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The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century Hardcover – October 25, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hesser, a food columnist for the New York Times, offers a superb compilation of the most noteworthy recipes published by the paper since it started covering food in the 1850s. What she has produced is no less a chronicle of American culinary history--an evolutionary progression that marks the notable and sometimes regrettable changes in our approach to food--than a cookbook. Recipe originators are a hodgepodge of talent, including noted chefs and the kitchens of famed restaurants such as Le Bernardin as well as Times writers, most notably Craig Claiborne, whose culinary mastery is evidenced throughout. Every category of food is covered, and each recipe is accompanied by serving suggestions for complementary dishes within the book. From 1877's tomato soup and 1907's roast quail with sage dressing to Eisenhower's steak in the fire and 1968's sour cream coffee cake, Hesser showcases the best of the best. Each recipe is dated, and many include cooking notes. Hesser, whose witty bent permeates every page, does a more than admirable job with this stellar collection of more than 1,400 recipes, which should grace the shelves of every food-lover. (Oct.) (c)
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Starred Review: A superb compilation....Hesser, whose witty bent permeates every page, does a more than admirable job with this stellar collection of more than 1,400 recipes, the results of which should grace the shelves of every food-lover.

Starred review. A superb compilation....Hesser, whose witty bent permeates every page, does a more than admirable job with this stellar collection of more than 1,400 recipes, the results of which should grace the shelves of every food-lover. "
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 960 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (October 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393061035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393061031
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 2.3 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've had this cookbook for two weeks now. Although I loved reading it, I wanted to wait to write a review until after I'd actually cooked from it. In the past two weeks, I've made over a dozen recipes from the book: plum torte (twice), blueberry muffins, fennel stew, cumin carrots, roast salmon, root vegetable stew with dumplings, watermelon tomato salad, warm butter lettuce salad, a chicken stew with olives, and more. They are uniformly terrific recipes - clearly written, well-tested, challenging enough to be fun, but easy enough to prepare after a busy workday - for foods that I actually want to eat. I've recommended this book to everyone I know who likes to cook. This is going to be an instant classic. I'm sure it will be the go-to cookbook for both everyday and special occasion meals, much the same as The Joy of Cooking and The Silver Palate have been.
In addition to the recipes, it contains a great introduction, interesting comments throughout, suggested accompanying dishes, extensive menus, etc. This is the best $22 you'll ever spend!

UPDATE - I've now made over 80 of the recipes from this book and only 2 have been so-so and all the rest delectable and ones I plan on making multiple times (or have already such as teddie's apple cake, the chocolate dump-it cake and david eyre's pancake). The lasagne was the best ever as was the beef bourgignon 1.
Most of the dishes are quick to prepare and so can be used for every-day cooking, but are by no means ho-hum. I'm shocked by any of the negative reviews, as I'm an experienced home cook who has really enjoyed reading and cooking from this book. If anything, my esteem for this cookbook has continued to increase since I purchased it. I've never used any cookbook as regularly and with as much pleasure.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the type of cookbook I call an armchair cookbook because it can be just as easily enjoyed by simply reading through it as it can be trying out the recipes in the kitchen.

If you were impressed when Julie Powell spent a year of her life trying every one of Julia Child's French recipes, you will be astounded by Amanda Hesser's six-year Herculean task of evaluating and writing about 150 years of New York Times recipes. There's an immense satisfaction that comes from reading thru these recipes, kind of like being a guest invited into Hesser's test kitchen and watching the culinary drama unfold without having to do any of the work or shoulder any of the responsibility.

Clear a space on your cookbook library shelf for The Essential New York Times Cookbook -- this heavy tome is a must-have for anyone who loves reading about food as well as getting creative with it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, for anyone who loves to read a good cookbook, this is wonderful gift. The background provided with the recipes and the tone in which it is given are a real pleasure. Second, for anyone who loves food and making it, this book is a treasure. There are recipes here that i know well from years of devoted clipping and, later, printing from the NY Times but I am also discovering many new ones that sound just great. A thousand recipes, most of them interesting and all with at least the original publication date or some extra tidbit of information! In addition, you can learn about how our tastes have evolved and what a family might eat in the 19th century. When my copy arrived, I was reading a decent novel. Since then I have been happily perusing my new cookbook with the novel all but forgotten. And, oh yeah, occasionally I cook something yummy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was reading another book but set it aside when this arrived in the mail, and haven't been back to it yet. I'm not the sort of person who would read a cookbook, but this is more like a cool encyclopedia of best of the New York Times recipes over the past 150 years, interspersed with interesting historical information, hints from testing, cooking notes, and some reader comments/memories. The author's voice is full of warmth, wit, and sharp, bright intelligence. Her personable approach (as opposed to taking the form of a disengaged editor) conveys care about this momentous project and it is precisely what makes the book really shine. And it's fun to see a recipe that I had clipped from the Times years and years ago, right there in the book--it kind of underscores how great it is! (Plus it may include a footnote that offers a small change that will make it turn out even better!) The 1,400-plus recipes were selected judiciously, sound absolutely wonderful, and cover a huge territory.
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Format: Hardcover
One of my children recently gave me a membership to the cookbook club rather than trying to find out what book I might want and not have. The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century was one of my top choices and it arrived about a week ago.

This is a real tome, running to nearly 900 pages - not counting the index. 1400 or so recipes, most accompanied by some anecdote about their appearance in the New York Times or Cook's Notes from the author's experience with the recipe or even letters from readers, and many of those 1400 recipes sound wonderful. Some of them you will even know from elsewhere - Leahy's No Knead Bread comes to mind, pg. 670. It will take you quite some while to even page through all of this in order to familiarize yourself with the recipes.

But, even then you had best pray for an excellent memory. Better yet, use stickies to mark the recipes that you want to try as you go, because this book has the single most useless index I have ever seen and a method of "categorization" that will leave you frustrated almost beyond belief.

I discovered this several days ago when I wanted to make a recipe I thought I had seen for a dish of marinated peppers. Turning to "peppers" in the index I was told to look under "bell peppers" or "chile peppers" or "pimentos" or "roasted bell peppers" - no page numbers for any of those entries. What followed was a merry - and fruitless - chase all over the index and the book looking for that particular recipe. I never did find it, perhaps because not a few recipes contain sub-recipes for various components that do not seem to be indexed as a separate dish.
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