Hesser, a food columnist for the New York Times, offers a superb compilation of the most noteworthy recipes published by the paper since it started covering food in the 1850s. What she has produced is no less a chronicle of American culinary history--an evolutionary progression that marks the notable and sometimes regrettable changes in our approach to food--than a cookbook. Recipe originators are a hodgepodge of talent, including noted chefs and the kitchens of famed restaurants such as Le Bernardin as well as Times writers, most notably Craig Claiborne, whose culinary mastery is evidenced throughout. Every category of food is covered, and each recipe is accompanied by serving suggestions for complementary dishes within the book. From 1877's tomato soup and 1907's roast quail with sage dressing to Eisenhower's steak in the fire and 1968's sour cream coffee cake, Hesser showcases the best of the best. Each recipe is dated, and many include cooking notes. Hesser, whose witty bent permeates every page, does a more than admirable job with this stellar collection of more than 1,400 recipes, which should grace the shelves of every food-lover. (Oct.)
[star]New York Times food editor and writer Hesser (Cooking for Mr. Latte) spent six years combing the Times's vast recipe archive, cooking her way through more than 1000 recipes to assemble this indispensible tome culled from 150 years of the paper's food columns. This daunting compendium features both noteworthy classics (Osso Buco) and modern recipes (Smoked Mashed Potatoes) that have been tested and, in some cases, updated for the contemporary cook. Chapters begin with a time line and are arranged by type of food (e.g., soups, vegetables, cakes) then chronologically within the chapter, making for a fascinating historic overview of the interests of American cooks. Recipes contain informative, entertaining, and unaffected introductions by Hesser coupled with cooking notes and serving suggestions. Citations for the original articles are included, should one wish to read the recipe in its original context.Verdict Intended as an "eclectic panorama" of recipes rather than an encyclopedic cookbook, this is an excellent addition for home chefs of all abilities. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/10; six-city tour.]Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR
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