Cover Image: Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Maricel Presilla’s Gran Cocina Latina is not just the most important cookbook to be published this year, I’m convinced it will also prove to be a culinary landmark of the 21st century. The fact that people of Hispanic or Latino origin are this country’s largest ethnic group was often mentioned during this most recent Presidential election. It’s a given that if you want to understand other cultures, the best way is through their food.
Presilla has written a veritable encyclopedia on the many cuisines and customs from all over Central and South America, based on almost 30 years of travel and research to unearth the secrets behind the vast array of flavors and cooking methods within Latin American cooking, which she describes in the first chapter as “the world’s first and greatest laboratory of intercontinental culinary ‘fusion.’”
And Presilla’s got the credentials to produce such an incredible tome. A Cuban by birth, she lived in Spain for several years before coming to the United States, where she got a doctorate in medieval Spanish history from New York University. But thank goodness Presilla didn’t stay in academia. She was so fascinated by food through her research that she eventually became a chef and co-owner of two restaurants in Hoboken, New Jersey: Zafra, a pan-Latin café, and Cucharamama, a more serious restaurant featuring what she describes as artisanal South American cooking. Her food is so good, she was named the Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic Region by the James Beard Foundation in 2012.
To say this 900-page book is encyclopedic might imply to some people that okay, it’s informative, but probably a bit dry and boring. Nothing could be further from the truth! Every time I open the book to a different page, I’m instantly absorbed and fascinated by the delightful and detailed story behind each recipe. Continue reading
While there have been several Gourmet cookbooks–and some new excellent Gourmet Special Editions available at newsstands, bookstores, and markets–our sister digital food brand, Epicurious, has never had it’s extraordinary content published on the printed page, until now.
The Epicurious Cookbook: More than 250 of our Best-Loved Four-Fork Recipes for Weeknights, Weekends & Special Occasionsis chock full of delicious, doable, decadent dishes (try saying that four times!).
Broken down by season and meal course, the book has top-rated recipes culled from its 200,000 recipes collection, including some of the best from home cooks. Member tips are included with each, as well as insightful new headnotes, menus, wine pairings and gorgeous photography from the renowned Ellen Silverman. If you order now, you can get an autographed copy and a discounted price of $21.99. It will definitely be the ultimate cookbook to give and get for the holidays!
The macho-ization of cooking is at its apex in Adam Perry Lang’s new book, Charred & Scruffed: Bold New Techniques for Explosive Flavor On and Off the Grill. Fiery, salty, sizzling—and that just describes the photos of Lang. He introduces innovative new techniques to get the most out of the grill: Some of those include using more salt than in the Dead Sea and more butter than Homer Simpson can eat in one sitting.
For more on the Charred & Scruffed book and for some recipes, check out our sister site, Epicurious.
To watch Adam Perry Lang pound a hunk of meat, check out the video on our sister site, Bonappetit.com.
Sharpen your chef’s knife and break out the bone saw because Ryan Farr’s new book, Whole Beast Butchery (Chronicle Books), is going to have you wholeheartedly embracing the recent rebirth of DIY butchery.
Farr is the founder of 4505 Meats in San Francisco, where he teaches the art of butchering entire hogs, cows, and lambs. As a classically trained chef, he shares his learned tips and tricks in the comprehensive manual for meat, which also includes recipes that make the most of snout-to-tail cooking, such as Crispy Pork Shoulder and Shank, Beef Tongue Pastrami, and Merguez Sausage.
The book features stunning step-by-step photographs by Ed Anderson on nearly every page of the 239-page guide. From sawing down the belly of a hog to fabricating and then tying the perfect boneless lamb leg roast, Farr’s first book is the ultimate resource for meat geeks everywhere.
The below feature appears in the current release of Gourmet Live and was written by Kelly Senyei. Download the free Gourmet Live app to get this story and more.
Olives transform into liquid spheres. Beef cheek becomes foam. Shrimp takes on the shape and texture of noodles. Welcome to food in the 21st century.
But at a time when Wylie Dufresne is busy cooking up creations with transglutaminase and Ferran Adrià will close shop to dream up whatever tops spherification, the rest of the world can be seen looking to the distant past as the key to the food of tomorrow.
While molecular gastronomy will always remain at the forefront of culinary discovery, the emergence of the organic, farm-to-table and locavore movements demonstrate a conscious shift to a simplistic past. It is a past without extensive machinery or processed foods. Even more specifically, it is a past without oven thermometers, standardized measuring or, as I recently discovered, recipes with ingredient lists. Continue reading
Photo by David Needleman
That sense of a spare, focused craft, achieved as a result of constant practice is reflected in his food. Lunch is invariably sardines on a roll. He doesn’t enumerate further but this lunch is clearly a descendent of a 1977 recipe where he would take a small loaf of Italian bread, slice it in half lengthwise and arrange the sardines on the bottom half. He would then spread four steamed broccoli flowerets over the fish and sprinkle both with olive oil and lemon juice before adding salt and pepper to taste. He claimed that this sandwich was his singular invention.
Gourmet Live guest columnist Adam Harrison Levy explores artist Alex Katz’s simplistic approach to food in the first in a series of profiles paying homage to The Museum of Modern Art’s 1977 Artists’ Cookbook.
For the full story and more, download the free Gourmet Live app.
From Suffolk Pond Pudding to cold steak sandwiches, the late novelist Laurie Colwin’s culinary inspirations came to define her unique, enthusiastic approach to cooking long before celebrity chefs stepped into the spotlight.
Like a blogger, Colwin is chatty and digressive. A recipe for broiled fish— which is, more or less, “broil the fish”— includes a long anecdote about jigging for striped bass, seasickness, and eventually describes Colwin’s first trip to a real Chinese restaurant. Some of her essays don’t include recipes at all, or they include anti-recipes, as in her essay “Stuffed Breast of Veal: A bad idea.” Rather than caution readers against repeating her mistakes, Colwin encourages them to make their own. “We learn by doing. If you never stuff a chicken with pate, you will never know that it is an unwise thing to do.”
Gourmet Live guest columnist Emily Gould (pictured above) explores the ups and downs of meal preparation using Colwin’s essays as a guide.
For the full story, download the free Gourmet Live app.