November 29, 2010
My first New York Times cookbook was the 1960s version by James Beard. It was a 13th birthday present from a great aunt and given to me during my first to trip to New York City in the 1970s. Even though it was a sweltering summer and she lived in a 2 story walk with no AC the first recipe I attempted was French bread. It was during that summer that my bread went from a gelatinous brick to a golden delicious baguette in the truest sense of the tastebuds and that cookbook became my first line of defenseive college cookery for many many years after that.
It's been quite some since I visited with that old friend so why did the bookshelf need a younger version? Well the operative words are in the sub-title Classic Recipes for a New Century. We no longer cook like we did 30 years ago nor do we have the sames tastes. My basic french bread recipe is still included with improved upon directions but who d'a thunk to throw ice cubes right on the floor of the oven instead of dealing with a scalding pan of water?
The other recipes witinin Amanda Hesser's NY Times version are mixture that work for quick week night fare and those more suited for relaxing weekend cooking. There are more vegetable recipes in this new version and recipes that explore ethnic cuisine simply and acheivably like Pad Thai, Jamaican Rice and Peas, Farro and Chickpea Soup, more recipes than I've ever seen in one spot to use preserved lemons and at least a dozen different lentil soups. The other thing I really love are the whole meal menu suggestions included with each recipe.
Yes the bookshelf does need this younger version and I highly recommend this book.