Monthly Archives: March 2013

America’s Favorite Food |

Can new tech play nice with comfort food cooking?

BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazines

TITLE: America’s Favorite Food
AUTHOR: Many. Edited by, Nichole Aksamit
PUBLISHER: Oxmoor  House
CUISINE: American/Comfort/Magazine

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America's Favorite Food | Digimark AppFEATURED INGREDIENT: IPHONE
Our “Featured Ingredient” for this cookbook isn’t really an ingredient at all. But, it is one of the most important components of this particular cookbook. The Smartphone. Without this “ingredient” you take away some of what makes this cookbook unique among it’s peers.


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At first blush this is all a little hard to take in. I consider myself a “tech” person too. I get the concept. But, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. To be sure, this is a great collection of some delicious magazine reprint recipes. If you haven’t taken the time to subscribe to each, then this is really a treasure trove. You know the names, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Real Simple, Coastal Living, Health and more. It contains lots of easy to prepare dishes for everyone in your family. There are beautiful food images throughout. All in all, an eye pleasing, easy to flip through book.

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WHAT YOU’LL FIND INSIDE (aka Table of Contents)
Soups & Sandwiches
Meatless Mains
Pasta & Pizza
Sides & Salads
Breakfast & Brunch

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How about a small taste of what some of the video extras look and feel like. Hey, everyone needs to know how to cut up a whole chicken.

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THE BEST OF THE BOOK (Our Favorite Recipes)

Spicy Black Bean Hummus Watermelon Margaritas
Hearty Potato Soup Turkey Reuben Sandwiches
Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken Buttermilk Chicken Tenders
King Ranch Chicken Casserole Dry-Cured Rosemary Turkey
Cheddar Burgers w/Red Onion Jam Classic Beef Stew
Brandied Cranberry Short Rib Stew Salsa Verde Braised Pork
Halibut w/Coconut-Red Curry Sauce Fresh Salmon-Cilantro Burgers
Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto Ultimate Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Broccoli Beef Lo Mein Shrimp Pad Thai
Peach & Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza Broccoli Casserole
Italian Chard Dressing Grilled Potato Salad
Oatmeal Cream Pies Salted Carmel Brownies


It’s obvious from the list above that just about anyone you would care to feed could be satisfied. There are lots of very traditional dishes. Some with a new, more modern twist. Some have been left to their roots. That’s a good combination. There is no shortage of recipes from any of the individual chapters. Every major food group is well represented.

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BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazinesSPECIAL FEATURES
This book is actually one giant special feature. Special tips and hints are available for a large percentage of the recipes via the smartphone app. And, as a bonus, the app works well. No hang ups. That means even the least tech savvy cook in your household will be able to take advantage of all that this cookbook has to offer. Each recipe is coded with special icons that represent the dish. There are metric equivalents and nutritional information stashed in the back for reference use.

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OK, there are a couple of things at play here. First, we should call this cookbook what it really is. It’s compilation of magazine recipes. And, a lot of them are great tried and true dishes. You’re going to find no nasty surprises once you start cooking. They have all been thoroughly tested and they work. A HUGE bonus. Second, This book is not a cooking tech breakthrough of any kind. I do love the use of the current technology. And, I appreciate the fact that smartphones and tablets have found their way into the kitchen. I use mine there. It’s just that it might be too loaded with extra off site “stuff”. I’m just left wondering how often those badges get scanned and used. You also end up with a little tech overload. So, here is the bottom line. Buy it if you are looking for an easy to use, comfort food cookbook for your whole family. And, you may just have a little unexpected fun in the kitchen whipping up your dinner of choice. That too is a nice bonus.

Culinary Expertise 4.0
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

My Recipes Website
America’s Favorite Food | Digimark Website
Oxmoor House Press Page

BUY IT! | America's Favorite Food: 200 top-rated recipes from the country's best magazines

The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia

When they say “only time will tell”, this is what they meant.


To say that the Larousse Gastronomique is a work of art would at first seem like a pretty grandiose statement. Add to it the tagline, “World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia” and the bar just gets re-set at a much higher level.

Pick up the book. I mean physically pick it up. It’s massive. The latest edition (2009) weighs in at an immodest seven pounds! That’s 1216 pages of recipes, information and culinary reference material. That is impressive and more than a little intimidating.

Sure, there are other BIG volumes of food technique and information out there. The Modernist Cuisine comes quickly to mind. But, these are two entirely different animals. Yes, the six volume 2,400+ page set delves unimaginably deep into some pretty obscure cooking topics. But, pound for pound Larousse is the standard bearer.

If you want 200 pages on cooking tools that you may never have access to. Or, recipes that include ingredients so obscure they may be next to impossible to locate, then Modernist is your baby. If you are more in the mood to examine the building blocks of classic techniques married with flavors that have stood the test of time, then Larousse is your archive of choice.

That does not mean that the most recent incarnation of LG doesn’t touch on some of the newer cooking methods and contain some pretty exotic ingredients. It certainly does. But, it tends to be more of a cooking class and less of a science lab.

Since I first laid eyes (and hands) on the book I’ve wanted to write about it. But, what? Where to start? I thought a series right here on might be appropriate. The goal will be to explore the Larousse Gastronomique in all of it’s delicious, mouthwatering glory. Maybe to learn how it’s lessons have impacted what we are currently seeing chefs around the world put on their plates. And, possibly gain a little insight into classic culinary thought.

This is the book that many of today’s biggest and most successful chefs cite as their cornerstone. It’s turning 75 years old this year. That’s a milestone that deserves to be celebrated and toasted!

- LH