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101 Classic Cookbooks: 501 Classic Recipes Hardcover – October 9, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Best Books 2012: Cookbooks: This is an indisputably valuable reference. Essential for cookbook lovers and food historians, this curated collection offers signature recipes..." ~Library Journal

“101 Classic Cookbooks
boils down the classic, most iconic cookbooks to 501 recipes.” ~News Times

"This book will be a welcome gift for any cookbook collector. The breadth of the food history provided, along with the classic recipes from each book will provide many hours of enjoyment. Any one interested in tracking the history of the foodie movement in this country, or interested in trying many of the iconic recipes that have made a statement about who we are and how we like to eat, will be delighted to receive this book."

"Published by Rizzoli, it is as much an art book as a recipe primer...Images of antique receipt books and mid-century food art make for great cultural history." ~The Paris Review

"A great cookbook and one you argue your way through: For opinionated cooks, 101 Classic Cookbooks provides pure joy." ~New York Journal of Books

"Best of" lists are a staple of magazines and websites. Leave it to Clark Wolf, one of the canniest food marketers around, to figure a way to turn one into a book. And a fascinating book at that... a collection that will inspire much good cooking and probably even more spirited discussion. What Wolf and company have done is compile a canon of American cookbookery. It's a handsome effort....Any amateur user of cookbooks will find much to love in these pages." ~Los Angeles Times

"If anyone wants  to get a thorough sense of the development of American gastronomy over the last 150 years, this is a book that will do it delectably...The repros of covers and pages from these cookbooks are a delight and will be a nostalgic trip for so many who bought these books when they were first published. It's a beautifully put-together book, as is Rizzoli's style." ~Esquire

About the Author

The Fales Library at New York University holds the largest collection of cookbooks in the United States. Under the directorship of Marvin Taylor, it has amassed more than 55,000 volumes related to food. It is also home to the well-regarded lecture series Critical Topics in Food, hosted by Clark Wolf. Marion Nestle writes the "Food Matters" column for the San Francisco Chronicle and is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Why Calories Count.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (October 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847837939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847837939
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Naomi Manygoats on October 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
101 Classic Cookbooks

This 688 page book is fabulous, and deserves a place on every cook's shelf. A group of known leaders in the food world (people like Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and Betty Fussell), teamed up with the Fales Library/ New York University to select the 101 most important cookbooks of the 20th century, and from those cookbooks, publish the best 501 recipes from those books.

The book's first section presents all of the 101 cookbooks, and the second section has all of the recipes. There are colorful pictures of the cover and pages from each cookbook, as well as a discussion about why that book was important. Most books also have pictures of some of the pages in the book. It is great fun to read about why your old favorite cookbooks made the list, as well as finding other books that you might not have ever heard of. I like the fact that you can read about all of the books first, but all of the recipes are together in their own section, making it easier to cook from the book.

I found old favorites like 'The Original Picayune Creole Cook Book', 'Southern Cooking', 'The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook', The Classic Italian Cook Book', 'The Cuisines of Mexico', 'The Complete Book of Breads', 'The Greens Cookbook', 'The Vegetarian Epicure' , 'Foods of the World', 'The Tassajara Bread Book', 'The Taste of Country Cooking', 'La Technique', 'The Mooswood Cookbook', 'From My Mother's Kitchen', 'The Breakfast Book', 'Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen', 'Chez Panisse Vegetables', 'Seductions of Rice', and many more. I found surprises like 'Diet for a Small Planet', 'Aby Mandel's Cuisinart Classroom', and 'Microwave Gourmet', which really DID have a huge influence on how we cook and eat. Then there were new discoveries of books I really have to track down....
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Feldman VINE VOICE on March 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before you plunk down your money for this hefty (almost five pounds) book, it might help to know what you are buying.

Above all, this book is a work of culinary history, which accounts for why the title in bold on the cover is “101 Classic Cookbooks,” with “501 Classic Recipes” in smaller print beneath. The food history part of the volume is very attractive, with full color reproductions and facsimile pages from each cookbook, along with an introduction for each and several longer essays by famous food persons like Alice Waters and Laura Shapiro. The cookbooks span the 20th century, from Fannie Farmer and Sarah Tyson Rorer to Thomas Keller and Mark Bittman. Recommended recipes from each appear in a box on the page, with page references to those that are actually incorporated into the “501” section of the book. This section offers hours of pleasurable browsing.

What the book is not---at least not exactly---is a proper cookbook. Of the 501 recipes, some are (as the editor notes) primarily of historical interest. Others are just plain interesting and create a fine record of changing culinary tastes. There is one problem. Always wanted to try something from, say, The French Laundry Cookbook, a book that you don’t happen to own? There are recipes, all right, but they are not complete. Take his “Macaroni and Cheese,” the one with “Butter-Poached Maine Lobster with Creamy Lobster Broth and Mascarpone-Enriched Orzo.” The main recipe is there, but not recipes for three essential components, the creamy lobster broth, the beurre monté, and the coral oil. So forget it, or plunk down some more money for the French Laundry Cookbook.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By DiSCO on March 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This cookbook was produced by a library that houses cookbooks of historic importance. It is far more interesting as a document of changing food trends and differing recipe styles through the ages than as anything a modern cook would actually use.

If you are expecting a functional cookbook, you will be disappointed.

Many of the recipes from influential early cookbooks are completely unusable -- curiosities, really. Recipes from more modern cookbooks will very often refer to other recipes that are not included: The recipe for Queen of Sheba cake from Medrich's Cocolat does not include the recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze. The recipe for Black Bean Enchiladas from Madison's The Greens Cookbook calls for Black Bean Chili, recipe not included. The recipe for Dr. E's Get-Well Vegetable Chicken Soup from Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking calls for Emeril's Creole Seasoning, recipe not included. On and on and on.

Another complaint: Many many illustrations are copies of cookbook pages with two or four pages reduced to fit one page. This gives an idea of page layout and general design, but is vastly annoying if you are trying to read text or get a decent look at the pictures.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. Holland on January 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In general this seems to be a good (not great) cookbook. I like the fact that there are photos of covers and pages of the cookbooks represented, particularly the ones out of print. However, a major beef I have is that in some of the featured recipes there will be a reference to another recipe in the book which is not included, e.g. a sauce or side dish to accompany the recipe. Readers should be aware that only half of the pages of this book are actual recipes and the other half of the book is information and illustrations about the classic cookbooks; I would have preferred a one-third, two-thirds mix, with less anecdotal information about the cookbooks featured, but that is a personal choice and others may prefer what the editors have done.
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