Half a century after the magazine's founding, Bon Appétit's first cookbook has arrived. True to its long gestation, it's a big one: More than 1,200 recipes, all culled from past issues, run the culinary gamut from breakfast to dessert, low-calorie to indulgent, simple to stylish.
And from easy towell, just slightly less easy. The book is not intended to send home cooks over hurdles or teach fancy tricks. "Our recipes feature ingredients you can find in any well-stocked supermarket," Barbara Fairchild, Bon Appétit's editor in chief, writes in her introduction. Many dishes come together in less than an hour. Few of the recipes occupy more than a page, and most fit comfortably in half that space or less.
Yet without requiring daunting procedures or ingredients, "The Bon Appétit Cookbook" manages to come up with interesting, even sophisticated dishes suitable for entertaining, if that's your goal, or just for feeding the family on a weeknight.
With the best recipes of the past 50 years at your fingertips, can you do without the magazine? In case you were pondering that possibility, the book offers an incentive not to: With each purchase, you get a free one-year subscription to Bon Appétit. (The Washington Post, September 20, 2006)
Mirroring the magazine on which it is based, this collection of 1,200 recipes is accessible, applicable to most home cooks’ lives and a pleasure to cook from. Editor-in-chief Fairchild, who started at the magazine in 1978, sums up the classic Bon Appétit recipe as "a sophisticated twist on a beloved classic, and it’s easy to make"—qualities illustrated in such dishes as Upscale Macaroni and Cheese, which uses blue cheese, red peppers and celery, and a lighter Chicken Paprikás, which omits sour cream in the sauce but uses both hot and sweet Hungarian paprikas. There’s a nice range of dishes, from American to Chinese, Latin American to French, and the introductions to the recipes helpfully offer serving recommendations, notes on ingredients and possible substitutions. Refreshingly, recipes for suggested sides appear alongside recipes for main courses (e.g., Pan-Seared Chicken with Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes). Novice cooks will feel comfortable using the book; "Notes from the Test Kitchen" detail all manner of culinary tools, key pantry items, cooking terminology and techniques like rolling out pie dough. Although the book’s approach is more plebeian than, say, that of The Gourmet Cookbook, fans of Bon Appétit will relish this invigorating compilation of greatest hits. 32 pages of color photos, 59 illus. (Sept.) (Publishers Weekly, June 6, 2006)
"…a worthy addition to any collection". (Detroit Metro Times)