Have I mentioned how great my husband is? On my birthday, I come home and he has a bag of goodies from Sur La Table waiting for me. And he says, “I ordered a book for you that will come in a week or two”. A book? Yes, he has ordered “The Essential New York Times Cook Book” by Amanda Hesser. How did he know to do that? He said he remembered me mentioning wanting it when I first heard it was coming out. Well, that was just perfect! I couldn’t wait for it to arrive.
Now that it’s here, I love it even more than I thought I would. The book is not a re-write of the original New York Times Cook Book by Craig Claiborne. I bought the original when I first started cooking based on the fact that it had so many potato recipes. This new book has many of every kind of recipe. 1400, I believe. And all of them are recipes that have been published in the New York Times. In fact, Hesser went back to the beginning and culled through recipes from the 1800’s until now.
Each chapter has a timeline at the beginning showing the food trends as they emerged. Each chapter starts with the oldest recipes she found to be worth a look at again and ends with the most current. I love this concept. The history of food is very interesting to me. In fact, when we stayed in the officers quarters at the Presidio la Bahia in Goliad, Texas, I researched the food to serve that would be historically correct. So, yes, I have issues. And this book is right up my alley.
When the book arrived, I sat down and started reading. There are well over 800 pages of recipes and text. I’m not going to tell you that I read every word of every recipe. I will say that I spent several evenings with this book. Hesser’s writing is easy and entertaining. The information she rolls out is endlessly interesting.
I’m thinking Sour Cream Ice Cream sounds pretty good. And the Cherry Bounce, published in 1880, could be pretty tasty. Soaking cherries in whiskey for a few weeks has got to be good. I’ve got some chicken wings in the fridge right now. 1979’s Chicken Wings with Oyster Sauce is tempting. What about a whole dinner party with foods from the 60’s and 70’s? There are menus in the back based on just about everything; timelines, holidays, times of day, location…
I bet Hubbard wishes I would quit talking about it and start cooking!