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The Epicurious Cookbook: More Than 250 of Our Best-Loved Four-Fork Recipes for Weeknights, Weekends & Special Occasions Paperback – October 30, 2012
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Cooking in the New Year
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A Letter from Tanya Steel to Amazon Cooks
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 Interviews Tanya Steel, Author of The Epicurious Cookbook
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]
About the Author
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.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The book is organized seasonally into 4 chapters: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Each season is then subdivided into the following sections: breakfast; starters; mains; sides; sandwiches and breads; desserts. I like the seasonal organization but I think I would have preferred the book organized exclusively by the listed subdivisions. I find it easier to navigate a cookbook when all breakfasts are categorized together, all cakes are categorized together, etc., instead of cakes being organized into sping or fall menus. The recipes have a special tag on them to indicate when a reader submitted recipes is being featured.
The book is around four hundred pages and is a flat spined paperback. It needs a cookbook stand or some other aid to stay open on its own. The photography in the book is certainly eye-catching and pretty much guarentees that you will give in to a nine pm random urge to run to the market and purchase the ingredients for double chocolate layer cake (page 385). There is not a photograph for each finished recipe but there is a very generous number of photographs.
In case I wasn't clear, this is a compilation of greatest recipes--not new material.Read more ›
We first made the Chili con Carne - it was the flattest, most boring chili we had ever had. We ended up adding more liquid, more beans, a LOT more salt, and spice just to make it resemble proper chili. This was, perhaps, what they would think chili was in Norway, but not in the West.
The gnocchi with lemon sauce, spinach and peas looked like a great idea, but was simply not very good. The sauce should be more rich and robust. The more I ate, the less I liked it. Ended up eating a reheated pancake to get the taste out of my mouth.
I'm drawing a blank on the third item we made, but I remember commented that it was also boring.
Maybe we just picked some bad ones... will try a few more.
Great photos, but only of half of the dishes. I don't like making recipes without a photo of what it's supposed to look like.
UPDATE: Bumping up to 3 stars. Tried two more recipes since the initial disappointments - a Peruvian chicken and a cherry/chocolate cookie. Both were delicious. Will have to keep experimenting!
This is a big book with tons of recipes. Most appealing to me so far are pea salad with radishes and feta, asparagus and hearts of palm salad, and grilled caesar salad.
In addition to being organized by season, you can also look up recipes by occasion (ex. fast meal on a weekday, something to wow guests, and holiday occasions). This is clearly a well thought out and carefully curated collection. I'll try to update as I try more recipes. Bon apetit!
Organization of recipes: the recipes are organized by season. While this can be annoying if you have a specific course in mind and want to see all of your options ("desserts" for instance), I enjoy this feature because it encourages me to cook in-season. In-season, fresh ingredients will definitely affect the final product for the better. On the other hand, if you have a specific ingredient that you're wanting to use (like butternut squash), you can use the index. There are also many pictures (really gorgeous pictures at that) which makes browsing the book fun, and finding good recipes very easy.
Quality of recipes: I've tried a handful of these recipes so far, and each one turned out perfectly. Epicurious is a very good website, and the recipes that make up this book are the top-reviewed ones on the website. It's no surprise, then, that they're really good. One feature that I appreciate is that the editors included some of the top suggestions that reviewers left on the website, such as subbing beans for meat in a certain dish or ways to turn a side dish into a main course. These notes save me from sifting through the hundreds of reviews on the website.
Variety of recipes: I'm a meat-eater who is married to a vegetable-lover, and we've both found multiple recipes that we can't wait to try.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although I now have over 500 cookbooks, and I have many favorites, this is the one that I almost always go to first for a recipe or idea. Read morePublished 2 months ago by James G. Johnson
I really like these Epicurious cookbooks. They are well tested and interesting recipes. A good book to have on hand for people who like to cook.Published 2 months ago by Peter
In kindle e book form the book is useless because the index/table of contents does not work.
Money back, please!
Very easy to read and well organized for the seasons. Can't wait to follow the 'calendar' with the book! HoorayPublished 4 months ago by DukMan