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Wednesday, December 31, 2008 

The Year in Cookbooks 2008

Since everyone is looking back at the tumultuous year that is soon to go into the history books, I thought I would round-up of some cookbooks that piqued my interest (and tastebuds) in 2008.

America Eats! On the Road with the WPA-The Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chitlin' Feasts that Define Real American Food
Pat Willard takes readers on a journey into the regional nooks and crannies of American cuisine where WPA writers—including Eudora Welty, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, and Nelson Algren, among countless others—were dispatched in 1935 to document the roots of our diverse culinary cuisine. With the unpublished WPA manuscript as her guide, Willard visits the sites of American food’s past glory to rediscover the vibrant foundation of America’s traditional cuisine.
Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients
When asked how she gets such flavorful recipes, Ina retorted: "Sometimes flavor is about pairing things. Like adding a little creme de cassis to a plum crunch. You don't know it's there, but it makes the plums taste great.

Sometimes flavor is about how you cook something. I take supermarket plum tomatoes and roast them to bring out their flavor. The sugars caramelize, and the tomatoes become incredibly delicious.

You know, my background is in science - I worked as a nuclear-energy analyst in the White House Office of Management and Budget - and cooking is a lot like a science experiment, except that at the end of the day you wind up with a Caprese salad.
Outstanding in the Field: A Farm to Table Cookbook
Both a cookbook and a guide to supporting farms, this book is a celebration of farmers, nature and the sensory pleasures of creating and eating good food.
The Modern Baker: Time-Saving Techniques for Breads, Tarts, Pies, Cakes and Cookie
Nick Malgieri shows  new approaches to baking, using the most up-to-date tools and techniques to bake everything from bread to biscotti to puff pastry to old-fashioned layer cakes quick and easy—in many cases in under an hour.
Cooking up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans
What would happen if a natural disaster left you without your favorite recipes? A new cookbook, "Cooking Up a Storm," arose out of of just such a calamity. - SFGate (NPR has a story.)
Cooking with all things Trader Joe's.
Trader Joe's. Need I say more?
Fish Forever. The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood. 
This is the book for people who love seafood but worry about overfishing and mercury and other contaminants. Fish Forever pinpoints today's least-endangered, least-contaminated, best-tasting fish and shellfish species. In-depth guidance on 70 different fish along with 96 stylish international recipes that highlight the outstanding culinary qualities of each.
The Los Angeles Times is naming it's top recipes of 2008 and memorable restaurant meals. Oh, yummy.

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