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Gastronome Tomes

New culinary reads


Hunkering down and sifting through a good cookbook can be as rewarding as preparing and partaking in a gourmand meal. This fall brings a bushel of new books devoted to the glorious world of food.


By Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson is dear to our hearts. Best known as Gourmet magazine's "It Girl," New York Times "Dining In" columnist and cookbook author (How to Eat, How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Bites and Forever Summer) Nigella's easygoing attitude and no-fuss culinary ways are a welcoming reprieve from the passel of high-maintenance celebrity chefs.

Feast, Nigella's most festive book yet, offers savory, spicy and delicious recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Eid, New Year's, Passover, Easter gatherings, and any time you want to celebrate food and life. Highlights include Nigella's Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame and her best cheeseburger. (Hyperion, $35, publishes Oct. 27)


By Ina Garten

Viva the Barefoot Contessa--for more than 20 years foodies have been flocking to this East Hampton specialty food store owned by Ina Garten.

Ina assembled the energy, style and flavor of her store into a series of cookbooks known for adding a special twist to familiar dishes, while also streamlining the recipes so you spend less time in the kitchen but still emerge with perfection. And that's exactly what she offers in Barefoot in Paris. The feature dishes are true to their Parisian roots and are thoroughly delicious and completely accessible.

Barefoot in Paris is suffused with Ina's love of the city, of the bustling outdoor markets and alluring little shops, of the bakeries and fromageries and charcuteries--of the wonderful celebration of food that you find on every street corner, in every neighborhood. (Clarkson Potter, $35, publishes Oct. 26)


By Ruth Riechl (editor)

For the past six decades, Gourmet magazine has shaped the tastes of America, publishing the best work of the foremost names in the world of food. To create this landmark cookbook, editor in chief and celebrated authority Ruth Reichl and her staff sifted through more than 50,000 recipes. Many were developed exclusively for Gourmet's test kitchens. Others came from renowned food writers and chefs and from the magazine's far-flung readers. Then the editors embarked on an extraordinary series of cook-offs to find the most unforgettable dishes, testing and retesting each one to ensure impeccable results.

With engaging introductions to each chapter by Reichl, entertaining headnotes, indispensable information about ingredients and techniques, hundreds of tips from Gourmet's test kitchens and an extensive glossary, The Gourmet Cookbook is the essential kitchen companion for anyone who wants one-of-a-kind recipes and spectacular results every time. (Houghton Mifflin, $40, published Sept. 28)


By Glenn Lindgren, Raúl Musibay, and Jorge Castillo

Take three self-described "guys," three marriages, a mingling of cultures, and a 20-year love affair with all things Cuban, and you have a recipe for a great new Cuban cookbook.

Three Guys from Miami Cook Cuban is the latest effort of three brothers-in-law with a passion for Cuban food and culture. Their website, The Internet Cuban has attracted millions of visitors since they created it in 1996. The trio has made several appearances on the Food Network and have quickly become known for their great parties, centered around whole pigroasts or an elaborate Cuban-style paella. (Gibbs Smith Publishers, $29.95, published Oct. 12)


Compiled by Holly Hughes

Best Food Writing 2004 assembles, for its fifth year, the most exceptional writing from the past year's books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and Web sites. Included are the best writers on everything from celebrated chefs to the travails of the home cook, from food sourcing at the greenmarket to equipping one's kitchen, from erudite culinary history to food-inspired memoirs. Considered a classic, Best Food Writing is required reading for all undergraduate students enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and is used as a textbook at other culinary schools nationwide. Stellar contributors include Robb Walsh, John Thorne, Calvin Trillin, Amanda Hesser, Ruth Reichl, Colman Andrews, Jason Epstein, and Jeffrey Steingarten. Opinionated, evocative, nostalgic, brash, thought-provoking, and sometimes just plain funny, it's a tasty sampler to dip into time and again, whether you're in the mood for caviar-or pretzels. (Marlowe & Company, $14.95, published Oct. 10)