I’ll never forget getting my first Food & Wine magazine in the mail. I didn’t order it, but it just arrived. I read it and loved it. Then, another one came, and our American Express was automatically charged for a year’s subscription. This was a brilliant, albeit a bit risky, marketing move by American Express. It wasn’t like they sent any notice that this was going to happen, and once that first “free” issue was in our hands, we could just opt out.

I didn’t, because to this day, I love the magazine.

I also love any books they put out about food and wine. They’re a class act, really done well.

I was just asked if I would write a review about their newly released “Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes, from the 25 best cookbooks.” And then the book arrived… I sat with it for all of 15 minutes and realized that I had one of the best (if not the best) cookbooks for 2011 in my hands.

“How could that happen?” you might imagine. Well, it’s simple… It’s the highest quality possible, with recipes included from a star-studded list of critically acclaimed characters. And, to make life simple, each chef has his or her own section in the book. We’ve all come to know these chefs through cooking shows, and now they’re being delivered in small bites… This is the quintessential tapas of cookbooks for 2011.

Thumbing through it, I’ve decided to use it from now through the end of the year, to not only celebrate those special moments, but to also turn mundane moments in something very special.

Incidentally, from pages 264-269 you’ll find their WINE GLOSSARY with many wine varieties explained, while recipes suggest the best choice of wine to go with that recipe. It’s a mini shopping list for what would work with the recipes, if you need any help. This part of the book was written by Ray Isle, FOOD & WINE’S executive wine editor.

The foodie players:

  1. Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless
  2. Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood
  3. Bruce Bromberg, Eric Bromberg, & Melissa Clark
  4. Katie Caldesi
  5. Joann Chang with Christie Matheson
  6. Giada De Laurentiis
  7. Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo & Peter Meehan
  8. Mindy Fox
  9. Dorie Greenspan
  10. Diana Henry
  11. Amanda Hesser
  12. Emeril Lagasse
  13. Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
  14. Alice Medrich
  15. Michael Nischan with Mary Goodbody
  16. Jamie Oliver
  17. James Peterson
  18. Eric Ripert with Angie Mosier & Soa Davies
  19. Ethan Stowell & Leslie Miller
  20. Sur La Table with Janet Fletcher
  21. David Tanis
  22. Ming Tsai & Arthure Boehm
  23. Bart van Olphen & Tom Kime
  24. Alice Waters
  25. Grace Young

I’ll be reporting back on these recipes, telling you:

  • how the food tasted
  • what wine was chosen to go with the dish
  • how the food and wine combination made it


From spicy lemony clams tossed with pasta to sticky pecan bites, FOOD & WINE compiles more than 110 spectacular recipes from the top 25 cookbooks published this year in FOOD & WINE best of the best cookbook recipes Vol 14. The collection includes never-before-published recipes from top chefs and authors, dozens of wine pairings from FOOD & WINE experts, and stunning color photographs. The collectible book costs $32.95 and [went] on sale at Barnes and Noble and other retailers nationwide October 4. For more details, visit www.foodandwine.com/books.

I love cooking, and this book has truly inspired me… I’m off and running to Big John’s in Healdsburg, a family grocery store where paying a bit more is worth the positive vibes and great produce and cuts of meat… A butcher prepares everything daily, the quality cannot be underscored… We are what we eat, n’est ce pas?


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