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Featured in the new The Essential New York Times Cookbook

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Stovetop Readings Montes HamFrom November 29 2010

Here, from Gregory Mowery's blog "Stovetop Readings", is his take on this brilliant new cookbook. The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser (Norton) In a year of big, ungainly cookbooks, this might have ended up as just another massive doorstop corporate cookbook. The great recipes she has culled from the Times’ archives over the past 150 years instead, are framed by Hesser’s witty, engaging (and sometimes bracingly peckish) headnotes. Hesser is full of good advice and history in this big survey. She has tested every one of the more than 1,000 recipes often providing tips and ideas that improve on the originals. While respectful of the great food icons, she doesn’t stick them on a pedestal. Intriguingly Hesser selects a recipe for Maida Heatter’s Cuban Black Beans and Rice while passing over her famous East 62nd Street Lemon Cake (opting for another cake she thinks is even more lemony and moist). As someone who religiously cooked from the NYTimes food pages for nearly four decades, I can assure you that all the famous recipes are here from Le Cirque’s iconic Spaghetti Primavera and James Beard’s Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, to Monte’s Ham and the wildly absurd Bacon Explosion (a frat-house inspired recipe of sausage stuffed in a bacon lattice wrap and basted in barbecue sauce) and No-Knead Bread (“easily the most famous recipe ever to run in the Times.”).