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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

4.4 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

Warmly,

Tanya Steel
Editor-in-Chief
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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307984850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307984852
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1.1 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a huge fan of the Epicurious website. I've been using it since 2004 when I first married, and I've often wondered why Epicurious had not compiled a cookbook showcasing their best recipes. Epicurious was originally a database of recipes from Bon Appetit magazine and Gourmet magazine but has expanded to include a lot of other culinary talent. The recipes are ranked by users from 1 to 4 forks, based on the percentage of users who would make the recipe again. This little book is a compilation of more than 250 of their 4 fork (read: highest ranked) recipes.

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.
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I'll update again after we try a few more dishes, but so far we're not doing so well.

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!
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Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of epicurious and internet recipes isites n general. But there are times when you just want to reach for a book and have the permanence and elegance of your favorite recipes in one spot. I suppose I could print out various epicurious recipes I've enjoyed and put them in a binder and make notes in the margin, but that wouldn't look as good (this is a handsome and tastefully designed book), nor would I benefit from the brain trust of epicurious that created this. Plus I like the idea of supporting the site, which has provided me with so many lovely meals.

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!
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I bought this cookbook for my wife as a gift and she hates that it's organized by season (spring, summer, fall winter). She prefers organization by type (starters, mains, desserts). This cookbook is supposed to be a compilation of the website's best-loved and highest-rated recipes, which is a good concept, but execution wasn't polished. More pictures and addition of nutritional information would have been better.
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Epicurious has long been my go-to site for recipe ideas. It's great to be able to read reviews of recipes and see how others have tweaked the recipe to enhance their results. Now, finally, you have the same benefits without the risk of covering your laptop or Ipad in flour! This cookbook has a wide variety of dishes, 95% of which I want to make right now! Every recipe is from their 4 fork (ie. top rated by those who have tried it!) files, and each also includes a tip from a home cook on how they tried it out at home. It's like getting Amazon reviews in a cookbook! This is a fun and inspiring cookbook that I'd recommend as a gift to anyone who enjoys cooking and trying out new food ideas for their family!
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Format: Paperback
I work in a library and I brought this book home for some holiday cooking ideas. I found 9 recipes right away I wanted to make. I did wind up making 4 of the recipes for my family and friends this Thanksgiving and I loved how they all turned out. So did the guests! I am now going to buy the book to add to my recipe book collection. I will soon be making the other 5 recipes! I made Tom Colicchio's herb-butter turkey, Brussels sprout hash, Spiced pumpkin layer cake, and the Cinnamon crumble apple pie! The other recipes I am anxious to try are Eggplant Lasagna with parsley pesto, Sweet potato puree with smoked paprika, Wild mushroom-potato gratin and Beets and caramelized onions with feta.
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