Gourmet began its illustrious career in 1941 and has become the magazine of record, the gold standard for food magazines. There are others to be sure, but Gourmet maintains its cachet and its excellence due, in good part, to Ruth Reichl’s leadership. Reichl, Gourmet’s famed editor-in-chief, edited The Gourmet Cookbook in 2004, the more-than-magnum opus compiled to celebrate the magazine’s 60th birthday. With more than 1,000 recipes, it was a grand retrospective that gathered the best of the best—retested, retasted and updated. Now, only five years later, the indomitable Gourmet team has done it again with Gourmet Today. Another whopper (not the Burger King variety!), this one is orchestrated to suit “the on-going revolution in the American kitchen”—our wonderfully eclectic, international appetites, the ever-increasing ease in getting ethnic, organic and healthy ingredients and our concern about ethical eating. And, with 650 recipes that can be made in 30 minutes, it invites the time-challenged (and who isn’t?) to share in our current culinary adventures. Encyclopedic in an exciting way, there’s not a cooking category missing, from minty Mojitos to Zucchini Curry, Quail with Pomegranate Jus and an impressive Frozen Passion Fruit Meringue Cake. If a new “Julie” cooks her way through this tome, it may take a decade.

Chef with a mission
Jamie Oliver has become a revolutionary. Armed with cooking utensils, solid recipes and his signature charm, he’s determined to wage culinary war on bad health and the rise of obesity (pace fat studies proponents). His strategy for winning the war is to give you the tools to make “good, honest, affordable food,” that you cook from scratch (big emphasis on “scratch”), whether the economy is in boom or doom mode. The tools, aka great recipes, are in his latest manifesto, Jamie’s Food Revolution. He wants us to cook at home, to give up the deleterious habit of eating fast food and takeout, and offers 14 chapters—from 20-minute meals (try the Chicken and Leek Stroganoff!), curries, stir-fries, a wonderful riff on ground beef entrees, roasts and stews, to super salads, sweet things and more—each with an irresistible array easy enough for a novice and intriguing enough for an old kitchen hand, all with fabulous photos, demonstrating a dish’s evolution, the how-to’s involved or the finished product. Join the revolution by passing on your favorites to at least two friends who will do the same (building a progression of happy rebels), or just enjoy Jamie’s take on good homemade food.

The scoop on soup
Soup is the ultimate and indisputable comfort food, but in its many incarnations it’s so much more. A soup can show off its hearty peasant roots, exude an ineffable elegance, warm your soul or cool it off. And as souperista Anna Thomas maintains, “soup may be the last hope for home cooking.” To ensure that that “last hope” remains alive and well, Thomas, author of the much-admired Vegetarian Epicure books, serves up her personal, invitingly inventive “library of soups” in Love Soup. As you might suspect, Thomas’ soups are vegetarian and many are vegan, and as you might surmise from the title, she’s truly, madly, deeply in love with soup. That love manifests itself in every one of the 100 soup recipes here, plus 60 more for breads, salads, starters and sweets to go with the “souper” main course. Seasonal stars, like chard and root veggies, shine as we move from fall to winter—with some sensational creations for the holidays—then come soups that honor the first tastes of spring and the bounty of summer. We’ve come full cycle, souped it up for a year and are all the better for it.

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