Customer Reviews: Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen
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on November 22, 2009
Gourmet Today is a really spectacular cookbook. In the intro they (she...R Reichl and crew) state that bascially the American food culture has changed significantly ("sales of salsa now top out catsup....") as has the American lifestyle, with more demands on people's time coupled with a greater interest in eating well, and eating better, healthier food. So in Gourmet Today they strive to provide a cookbook that addresses this. I think they do a fantastic job in their effort. I have a truly huge (nearly 300) and very well used cookbook collection and I do not offer my praise of this one lightly. They have presented a broad, diverse collection of recipes with extraordinary finesse. I only buy new cookbooks that have recipes that fascinate and intrigue me and maybe go beyond what I have. Was going to pass on this one at Costco (folks, it is 21.95 there!) but started reading it and couldn't put it down. Got it home and have been enjoying it now for several weeks both to cook from and to read.

I have the first Gourmet cookbook; I like it well enough and refer to it fairly often, but in my estimation, this one is way better. I will not belabor the various sections, which are pretty standard and listed in detail by another 5* reviewer. But I will say there is something for everyone. It has great recipes for the familiar including tuna noodle casserole, a fantastic recipe for turkey meatballs w/spaghetti from Lidia Bastianich, and simply a myriad of other favorite salads, soups, sides and mains. But there are also some fantastic yet accessible recipes for that go beyond: turkey tonnato (yep, a turkey version of the infamously elegant veal tonnato, making it more affordable,healthier, easier to get than veal, and also more ecoloigical and a tad more compassionate), salmon cannelloni with lemon cream sauce (you make the fresh crespelle for the cannelloni..but it is still elegant and simple); some fantastic vegetarian recipes that are very well presented including an excellent tempeh burger, and my favorite for the moment - Afghani scallion dumplings with yogurt and meat sauces (folks, the most exotic ingredient in this charmer is wonton wrappers), mushroom tamales, roasted vegetable panzanella and much more. I could go on, but I hope this gives a sense of some of the interesting contents. There are really well-selected recipes from at least 6 major cultural groups (sorry to group some of these together but for expediency...): India, Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern, African, Euro-Mediterranean along with classic American. Great preparation tips and hints. There is an assumption that you might be entertaining or prepping ahead so there are tips for that as well as a healthy batch of both alcoholic and non-alcohlic beverage recipes; good section on grilling. Good info on sustainable seafood/fish. There are some excellent bread recipes. There are some good stories that accompany some of the recipes. Excellent collection of vegetable recipes as well as starch/pasta/grains. The desserts are awesome.

I saw somewhere where a reviewer said these recipes were 'dumbed down'. Not at all...but they are expertly conceived and presented making them seem simple or at least accessible. I will absolutely stand by that. The 'ethnic' recipes are brilliant - they have managed to make them both very accessible and authentic. There are recipes that are really simple to assemble and others that are more sophisticated but all, even the more complex ones, seem to have an ease of preparation bacause they are well thought out.

For those who live in really rural areas...might be some ingredients you can't get ( but then, even in small towns there are often "ethnic" groceries that cater to local Mexican and Asian populations...might try there for some ingredients, or mail order.). For those who simply MUST have pictures...this is not the book for you, but it does have stellar graphic design.

i will just restate that this is truly an excellently crafted collection of recipes that will not disappoint. I am amazed with how well thought out it seems to be. While I respect and use some of Mr. Bittman's cookbooks I sometimes feel like he defaults to Asian cooking style/flavors a bit too often; I do not find that at all with the Gourmet Today collection. I do find the collection is what I would call 'well-grounded' which for me means it is food the way real people eat, at home that is and not how they eat at 3 Star restaurants in Napa Valley (yes, we love French Laundry...but who cooks like that at home!).

Probably not for a timid beginning cook, but if you know and like anything about Gourmet Magazine, then this is highly recommended for you. Yes, some of these recipes can be found online or in editions of the magazine; other not. But with Gourmet Mag now sadly defunctified by Conde Nasty, this collection seems somehow even more special. Hope you get it and enjoy reading and using it as much as I have. This is going to stay on my favs shelf. There is PLENTY to explore in this masterpiece.
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on September 13, 2009
I got this book last week and have had it on the table, flipping through it and reading it all weekend. The recipes look great, they really do, contemporary and tasty, and I can't wait to try them. I doubt this book will hold up for cooking, though, because the binding is already breaking and those cute little green ribbon bookmarks popped out immediately. At over a thousand pages, this book should have a heavy-duty binding, and it doesn't. I think Houghton Miflin should have published it in two volumes to be more manageable and should have used much higher quality binding and materials. I would be willing to pay more for a book like that that would last. Addendum: WOW--these comments do get noticed! The publisher of this book contacted me and is sending me a new one. They were very apologetic and concerned and said that since I got an early run of the book, that might have explained the poor binding. I was very impressed with their response and how quickly they worked to resolve the problem--the true mark of quality customer service. I'd now give it five stars, but the app doesn't want to let me do that.
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on September 30, 2009
I had never made rabbit before last week. Not once, until a good, good friend gave me Gourmet Today. I meandered through it, loitering at the recipes that especially caught my eye, which many did, including one for rabbit braised in red wine. It reminded me of a French dish I love in which chicken and shallots are simmered for about an hour in red wine and vinegar, so I figured I'd try this similar approach to rabbit. It was better than the chicken, better than I ever hoped! The wine really deepened the flavor of the rabbit and it was so incredibly tender. And it was really easy, I actually made this after getting from home work on a weekday, and it is one of the best meals I've had in months. I took the book's suggestion and made buttered polenta to go with it, which was a great pairing.

This book is just wonderful! The only problem might be that there are too many recipes; I doubt I'll get through them all. I'm trying though. I've only had this for a week and I've already made the rabbit, weiner schnitzel (it's Oktoberfest time, after all, I should have appropriate food to go with my festbier), delicious cornmeal sugar cookies, and the grilled cumin chicken breasts with avocado salad. All great, and surprisingly easy. Last night some friends came over, including a couple vegetarians, so I made the asparagus with roasted potatoes and fried eggs (they weren't vegans!), plus I tweaked the red leaf lettuce salad a bit based on what I had on hand. These friends were also huge Mad Men fans, so I made Old Fashioneds and vodka Gimlets from the cocktail section. It was a good time, and it gave me an excuse to roast potatoes, as if I ever need one. The fried egg add-on was something I hadn't thought of doing, but it was a great idea.

A lot of the recipes seem very adaptable, which is a necessity for someone like me who always forgets a couple things when I'm grocery shopping. There's a great range of quick dishes and more involved and time-consuming recipes. So it's really useful for weekday meals as well as recipes for the weekend or when company is over.

The recipes also range widely as far as what ingredients are used. There are a lot of opportunities to use exotic seasons and ingredients, but also plenty where I can rely on what I have already on hand (as far as pantry items).

This is a really great book. If I had paid for it, I would say it's paid for itself already by getting me to stay in and cook better food than if I'd gone to a restaurant. I just hope I don't get too many food stains on it.
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Five Stars- 4 stars error

I heard Ruth Reichl speaking with Terry Gross on 'Fresh Air' while I was on a long drive home. She was scheduled to discuss her new cookbook and, oh, by the way, Conde Nast had just shut down the publication of 'Gourmet' magazine. A shocker to all and none more than Ruth Reichl- she had not seen this coming at all. In her grief, she was able to provide a marvelous romp through this new cookbook plus she was able to tell wonderful stories that go with food. The minute she started describing her two 'go to' dinner dishes, the meals that she could prepare in a hurry, I was more than hooked. I wanted to get out of my car and buy the cookbook immediately. I did buy it via Amazon,, and it is a beauty!

A 1008 page cookbook with a the most luscious green cover. Her cookbook from ten years ago is yellow and this compliments that book well. Besides this cookbook is a greening up of America, and the color is just perfect. Grant you, this cookbook is large, over 1,000 recipes. A little intimidating to be sure, but a cursory glance through the book quickly convinced me that this is the 'Go To Cookbook'. One of the ironic by products of this cookbook is that a one year subscription to 'Gourmet' is included on the flyleaf.

The cookbook is well designed and the lay out is perfect. The table of contents is two pages. From drinks, hor d'oeuvres, soups, salads, pastas, grains,vegetarian main courses, fish, poultry, meats, grilled dishes, vegetables, breakfast and breads, cookies and bars, pies, tarts. and pastries, fruit desserts, puddings, custards, frozen desserts, menus, tips and techniques, glossary, sources, and index. Did she leave anything out? It will take me years to find out for sure!

Ruth talked about her son who had gone to college, and after his first meal in the cafeteria decided to cook his own meals. Ruth went shopping with him one day and discovered the world was much different now. We have more fresh foods, we want fresh foods, some prepared foods, ethnic foods, fun foods, the world was out there for her son to discover. She realized that she needed to write a new cookbook, and thus this 'go to cookbook' was born. The chapter on drinks surprised me, but what a wonderful surprise. All drinks wise and wonderful. The drinks, vegetarian main meals and grilled dishes are new entrants into this book. The combination of all of these foods, plus menu planning and party ideas is a boost. This is a cookbook for a cook- a new cook, a cook with many years and the ultimate chef. Everyone can benefit from this cookbook. It is a must for every kitchen.

The green ribbon place finder is a wonderful surprise and right now it is on the page of my first recipe. Spiced Chicken on page 397. This could be one of the best chicken recipes I have ever had, and one of the easiest to prepare. The combination of spices and the chicken are yum, yum, finger licking, really. And, she gives us a hint of what to serve with it, and how to make a sauce. Really, everyone, you must try this chicken, I mean it!

'Gourmet Today' has found a place of honor in my kitchen, and I read a chapter or two a day. Cookbooks are for reading and they are one of my favorite books. I love this book.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-20-09

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The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes
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on October 16, 2009
Yes, I'm still in mourning for the death (the stupid, ill-conceived death) of one of the great food magazines in history, so my review is tinged with sorrow and anger...BUT I think you can trust me (I'm a food scholar and happily adventuresome cook of over 30 years) when I say that Gourmet Today is a FANTASTIC cookbook! Yes, many of the recipes are lighter and quicker than "traditional" Gourmet fare, but why not go buy the slightly older "Gourmet Cookbook" (which includes revised recipes from the magazine's sixty years of publication) and have a twosome? I did.

Gourmet Today is simply crammed to the brim with attractive, clever, well-described and executed recipes for nearly everything you could want to cook, with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture, world cuisine, and innovation. The recipes are sensible, understandable, and yet incredibly seductive. Ruth Reichl and her staff have somehow distilled the essence of new American Foodways (which, really, means fusion world cuisine) down to the BEST and most alluring recipes, across the spectrum. I have over 400 cookbooks but I could see myself easily, happily, using just this ONE book for years, if I were stranded on the proverbial deserted island (with a grocery store or internet access ;-). Just now, I was cruising the soup chapter and ran out of bookmarks for soups that take old friend ingredients and combine them in seductive new ways: White Bean and Tuscan Kale Soup with Chestnuts...Roasted Tomato Soup with Parmesan Wafers...Chunky Butternut Squash, White Bean, and Tomato Soup...Tunisian Soup with Egg Noodles and Chard, and it goes on and on. I'm drooling as I write this, in fact.

As to the "ingredients are hard to find" claim, well...perhaps. One doesn't get much more "rural" than my location (I'm outside a small farming town of just 1000 in NW Iowa, in a land where "dinner" means meat and potatoes...the nearest "gourmet" grocery store is a 2.5 hour drive) and yet with some advance planning (we shop at better stores when in Omaha and Des Moines--we hit up Penzey's Spices each time, too-- and freeze what we can), stockpiling (I buy pinon nuts by the five pound box and freeze) and with the incredible ease with which one may order just about any gourmet food item known to womankind, from Amazon (super saver shipping! Free!) or I-gourmet, etc., there' not a recipe in this book that cannot be made. Most don't require anything more than your average "slightly upscale" kitchen/pantry/grocery store, in fact.

By the way, this book comes with a "Bonus Offer" of a year's subscription to Gourmet Magazine. Seeing that made me sad all over again. So,I called the subscription service number listed at the Gourmet website and found out that one does NOT have to accept a substitute subscription to Bon Appetit, but may instead request a check for the $12 cost of an intial Gourmet subscription. Should this actually go through and work out, you just saved another twelve bucks off the cost of this book, so what's YOUR excuse for not buying it this instant? Cheers!
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on October 7, 2009
I live in India, and received the book a week back. The vegetarian and grilling sections are amazing, really extensive and different from other cookbooks that I own. I especially liked the quick puff pastry recipe, that was easy to make, (we don't get puff pastry in the supermarkets in India), and tasted very authentic! Also, the Indian inspired recipes are surprisingly like the real stuff!
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on October 6, 2009
I too received a copy of Gourmet that didn't stand up to the binding. I wrote to Gourmet and they passed my letter onto the publishers. I immediately heard from them and they replaced my copy. I have tested the binding on my new copy and it strong and will most certainly hold up to use. The pages stay open which means I can easily use it on my kitchen counter.

Im a prolific collector of cookbooks and when I first received my copy (for a gift) I was surprised to see no pictures and wondered whether I would actually meander through the book. I read the first few pages and was hooked. Every page holds a treasury of delights. I feel like a kid in a candy store! I love the blurb before each recipe. I am drawn into the recipes and feel like Gourmet is entertaining me in their kitchen.

This is wonderful value for money and a must for anyone who loves cooking.
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on November 20, 2009
This book, discounted as it is, is an absolutely SPECTACULAR deal.

We have tried several recipes - all perfected in the experimental kitchens of the sadly defunct Gourmet Magazine - and they have all been distinctive, relatively simple in terms of technique, and written with perfect economy and clarity. Each recipe we have tested are based on newly available ingredients in common grocery stores, and they add just that little twist of new flavor and combination to many standard recipes. Unlike the rather banal standards or overly complex yupped-up offerings in New Basics (excellent but you need about 40 recondite ingredients that you may never use for anything else), these recipes are accessible to busy parents who want to offer more than chicken nuggets every other night.

I am convinced that we will plumb the depths of this masterpiece over the next ten years - adding many standards to our cooking repertoire and educating the palettes of our children. We have looked for a cook book this excellent, with a density of ideas and step-by-step instructions for even novices, for several years; indeed, we have spent a lot of money in the process! This one is it, at long last.

Warmly recommended. It is a testament to the great mag that spawned it.
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on April 22, 2013
This is one of my favorite cookbooks (along with the original yellow one). The recipes are so well-written and easy to follow, and turn out spectacularly. I have made dozens and dozens of recipes from this cookbook and have yet to find one I don't like. A few favorites are the Curried Red Lentil Stew with Vegetables (delicious spices), the Hot Fudge Sauce (EASY and one of the best I've tried), Chicken, Rice, and Mango Lettuce Wraps (especially with the spicy peanut sauce that is part of another recipe), the Chocolate-Glazed Hazelnut Mousse Cake (so chocolatey and creamy, with a crisp chocolate shortbread crust), Vegetable Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce (worth the price of the cookbook just for this recipe), Green Rice (yummy with any Mexican fare), Linguine with Zucchini and Mint (surprisingly full-flavored and delicious with so few ingredients), Lentil, Sausage, and Escarole Soup (perfect for a simple winter dinner), Baked Butter-Pecan French Toast with Blueberry Syrup (YUM), Maple Sugar Ragamuffins (easy enough for the kids to do a lot of the prep), Apricot Cobbler (also delicious with peaches and/or nectarines), Ginger Doughnut Rounds (tender and packed with delicious ginger flavor), and Parsley-Crouton Omelets with Gruyere (everybody raves about these--a favorite for brunch).

I love how there are so many easy recipes that can be made quickly on a weeknight, along with several more involved recipes for a Sunday dinner. AND there is so much information at the beginning of each recipe and lots of tips and tutorials scattered throughout the book. I have learned that the bake times are sometimes a little too long for some of the baked goods (I use a thermometer for breads and rolls to not over bake them) but individual ovens can vary quite a bit, so adjust according to your oven and check baked goods a little early.

Happy cooking!
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on September 28, 2009
I was dying to get a copy of the new Gourmet - I'm a huge fan of the earlier version, and have made many many favorite dishes from it that are real crowd pleasers. The new Gourmet is the right mix of practical every day recipes with wonderful occasion dishes. I was truly delighted to see recipes like white gazpacho, ricotta dumplings (gnudi), and apple pizza (desert!). I was also happy to see the inclusion of more fun, less traditional dishes, healthier recipes, a big section on vegetables with an expansive variety of veg covered, and a great soup section. In general I think the book lives up to its 'contemporary kitchen' claim, and I was very pleased by the steady infusion of international recipes. As in the previous version, the sidebars impart hugely valuable information. Finally, with regards to the comment about the book binding - perhaps it was one bad apple? From a construction perspective the book seems of a similar good, strong quality to the previous Gourmet - a book I have heartily abused for several years now, yet is absolutely fine.
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