treats. Like mastering any other task, learning to bake allowed Joshua to develop independence and understand what it means to do a job well done, without relying on anyone else to measure the quality of the work. As Dorie so eloquently puts it, baking allowed Joshua to achieve a "quiet sense of competence."

Baking recipe with flour and eggs

I never thought about the time I spent baking with my mother from that viewpoint, but looking back, I can see how mastering a skill in the kitchen can provide a sense of accomplishment that can carry through to other areas. Although I took it for granted at the time, I know now that baking with my mother was a privilege that not afforded to everyone. It's something I will always cherish. 

In this vein, Dorie Greenspan wrote the foreword for a new book being released next month, In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy by Mardi Michels. Spend some summer afternoons before school starts back up with your children in the kitchen.

Molly Yeh's New Food Network Show - Girl Meets Farm

Food blogger and cookbook author, Molly Yeh's Girl Meets Farm debuted on Food Network today. If you missed the first show, as I did, Food Network is reairing this episode on June 26th at 11:30 am Central - set your DVRs. Girl Meets Farm is scheduled for the Sunday mornings 10:00 a m Central slot.  

Each week, Molly will share some of her favorite dishes for family visits, brunch with the girls, farm supper and a very special anniversary celebration. Molly has appeared on a few episodes of The Best Thing I Ever Ate, as well.

Yeh is a classically-trained musician who traded her NYC fast paced life for one on a sugar beet farm in the upper Midwest. Her obsession with food led to her popular blog, My Name is Yeh. Her television schedule is also shared in the events section of her blog.

Molly's first cookbook is indexed for our members: Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm and her most recent cookbook is a Short Stack edition entitled, Yogurt.
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