News Peruse: August 29 Edition

In the flurry of excitement over the latest series of Great British Bake Off and the never ending list of culinary observances, I’ve been terribly slack on keeping up with all the food news you can peruse. So, let me make amends by offering these tasty tidbits and interesting ideas I’ve found on my daily wander across the digital foodie landscape.

The Naughty Way to Roast a Chicken

On the way home, I picked up a chicken and embarked on a rather obscene journey with the pan that until this fateful moment lived mostly in obscurity in the back of a cabinet, and occasionally made innocent cakes for sweet little tea parties.

Naughty? No, but intriguing yes! I love the idea of using a Bundt pan (one of the most “single use items” ever, hence we do not have one) to do a vertical chicken (and gain a use in the process). Has anyone done this?

Britain’s Dim Sum Trolleys Are Making Their Last Rounds

“The Italians have antipasti, the Spanish have tapas, and us Asians, we have our dim sum.”

A fab piece by my friend Angela – member of the great food content team known as The White Room. I love dim sum from a cart – sad to see it’s fading here. Obviously, I get the space-based reasons why. Still sad. I shall do my part to keep the tradition alive by trying to get some trolley based dim sum next time I am in NYC (where it is, to the best of my knowledge, still available).

Cookbooks’ key ingredient now design not recipes, says food writer

“In my day you could still buy a good cookbook in paperback with no pictures at all. I doubt if that would sell today. But those books were much used: they lived in the kitchen and got splattered with custard and gravy.”

Reading the above quote, I was confused.  I’m not quite sure where Prue has been but Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat had no pictures and sold very well. Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything has some diagrams but even those are pretty sparse. There are no photos. The New York Times Cookbook edited by Amanda Hessler has no photos, neither does the Joy of Cooking – even after all these editions. All of these books are still, as far a I know, selling well.

Yes, I have cookbooks with photos – lots of them but I also have plenty that don’t. Yes, I Google recipes – lots of them, all the time but I still look at cookbooks when looking to adjust a recipe or when looking for something new to do. I agree with her that a lot of newer cookbooks are coffee table book and style (and goodness knows size) but that’s partially because so many are TV and celebrity ties these days. After all, food TV is huge huge business.

I don’t agree that this is the tragedy she seems to think it is because I don’t think it’s true across the board and I don’t think this automatically means people aren’t cooking from them. Also – Prue sounds just a TAD bitter. So, in sum: I am not in any way against beautifully visual cookbooks – the Spice Men is a GORGEOUS book, as our many on the shelves of TransAtlantic Towers but I think Prue is seeing what Prue wants to see. People are buying all sorts of cookbooks – new and classic, text and photo driven and many of them are cooking from those books.

The best cookbooks of all time, as chosen by the experts

“… whenever the fingers stopped turning pages and started tapping on the page, I’d know the recipe had been found.”

The previous article prompted this one where a selection of notable cooks were asked about cookbooks that influenced them. And from this piece, I have learned several things:

  1. Raymond Blanc is self-taught ( I had NO idea & I am flabbergasted)
  2. I still have no time for Jack Monroe (because I’m not as interested in Jack as Jack is)
  3. I am not alone in my love of cookbooks that also provide context and cultural info
  4. There are a lot of cookbooks mentioned in the comments that I would really like to take a look at.




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