Monday, December 07, 2009

Gourmet Today: earnest summation

If you have it, keep it. If you don't, it's nothing you can't live without. That's my assessment of the fat and shiny new book from the producers of the late magazine. I wish I loved this book, but unlike the mighty 2004 Gourmet cookbook, it felt like brand extension. I heard Ruth Reichl on Forum a while back trying to explain -- and she is very persuasive -- that the book embraces all the nifty new ingredients available in our supermarkets, things like pomegranate molasses and smoked paprika and while that sounded terrific, as an organizing principle, it simply doesn't work. Or she and her crew don't make it work. This isn't an everyday cookbook like Joy, because it won't tell you how to make chocolate chip cookies, but then it includes basic, soporific recipes for pancake and custard, which struck me as lazy filler. And a lot of the supposedly kicky new dishes aren't all that kicky, they just require a bottle of spendy pomegranate liqueur, or that you send away for a sack of Canadian maple sugar. Most of the recipes were solid, few inspired.

I made 46 recipes from Gourmet Today.

Worth the Price of the book -- 0
Great: 9
Good: 23
So-so: 11
Flat-out bad: 3

What did we love? We loved the mussels ravigote and the sun-dried tomato dip and the pot roast and I'd make all of them again, but they're not worth the price of the book. There's probably a recipe that is -- I never made the pork belly buns and just typing those succulent words makes my mouth water -- but time to move on to Moro

Shelf essential: no.