In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the country's most beloved food magazine, the editors at Cooking Light have established the Cooking Light Cookbook Awards. Beginning with the November 2011 issue (on newsstands now), the 100 MOST IMPORTANT COOKBOOKS of the past 25 years were chosen. Each month will unveil the top picks across 15 categories. In the first category, General Cookbooks, only nine selections were made. I am pleased as punch that Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease was one of them. According to Cooking Light's editorial team, more than 50,000 cookbooks will have been published in the U.S. in past quarter-century. Their observation is that, "Cooks love books for their ability to inspire, entertain, excite, soothe, teach -- and for their beauty as physical objects. The best are thrilling, whether they're eye-opening explorations of a single subject, seminal overviews, or beautiful obsessions." Many of the ones chosen are all of the above.
The CL team looked at best-seller and awards lists, and talked to editors, authors, and experts. For consideration, books had to be published in the U.S. since 1987 and be in print or easily available on line. "Winners emerged after passionate debate about voice, originality, beauty, importance, and a clear mission or vision." And yes, they went on to say, "We tested the recipes."
Other choices in the category include: Martha Stewart's Cooking School (Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook); The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser (which is on my shelf next to Craig Claiborne's cherished blue-linen bound edition written in 1961); Real Cooking by Nigel Slater (an original voice if there ever was one); Gourmet Today (edited by Ruth Reichl); Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You A Better Cook, by Jamie Oliver; The New Best Recipe (by the editors of Cook's Illustrated); Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything; and Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller.
In addition to the personal and insightful write-ups of each book, are a few specially selected recipes, which makes this double issue of Cooking Light, especially magical.
Of Radically Simple, here are some highlights: "This is one of those books that make you want to leap up and start cooking." "This book importantly elevates the quick-and-simple concept to a new level, becoming a benchmark."
Next month? Baking.
With heartfelt thanks to Cooking Light and to my readers who dare to be radically simple.