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Classics

Americana Culinary Roots

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by Amy Sherman

inside the california food revolutionMost cookbooks focus on what's new, but not all of them. And there are definitely some advantages to looking back. These books are all about American cooking, but each takes a closer look at our culinary history and regional differences.

Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness is an amazing book that details the "thirty years that changed our culinary consciousness." It WAS a revolution that took place in California, but truly the effects were felt all across the country. Joyce Goldstein was there, a successful restaurateur and chef as well as food writer and so her connections and knowledge of the time make this book really stand out. She tells the stories of the people who shaped what and how we eat in the crucial era from 1970 until 2000. Her admiration for the pioneers of the time comes through and her engaging style make this a must read. No recipes are in the book, but a number of menus that help document the time.

ACenturyofRestaurantsCoverA Century of Restaurants: Stories and Recipes from 100 of America's Most Historic and Successful Restaurants is another definite "keeper" because it combines food, history and travel. It must have been a very enjoyable book to research and write, because it catalogues stories and recipes from one hundred of America's most historic and successful restaurants. It's just good fun to look up iconic restaurants and read about them and see a recipe. For California the book includes Philippe the Original in Los Angeles, Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero. The Tadich Grill in San Francisco and Fenton's Creamery in Oakland. If you are planning a trip, it's a perfect book to reference before you go. Some of my favorite old time places are here such as Durgin Park and The Union Oyster House in Boston, Commander's Palace in New Orleans and Ferrara in New York. It's wonderfully researched and well written. 

My First Cookbook

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by David Latt

ImageMastering the Art of French Cooking was my first cookbook, a gift from a friend. This happened many years ago, but I remember how it happened in great detail.

At the time, I was friendly with a woman I was too intimidated to ask out. To get over my nervousness, I offered to cook her dinner, thinking I’d grill a steak and make a tossed green salad, but she loved Julia Child and wondered if I could cook something French. Figuring I would be a good sport, I agreed.

I had watched Julia on PBS and loved her idiosyncratic character. Her passion for cooking and food was infectious. French food seemed too complicated, something eaten in a restaurant, not at home.

Not having a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she loaned me hers. I decided on chicken with mustard (“Poulet grillé à la diable”). Why that one? I don’t know, it sounded good.

M.F.K. Fisher: The Art of Eating

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by Lisa Dinsmore

artofeating.jpgI had never heard of M.F.K. Fisher until I started working at One for the Table. She was/is apparently one of the most famous food writers of the last century. I rarely read about food, only branching out occasionally to pick up Gourmet, Food & Wine or Cooking Light depending on what recipe was featured on the cover.

In recent months I discovered I was one of the only ones not familiar with her work, because her name kept popping up in various pieces on this site as one of THE people everyone consulted when it came to enjoying good food. Finally, intrigued by her reputation and tired of reading murder mysteries, I decided to see what all the fuss was about...and found a new friend.

For most of my life, I was never really INTO food, eating mostly what was put in front of me without much consideration. Up until about 5 years ago, I was a very picky eater and though I still don't like the various foods on my plate to touch, I am proud to say I have overcome many culinary hurdles and will now try just about anything once.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook

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by Amy Sherman

Image The Essential New York Times Cookbook
Proving that a cookbook does NOT need photographs to be successful, this is about tried and true recipes from a familiar source and very familiar names--contributors like Mark Bittman, Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, David Chang, Nigella Lawson. Good stuff!

Bookmarked recipes: Marinated flank steak with asian slaw, Roasted carrot and red lentil ragout, Cranberry upside-down cake

Why?
Hat's off to Amanda Hesser for compiling a fantastic set of reader approved recipes and creating new notes that will ensure success with each recipe.

Who?
Anyone who has loved reading the New York Times food section and is looking for solid recipes to rely on.

I Like Mike: Cookbook Review

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by Holly Goldberg Sloan

welcome_to_michaels_sm.jpg Disclaimer: I know Michael and Kim McCarty. I've eaten at the New York City restaurant, and the one in Santa Monica. I love them (the restaurants, and the people). If you're not familiar with either restaurant, it might help to know that the New York restaurant is the center of the media universe (in terms of eating, anyway). And the Santa Monica restaurant is the West coast equivalent.

To quote Harper Collins editor David Hershey (from the book): "Every generation has its literary feeding trough. In the twenties and the thirties, it was the Algonquin; in the forties and fifties, it was Toots Shor's; in the sixties, it was the Lion's Head; in the seventies and the eighties, it was Elaine's; and since the nineties, Michael's has been the place for media and publishing types to eat."

James Beard's American Cookery

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by Amy Sherman

jb.jpg James Beard's American Cookery
Don't you just love the word cookery? It's so old-fashioned. Sometimes old-fashioned is a good thing, especially when it means solid, classic, regional American recipes.

Bookmarked recipes: Watermelon rind pickles, Wilted dandelion salad, Blueberry cake with bourbon cream

Why?
Some recipes should not be lost. They are part of our heritage and more importantly, delectable! I have also NEVER failed with a James Beard recipe.

Who?
Anyone who appreciates the diversity of American cuisine.

Sunday Suppers at Lucques

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by Suzanne Goin

sundaylucques.jpg This year, in our house, we're cooking our version of Suzanne Goin's succotash. Of course Suzanne Goin doesn't call it succotash; in her book Sunday Suppers at Luques, she calls it sweet corn, green cabbage and bacon. We call it succotash because we throw in some lima beans and way more butter.

As Recommended by Nora Ephron

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Silver Palate Cookbook - 25th Anniversary

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by Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins

silver palate cookbook.jpg The cookbook that made people think even dimwits were excellent cooks and 25 years later, it’s still moderne.  Decadent Chocolate Cake, Marbella chicken, it’s that little extra something they always add, whether it’s raisins to the stuffing or olives to the chicken, that just makes things seems a little extra-ordinary and all you have to do is follow the incredibly easy to read and prepare recipes.

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The Classic Italian Cookbook

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by Marcella Hazan
classicitaliancookbook.jpg

My favorite all time shredded barely holding together cookbook is: The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan.  As far as I'm concerned, you can't make Bolognese without Marcella. (Katherine Reback)

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The Historic Restaurants of Paris

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by Ellen Williams
the historic restaurants of paris.jpg This is a great gift book. Tiny, brilliant, evocative, beautiful photographs, wonderful stories.   Read at home and get lost in a century-old Paris that still exists today or take with you on a trip to Paris.......
 
 
 

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

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by Ina Garten

the barefoot contessa cookbook.jpg The best for entertaining.  There’s something fanciful about the dips, the colors, the whole way she approaches food.  And it’s all brilliantly simple.

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Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition

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by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker

joy-of-cooking.jpg In addition to hundreds of brand-new recipes, this Joy is filled with many recipes from all previous editions, retested and reinvented for today's tastes.

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Restaurant News

Caracol Mexican Coastal Cuisine
Texas
by Nancy Ellison

caracolCaracol is not my idea of a Mexican Restaurant. My idea of a Mexican restaurant is that small family owned local café in Toluca Lake or Carmen’s on 3rd St. that we would go to on Thursday night,...

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My Mom and The Salty Dog Cafe
Southern States
by Laura Johnson

saltydog2.jpgThe Salty Dog Cafe in Hilton Head, SC is not your typical place to take Mom for Mother's Day. However, I think all Mothers should eat exactly what they want on their big day and nothing foots the...

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Reel Dinner: Legal Sea Foods
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

legal kendall 0684Come to Boston, eat fish. In Cambridge, Legal Sea Foods is in Kendall Square. In Boston, seek out the Legal that's in Copley Place (near Barneys) because you can nearly always get seated.

Don't...

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b. patisserie - b is for best
San Francisco
by Annie Stein

bpastrycaseI have recently made the greatest discovery of my life, gastronomically speaking. On a recent trip to San Francisco I was taken to b. Patisserie. Shouting OMG into the next century would not do...

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