Who would have thought that the millions worldwide that view Epicurious as their sous chef, who return daily to their digital recipe boxes seeking their favorites, would crave a printed product?
Epicurious was founded on the principle that good food should be enjoyed by, and accessible to, everyone; that our global village of home cooks can provide invaluable expertise; that the world's great culinary minds should be showcased in recipe, video, article. But being a purely digital product—albeit one available via computer, smartphone, tablet, printer, and refrigerator—left some of our passionate community desiring one thing more—a printed cookbook. Some wanted it so they could read the book in bed, salivating over the food photography and delicious recipe titles. Others asked from a more practical point of view, saying they still liked to cook from an actual book, pages collecting flour and absorbing grease as the tangible proof of a delicious memory. And then a vocal minority just wanted to know what recipes we editors liked most, asking us to act as curators.
So, we took up the charge, selecting from amongst the top-rated recipes voted by users. The process was, well, lengthy. Try going through a database that numbers 200,000, choosing from amongst the best of the best, created by the likes of Gourmet and Bon Appétit magazines, top cookbook authors like Edna Lewis, Dorie Greenspan, and Bruce Aidell, renowned chefs like David Chang, Tom Colicchio, and Jonathon Waxman. It was hard! Arguments ensued. Knives were drawn at dawn—umm . . . kitchen knives . . .
We decided to structure the book the way we all eat and cook—by season—then by meal course or type. Because we love and value our community, we also chose to feature some of our most talented home cook recipes, and gave them the royal treatment—testing, cross-testing, and then editing and photographing their family recipes. We strove to find the perfect member comment to add editorial insight into each recipe and wrote headnotes that supplied menu ideas, cooking tips, and substitutions. We created menus so that any reader could just flip to the back and get a preplanned meal. And, finally, we convinced legendary food photographer Ellen Silverman, who had just come off shooting Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, to render shots of the dishes just as they would look in any of our kitchens—rustic, fresh, tasty.
And so here we are, about to give birth to Epicurious' first-ever cookbook. We couldn't have done it without the support and encouragement of our vocal global cooking club, and we couldn't be more proud of the results.
We hope it will become one of your all-time favorite classics.
Epicurious, Gourmet Live, Gourmet.com, and coauthor of Real Food for Healthy Kids
Molly O'Neill is the author of One Big Table as well as New York Cookbook, A Well-Seasoned Appetite, The Pleasure of Your Company, and Mostly True. A former reporter for the New York Times and the food columnist for its Sunday magazine, she hosted the PBS series Great Food. She has won the Julia Child/IACP Award, three James Beard citations for books, journalism, and television, as well as the foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award. She has twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Tanya Steel is that rare breed of food-loving editors who came of age in print journalism and moved seamlessly into the online world. Packing a decade’s worth of old-media discipline and tradition, she turned Epicurious.com into the premier site for people who cook. Ms. Steel is all of what her name implies. She is also a serious superstar.
Launched by Condé Nast in 1995, Epicurious was initially imagined as a digital repository for Gourmet and Bon Appétit, the company's two food magazines. In 2005, when Steel took the helm, she began commissioning more and more original work, minding dining and cooking trends and serving up feasts of words and recipes for all the demographic groups that comprise a Big Time readership.
Since then, Epicurious has collected almost 200,000 recipes, and every month 9 million unique users log on to answer the question of the day: What the heck am I going to cook for dinner (or for Thanksgiving, or for my shiny new boyfriend, or my in-laws, or the eight people I impulsively invited to dinner on Saturday night)? The Epicurious Cookbook is a finely curated volume—250 recipes drawn from the sea of online possibilities—all of which have been test-driven with the savvy and determination generally associated with Detroit's crash-car experts.
Out of my 15,000 cookbooks, it feels like one of the handful that I will actually keep in the kitchen, a book that captures this moment in American appetite. I called Tanya Steel to ask how she did it—and why.
Continue reading the complete interview [PDF]
TANYA STEEL is the Editor-in-Chief of EPICURIOUS.COM. Winner of a James Beard award for restaurant reviewing, and a member of the Digital Hall of Fame, Steel was previously an editor at Bon Appetit, Diversion, Food & Wine, and Mademoiselle. She is the co-author of the award-winning Real Food for Healthy Kids.
Launched in 1995, EPICURIOUS is the most award-winning food site on the web, which has received 64 awards, including two James Beards, an Emmy, eighteen Webbys, and three from the American Society of Magazine Editors.
Have only tried a few recipes from the book, but they were winners!
The "Do Ahead" hints that accompany many of the recipes are a real help in co-ordinating meals, when time is a factor in a busy schedule.
There are also many pictures (really gorgeous pictures at that) which makes browsing the book fun, and finding good recipes very easy.
Nice particularly because recipes have been tried and reviewed by everyday cooks. Good variety of recipes, simple instructions.Published 1 month ago by Loves to Cook
Beautiful book, modern classic recipes. Particularly liked the Tarragon Egg Salad. This promises to be a great cookbook and I love that it's organized by season.Published 2 months ago by Sarah Sack
Terrible index information. Hard to find recipes through the index or any other way. Even this way of reviewing...all unclear.Published 3 months ago by Paz Canals
He cooks a lot & likes the recipes in it! Likes the author too. He'll use it a lot too.Published 5 months ago by Audrey Clark it was a gift
Great Book, great recipes, great writer, great experience. . It goes well with my great collection the Epicurean.
I am huge epicurious.com fan, so I was very excited to get this cookbook as a birthday gift. I've tried a few of the recipes, which were great.Published 5 months ago by Jane Rosenthal
Carefully edited book of the Epicurious website, I've been using it for a while now and the recipes are delicious and extremely reliable. Don't miss the Peanut Butter Brownies!!!Published 7 months ago by DKD
Total disappointment. I love the Epicurious website and get great recipes off of it. So I thought I would find some in this book, wrong. Read morePublished 9 months ago by D. Christensen
My a wife loves it. We've made a couple meals so far and they've been good. Will use it many more times.Published 10 months ago by jutt lynch