By Amanda Hesser, Merrill Stubbs
William Morrow, $35.00, 440 pages
Here is a most unusual, even unique, cookbook. Food52 Cookbook recipes are the result of the cooking community’s best of the best. The authors have undertaken an interesting experiment through their blog: a weekly recipe contest for a year, testing many of the more promising ones, and choosing the best as the winner of the week’s contest. They chose two or three top ones for their cookbook. In addition, for an unusually good recipe they added a trophy winner called the Wildcard Winner.
“We hope you’ll get in the kitchen and have as much fun as we did making all of these terrific recipes and learning from talented home cooks from all over.”
For each recipe the head notes give a little bit of the recipe and in some cases a quote from the cook. Below the recipe there is a brief Tips and Techniques and another short blurb about the cook submitting the recipe. These are good recipes and listed in order of the week of the contest; thus the recipes are random. They range from very simple (Salted Almonds) to time consuming (Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives), but are mostly within reach of the least ambitious cook. The recipes are well-written, easy to follow and rarely require you to search for special ingredients. The excellent, extensive index helps you find anything quickly.
Reviewed by George Erdosh