Cookbook addicts everywhere know the symptoms well--a buzz of excitement as a new book hits the market, a small voice imploring the brain to act now and shop, and finally the overwhelming joy as the book is bought, and that first aroma of new paper and fresh print hits the senses. With a proliferation of new cookbooks, cookbook junkies have certainly had their fix, but for those of us who can only fantasize about owning every new title, Food and Wine Magazine's Best of the Best
at least gives a taste of the best books out there. This highly regarded culinary institute selects books based on their strong designs, alluring photography, and tried and tested recipes--showcasing the best entrées, appetizers, and desserts from each. Every recipe is faithfully reproduced from the original, even down to the format of the page. This is an eclectic and delicious sampling from 1997 cookbook heaven. There are Chocolate Boulders from Marcel Desaulniers's Death by Chocolate Cookies
, Vivid Parsley and Pea Risotto from Deborah Madison's
wonderful Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
, Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie from The All New, All Purpose Joy of Cooking
, and so many more.
Encompassing snippets from 35 titles, Best of the Best is savvy in its organization, with five distinct chapters including "Chef's Cookbooks," "Best Sellers," and "Vegetarian/Healthy Cooking." And which title wins the ultimate accolade of Best Book of the Year? That would be Marcella Hazan's Marcella Cucina, an example of Italian regional cooking at its most divine. Try the Sauteed Cauliflower with Green Olives and Tomato for a truly triumphant dish, although every recipe in this collection is a winner. --Naomi Gesinger