According to book business buzz, this is the year of the cookbook. If that's so, and even if it's not, The Gourmet Cookbook is the cookbook of the year. Ruth Reichl food maven of the highest order, best-selling author and editor of Gourmet magazine and her team poured over the last 62 years of Gourmet, sorting through more than 50,000 recipes to come up with the 1,200-plus included here. I've always thought of Gourmet as the food magazine of record the place for cooks, new to the game and seasoned practitioners, to get the real deal on every food trend, the most authentic recipes, the best ideas for elegant dinner parties and easy workweek suppers. So to have this hefty (that's an understatement) tome is heaven (that's an understatement, too) for an avid cook. This isn't a history of cooking in America; Reichl's purpose was to produce "a book that wants to live in your kitchen," a book "with every recipe you could ever want." She's done it and every one of these most-wanted recipes has been tested, tasted, reworked (if needed) and retested. It's all here, from nuts to soup, hors d'oeuvres to breakfast and brunch, a multitude of main courses, desserts in scrumptious variety, salads, sauces, vegetables, bread, pizza, preserves and pickles; plus tips on how to throw an angst-free cocktail party, pit olives, cook pasta, choose chocolate, tell soba from udon and much more. If you're eager for adventure in the kitchen, this is the place to find it.

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