Category Archives: Cookbook

Pink Velvet Cake


I finally got around to making a cake from Southern Living Cakes cookbook.  (Well, I already made one–a peanut butter cola cake, but I didn’t like it.


It called for using coca cola, and I don’t think I like that flavor in cake.)  I knew I would get around to making the red velvet cake recipe because I love red velvet cake.  Only, I used only one bottle of red food coloring, so I have a pink velvet cake.  This recipe makes a lovely cake, and there is plenty of frosting.




Two for Tuesday: Halloween Foodie Items

Halloween is not a gift-giving holiday, but it can be if you want to give a gift to someone special or to yourself!  I found some cool Halloween- and fall-related gift items.

The first is this adorable pumpkin-shaped cookbook of pumpkin recipes I saw at Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore in Manhattan.  (They even have ones on potatoes, eggs and pasta too.)

pumpkin book

If you want something a little more eerie, opt for the chocolate skull at Fika, a Scandinavian coffee shop in Manhattan.

chocolate skull

Eater’s Fall 2013 Cookbook Preview

Today is Eater’s Fall 2013 Cookbook Preview, a list of the cookbooks for Fall 2013, both domestic and international.  Some of interest to me include favorite topics of mine like classic New York restaurants/food and food Americana.  I also like Balaboosta, Robicelli’s, and I’ve been seeing a lot of John Besh on TV and liking his cooking and thought the combination of Southern and Italian cuisine was an interesting idea.


By Einat Admony

Katz’s: Autobiography of a Delicatessen

By Jake Dell

The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant Cookbook

By Sandy Ingber and Roy Finamore

Robicelli’s: A Love Story, with Cupcakes: With 50 Decidedly Grown-Up Recipes

By Allison Robicelli and Matt Robicelli

Collards & Carbonara: Southern Cooking, Italian Roots

By Michael Hudman and Andy Ticer

Cooking from the Heart: My Favorite Lessons Learned Along the Way

By John Besh

The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

By Nick Zukin and Michael Zusman

The Taste of America

By Colman Andrews

A Century of Restaurants: Stories and Recipes from 100 of America’s Most Historic and Successful Restaurants

By Rick Browne

Review & Giveaway of New York Sweets: A Sugarhound’s Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights


New York Sweets: A Sugarhound’s Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights by Susan Meisel, published by Rizzoli on April 2, 2013, is a comprehensive listing of all the places to get your sugar fix in NYC.  Whether you are an ice cream person, a bakery person or a candy person, there is something in this book for you.  Personally, I tend to lean toward ice cream and bakeries.  The book includes some of my faves:  Doughnut Plant, Jacques Torres, Payard, Villabate, L’arte Del Gelato, Sockerbit, Tea & Sympathy, Vosges, Ferrara and Van Leeuwen. This is one of those books I wish I had written!  The book is divided into neighborhoods, so you can do a sweets tour in each NYC ‘hood!  I want to try Puddin’ on St. Mark’s Place–a shop with puddings and toppings.  There’s plenty of eye candy in the hardcover book with color photos of goodies from all the shops listed and recipes for you to try at home.

If you are in New York and have never been, the Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street is worth a trip.  I love this store.  Rizzoli has wonderful art and photography books and a great international magazine section.

You can win a copy of this fun book by entering the giveaway.  If you win, Rizzoli will ship you a free copy of New York Sweets: A Sugarhound’s Guide to the Best Bakeries, Ice Cream Parlors, Candy Shops, and Other Emporia of Delicious Delights by Susan Meisel.

To enter the giveaway:

Leave a comment below, answering this question:

What is your favorite sweet shop or bakery?  (It doesn’t have to be in New York).

For additional entries, become a fan on Facebook or sign up for my Tweets on Twitter and let me know you signed up in a separate comment.  One winner will be chosen at random and announced on Friday, April 12.  Contest closes on Thursday, April 11 at 12 PM EST.  (Rizzoli will ship the book to the winner.  U.S. residents only.)  Winner will be contacted via email, so please be sure to include your email address in the field when you leave your comment (it will not be visible to the public).  Good luck!

Contest is closed.

Kids’ State Dinner at the White House

First lady Michelle Obama is hosting the first kids’ state dinner at the White House today.  Out of 1,200 entries to the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, there were 54 winners (aged 8-12).  Judges included White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass, Chef Jose Andres, Authors Marshall and Alex Reid, and Epicurious Editor-in-Chief Tanya Steel along with USDA and Dept. of Education representatives.

Along with their parents, the winning kids were invited to the White House to try the winning dishes.  New York’s winner was Samuel Wohabe, age 9, with Fish Fueled Pepper Rocket with Kale Chips and Quinoa.  North Carolina’s winner was Sydney Brown, age 11, with Sydney’s Homerun Meatloaf Burger.  Some of these recipes sound like they would be good for adults too.  Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes sound good, and I have some cabbage at home.  You can even download the Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Cookbook free.

“The Cookbook Family Tree: A History of Early Cookbooks” with Anne Willan

The Astor Center in NYC is hosting “The Cookbook Family Tree:  A History of Early Cookbooks” with Anne Willan next Wednesday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m.  Willan, a cookbook and food writer, is a past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and former editor at Gourmet.  The talk will explore how the earliest cookbooks evolved into modern food writing.  For more information and tickets, go here.

Cookbook Ghostwriters

The New York Times’ Diner’s Journal article, “I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter,” written by Julia Moskin, has created controversy, as it claims that some chefs were not solo authors of their cookbooks.  Rachael Ray and Gwyneth Paltrow are on the defensive.

First, do I believe that many chefs have ghostwriters?  Yes, I do.  They are chefs, not writers.  Writing is a skill just as much as cooking is.  In today’s world, people do not want to acknowledge nor pay writers for the work they do.  And writing is work.

After I read the article, I had respect for Bobby Flay for admitting he used a collaborator and for respecting writers as having a craft, or skill, that he doesn’t have.  I also think many chefs do not have time to write their own book.  I don’t see anything wrong with admitting, like Flay, that you hired a professional writer to do the writing.  How is that different from hiring a professional food stylist to style the food, or professional editor to edit the book, or professional photographer to photograph the pictures in the book?  I fail to see the difference.  I, for one, would respect a chef more for collaborating with and giving writing credit to an author who helps him write his book.  A ghostwriter, however, is different from a collaborator.  A collaborator implies acknowledgement.  The very name “ghostwriter” means that the writer is a “ghost” or unseen.

Now, it’s one thing to hire a writer to write your book, and another thing altogether to hire one to create your recipes.  A chef shouldn’t need someone to do that.  I can see someone in Rachael Ray’s or Martha Stewart’s position having staff who create recipes in her style.  They have TV shows, magazines and books, and there is no way they can do all that work alone.  In my opinion, it doesn’t detract from their credibility nor my interest in them.  Now, I would be disappointed to find out that a chef with his own restaurants would have a book with recipes created by someone else.  A chef is someone who perfects his craft, much like a professional writer does, and his craft is creating in the kitchen.  I want his authenticity. 

I’m not sure how Gwyneth Paltrow gets into the conversation.  She’s neither a professional writer nor chef.  Do I believe Gwyneth Paltrow wrote her own book, My Father’s Daughter?  I believe she thinks she is a professional writer and chef.  Therefore, I believe she wrote her book, or at the very least, the title, because she is her father’s daughter.