World Chefs: A deep-dive into NY Times recipe archive

Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:59am EST
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By Ros Krasny

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - At 932 pages, "The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century," could logically be subtitled "all the recipes that are fit to print"

Award-winning food writer Amanda Hesser conceived the book as an update to Craig Claiborne's classic "The New York Times Cookbook," which has sold nearly 3 million copies since 1961.

But Hesser, who worked in bakeries in Italy, France and Germany, quickly suspected she might have bitten off more than she could chew in diving into the huge recipe archive.

"At first I was trying to distill the recipes from essentially the 1950s forward. But what I didn't realize was that the New York Times had been writing about food since the 1850s," she said.

After more than five years of cooking, the huge tome -- 4.6 pounds -- has hit bookstores just in time for the holiday season.

"For a cook it was this great playground of recipes where you found all of these old favorites but there are also likely to be new discoveries," Hesser said.

The book includes dishes by cooks ranging from Claiborne and Julia Child to Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver as well as many more obscure offerings as well.

Hesser also put out a call to readers for their favorite recipes from the Times. The clear winner, from thousands of responses, was purple plum torte, first published in 1983.   Continued...

<p>Amanda Hesser is seen in an undated handout photo. REUTERS/Sarah Shatz/Handout</p>