The Future of Cookbooks

I'm off and running this morning to an early presentation on the future of cookbook publishing.  Oy! According to Publishers Weekly, millions of home cooks to go, and every day to access free recipes from a variety of credible (and not so credible) sources.  Where does that leave cookbook publishers, many of whom are sitting on vast troves of recipes that have never been published online?  This morning, a panel of experts will illuminate the various ways publishers will begin to use the Web and apps to monetize their cookbook content. As someone who has created thousands of recipes over the years -- for magazines, newspapers, 12 cookbooks, as well as multi-starred restaurants, it will be fascinating to learn their fate...not to mention mine! But cookbooks, or at least some of them, contain far more than recipes.  Great cookbooks are much more than the sum of their parts.  Too often they are merely judged on a single recipe's outcome rather than the philosophy behind the approach or the connective tissue that makes a book whole -- and not just a collection.  You may even be surprised to know that many of my cookbooks contain touch points of real literature -- poetry,memoir, fictional essays, historical non-fiction, and theory.

So here's a poem from Desserts 1-2-3. Desserts 1-2-3 Pablo Neruda wrote odes to life; To nature, to love, to the sun,

I prefer writing odes to sweets, and worship them one by one.

Crème brûlée takes your breath away when it shatters the quiet below,

And chocolate soufflé topped with chocolate sorbet can sweeten most any woe.

In happier days, à la mode was the vogue and crowned many an apple pie.

But today it is sleek, and undoubtedly chic, to find them side by side.

For some of you chocolate gives meaning to life, for others it merely suffices.

Whether a pro or a rookie, in a truffle or cookie, chocolate is great in a crisis.

"Simple pleasures are life's greatest treasures," Neruda once whispered to me.

He then kissed my hand and gave me a pan, and slowly counted to three. by Rozanne Gold

And here's a recipe to celebrate the day. All-Chocolate Velvet Tart (from Radically Simple) This extremely elegant dessert can be assembled in less than 20 minutes.  Let it sit in the fridge until just firm, and serve with crème fraiche.

5 ounces chocolate graham crackers 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup heavy cream 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tablespoon crème de cassis or 1 teaspoon grated orange zest 1 cup crème fraiche

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter a 9-inch fluted removable-bottom tart pan.  Combine the graham crackers and 4 tablespoons butter in a food processor.  Pulverize until finely ground.  Pack the crumbs into the pan to form an even bottom crust.  Bake 10 minutes.  Bring the cream just to a boil in a large saucepan.  Reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Add the chocolate and stir constantly over low heat until melted.  Stir in the cocoa, cassis, and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.  Pour into the crumb crust; refrigerate 45 minutes or until just firm.   Serve with crème fraiche.  Serves 10 or more.

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