In The Times’ biannual cookbook round-up, Sam Sifton writes, "Cookbooks were a $530 million business in the United States in 2007, according to Michael Norris, a senior analyst for Simba Information, a market research firm. Nearly 14 million books about cooking and entertaining were purchased in the United States in 2007, according to Nielsen BookScan.  The trend has been basically upward since at least 2002." Interesting news in light of the fact that book publishing biz is in the doldrums.  Happily, Sifton mentions Elements of Cooking, in which he found, he says, "three of the most important sentences anyone reading about cookbooks may see this or any year."  I try not to care what the Times says about my work, or worse, when it says nothing at all, but the fact is, I do, so I don’t mind admitting that this is especially gratifying. Twenty more books are included on the Times’ site, including Clotide‘s newest, Edible Adventure’s in Paris, which I saw as uncorrected proofs and is lovely.

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18 Wonderful responses to “NYTimes Cookbook Round Up”

  • Natalie Sztern

    Inevitably whenever I read a book of yours, and I have read three…I have to go to the dictionary for at least one word…I love that! I love to read a book and gain insight into the writers’ intelligence, and you have challenged me, so I look forward to the new one next

  • Edsel

    I was happy to see Mark Robinson’s Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook get the nod from the NYT. it’s one of the most entertaining cookbooks I’ve seen this year.

    Congrats on the mention of Elements. There was also this in the Mario blurb:

    “mortadella wrapped around fresh robiola, grilled and served over bitter greens — essentially grilled ravioli made out of meat pasta. Yowza. Chicken with snap peas and agliata, a garlicky sauce (paging Michael Ruhlman!)”

    Mortadella and robiola. MMMMmmmmm…

  • Shannon

    As I was looking through my cookbook, “Middle Eastern Cooking” by Claudia Roden, I started searching online for more information about Middle Eastern cuisine. And then I found this piece of information given by Claudia Roden:

    “Claudia advises to use common sense and intuition when cooking Middle Eastern food for the first time, and not follow recipes slavishly. She says, ‘don’t be afraid to adapt recipes to suit your own taste and adjust instructions accordingly. Feel free to give a recipe longer cooking time if you think it needs it, or use less of an ingredient than suggested.'”
    (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mostof_middleeasterncooking.shtml)

    I was reminded of the 3 sentences you wrote that Sifton mentioned and I thought it was interesting that she has the same philosophy as what you had written:
    “‘Recipes are not assembly manuals,’ Ruhlman writes. ‘Recipes are guides and suggestions for a process that is infinitely nuanced. Recipes are sheet music.'”

    This TOTALLY altered my perspective on using cookbooks. I’ve always followed recipes to a T and if I didn’t like it, I deemed either the recipe a failure if I knew I had followed instructions exactly, or myself as a failure as a cook if I thought I made a mistake in making the recipe.

    Now, I realize that in order for me to become a better cook and to be able to grow as one is to trust the intuition I’ve stifled when I’ve adhered exactly to the recipe’s instructions.

    Thanks for that :)

  • Shannon

    Correction: The title of Claudia’s book is “A Book of Middle Eastern Food.” The title above is wrong.

  • luis

    cookbooks? I recommend AMAZON!. whatever your interest go to AMAZON and purchase a book!
    I have a lot of Michael’s books and many others. My strategy is very very simple. Swing by the stores either in the morn. or after my job is done and pick up whatever I need to do that DISH. Tomorrow is another day… and veggies and other do tend to pile up oon me. So the goal is to do it well and use all the ingredients on hand.

  • milo

    Amazon is great if you know exactly what you want, or if you want to get a bunch of opinions on books.

    But I would never buy a cookbook without flipping through it first and actually looking at the recipes.

  • Catherine

    Nice round-up. And congrats!
    I’m a big keeper of these types of lists…saves me sooo much time at the bookstore.

  • Claudia (the Original)

    Yeah, it’s the NY Times. Yeah, it matters. Yeah, of course it matters to you – congratulations, Michael! YOU matter – to us, and to food literature!

  • luis

    Hey!, KITCHEN DISCIPLE SWEATHOG HERE MICHAEL…… I just roasted a butterflied chicken that was brined overnight. QUESTION FOR YOU!… Why is it that I have to roast the damm thing into the blackness before my thingamagix poke thing thermometer says its ok? oh! off tha scale… like 90 degrees….
    thanks in advance…
    OBTW if you guys look for books on molecular gas… guess who turns up??? BOURDAIN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>and I promised everyone that I woudn’t go off on him and his arthritic problemas….. Promise made, Promise ketpt.

  • Lindsey

    I’m kind of horrified that the NYT would include an Oprah cookbook in its roundup. If there’s anyone whose food advice/branding I don’t want, it’s hers. Talk about eating disorder city….. yipes. And really, isn’t his nation over Oprah yet?

  • mirinblue

    Luis
    It may be time for a new thermometer. I also rely on sight and touch when cooking. If your chicken is black, would you not see it becoming overdone first?

    I’m just sayin’

  • luis

    mirinblue , yes I did see it but the brining messes up the whole thing. Seems the skin burns before the damm waterloogged bird cooks. DOOOOOOOOOOHhhhhhhhhhhh! But I must say the chicken and its blackened skin were really alive with juices and taste…Marvelous. I wonder…? Is there such a thing as the placebo effect when it comes to food? brining vs marinading….that is tha QUESTIONA!