And if you haven’t yet read her newest memoir (Random House), of which I received a review copy, you ought to pronto, especially if you were a fan of the dearly missed Gourmet magazine.
When she was the restaurant critic for the New York Times, Reichl was offered the top job at the country’s oldest epicurean magazine. Initially, she actually turned down the job as editor-in-chief of Gourmet. But she eventually reconsidered, realizing the strong pull the magazine had on her since she first leafed through its pages when she was 8 years old.
The book takes you behind the scenes of the iconic magazine, recounting how Reichl turned it around from a publication that had grown stale with ladies-who-lunch fare to one that was ground-breaking in design and text. It thrilled and surprised — until it was no more, shuttered because profit margins weren’t high enough.
I was a long–time subscriber to the magazine. But I had forgotten just how pioneering it had been. It was illuminating to revisit the topics it covered, enlisting some of the country’s best writers — not just best food writers — to pen stories never seen before, including the plight of the Immokalee farm workers in Florida, who picked the industrial tomatoes that flood supermarkets, under conditions that verged on modern-day slavery.
Or the shocking fall-out that occurred when Reichl dared to put a gloriously whimsical cake covered in cupcakes on the cover of the magazine, which somehow ended up offending a number of readers. Go figure.
With recipes for 47 different spice blends, plus 139 recipes, your taste buds won’t know what hit ’em.
Sure, it’s easy enough to buy jarred spice blends at the supermarket. But when you make your own, you can customize them to your exact specifications and taste. Plus, when you grind and mix your own from whole spices, you’ll get a fresher, more vibrant and pungent blend that can wake up any vegetable, poultry, meat or seafood just like that.
Learn how to make flavored salts, robust rubs (like “Jerk Rub,” spice-infused oils (such as “Chipotle-Coriander Oil,” and spice-steeped extracts (homemade “rose water”).
At a time when immigration is a political lightning rod comes a book that reminds us just how much our culinary landscape has been deliciously shaped by the food traditions brought and shared by so many newcomers to this country.
The new book is by Gabrielle Langholtz and Rick Kinsel, respectively the director of culinary projects and the president of the Vilcek Foundation, a New York organization that raises awareness of immigrant contributions to the United States.
Within the pages of this beautifully photographed book, you’ll get to know chefs such as Maneet Chauhan, a native of India who beat out 40 male chefs to become executive chef at Vermillion in New York and Chicago; Diego Galicia, a native of Mexico, who scraped together $15,000 with a business partner to open his Mixtli in an empty train car in San Antonio, TX that led him to being named one of the year’s “Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine magazine; and Mustsuko Soma of Japan, who moved to Seattle to open her lauded Kamonegi, famed for its hand-made soba, after learning that Washington was one of the largest buckwheat producing states in the country.
The stories captivate. And the recipes entice with dishes such as “Sea Urchin Lumpia” from Chef Charles Olalia of Ma’am Sir in Los Angeles; ” “My Mom’s Coffee-Braised Brisket” from Chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philadelphia; “Easy Bibimbap for Home” from Chef Corey Lee of Benu in San Francisco; and “Pancake Stack Cake” from Pastry Chef Miroslav Usukokovic of New York’s Gramercy Tavern.
Whether you’re a Bay Area native or not, this book will have you enthralled with the East Bay, the most populous region in the Bay Area. It spotlights 41 restaurants and bakeries, some brand new, and others that have endured for decades — no easy feat in this challenging and competitive market.