Yummer Reading

Yummer Reading

Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2005: An Entire Year of Recipes

edited by Kate Heddings

Food & Wine Books, 410 pp., $29.95

Food & Wine Cocktails 2005

edited by Kate Krader

Food & Wine Books, 232 pp., $14.95 (paper)

Foodies love Food & Wine for its multifaceted coverage of recipes, restaurants, and drinks. We especially love the recipes from famous chefs like Mario Batali, Jacques Pépin, and Mark Bittman. But folks who follow recipes down to the last one-eighth of an ounce know that Food & Wine never disappoints in one very important area: Their recipes work. That's because they have a whole staff of kitchen workers who use the test kitchen to make sure that they run into any snafus with a recipe long before the problems ever find their way to print.

The new book has more than 650 recipes covering every imaginable style and level of difficulty. There are 100 recipes for fast weeknight meals and just as many for you to exercise your inner Julia Child. All of the recipes are conveniently marked with a colored dot to make browsing quick and easy. Blue means it's a quick recipe, green is healthy, red you can make ahead, and an orange dot means it was a particular staff favorite. It's filled with helpful pictures to give you an idea what the dish should look like when you finish, and hidden throughout the book are little Easter eggs of helpful hints, like how to keep your turkey leftovers healthy or how to make Moroccan preserved lemons or where to get the best mail-order pork. Every recipe comes with a wine recommendation, and most are spot-on.

Meanwhile, each year the magazine sends its intrepid band of food and drink writers scouring the U.S. for the best adult libations they can lock their lips around. For 2005, they've come back with more than 200 drinks for nearly every possible taste, all sourced from some of the hottest bartenders around. While the book does an admirable job covering the basic drinks like muddles, sours, and martinis, its real reason for being is to showcase the fashionable new drinks that have made a hit regionally but have not yet hit the national scene. Fairly evenly divided between easy-to-make concoctions – like the cucumber, sake, and simple-syrup Green My Eyes – to the fairly Baroque – like the 10-ingredient Grappatini – everything here is easy to find, categorized by the major liquor ingredient, then followed by several recipes, with full credit given to each bar where the drink was created. As you might guess, New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas get the lion's share of the entries, but Austin is there also. 219 West's Longhorn Iced Tea, Saba Blue's Lemongrass Margarita, and El Chile Cafe's Chilango all make the grade.

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