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Bad AI Recipes, WCK Cookbook Cover Reveal
And a letter from MFK Fisher to James Beard!
Howdy cookbook fans!
And hello from rainy Austin, which has finally cleared out after the SXSW nonsense. (I mean, it’s fine, it’s just not my thing.) I have been plugging away at work ahead of a trip to Europe in a few weeks (if anyone has Rotterdam or Barcelona recs, to the comments!) and so don’t have much fun to report. I’m not even gardening this spring! Bananas. (Mrmrm I might put some collard and okra seeds in but. No tomatoes or anything fussy.)
So I guess we better get to the cookbook news then! On to it.
You. You make it different. It isn’t the recipe; it’s what you think about it. Why should this frittata be special? Because you decided it’s special—you decided to give it meaning. Everything in our lives is based on individual meaning and priority, and so when we decide for ourselves that something should have meaning, then it does.
—Jocelyn Delk Adams talks to TASTE about what makes for a celebratory recipe. Her new book Everyday Grand is out now. [TASTE]
AT AUCTION 200 French cookbooks from five different centuries will be auctioned by Christie’s on March 23. The books come from the private collection of Pierre de Crombrugghe, with many titles expected to garner several thousand dollars. You can scope out the catalog here, and read some highlights from Christie’s here. It is believed to be “one of the finest collections of French culinary books in private hands.” [Christie’s]
Coming Attractions: World Central Kitchen, Bao, Tacos, More!
I first mentioned this book in SPN on February 22 of last year, but José Andrés officially…launched? The World Central Kitchen Cookbook here in Austin at SXSW last week, including the cover reveal. Written with Sam Chapple-Sokol, the book has a foreword by Stephen Colbert (who little birds tell me is working on a cookbook of his own) and (my Google news alerts tell me) a lemon olive oil cake recipe from one Meghan Markle. September 12, Clarkson Potter.
From Brooklyn chef Woldy Reyes comes In the Kusina, with “fresh, seasonal, and vegetable-forward” versions of Filipino classics. Reyes writes on Instagram the book will be “told through the lens of my identity as a queer, deaf, child of Filipino immigrants.” Chronicle, pub date TBA.
New York pastry chef Clarice Lam to write Breaking Bao, a “technique-forward love letter” to Asian-American snacks and baking. “This book will be for passionate home bakers and cooks, and chefs alike,” she writes on Instagram. Chronicle, pub date TBA.
And last but not least, San Diego chef and MasterChef winner Claudia Sandoval to write Taco Nation, which will follow her on a taco-happy road trip across the US, looking at regional taco styles. Workman, pub date TBA.
AI Is Not Quite There Yet With Recipe Development
Just a tweet that crossed my path in which someone tried to get GPT-4 to come up with a bunch of recipes based on a photo of their refrigerator (below) and all the things it got wrong (above). I could see this potentially being more useful if, say, you connected it to a database of recipes. Or something like Eat Your Books. But it doesn’t consider pantry items? Mrmrmrmrm. Bad system IMO. Recipe developers, your jobs are safe…for now.
AITA? Finally, fye-nuh-lee, there is an AITA that is about cookbooks: you can click through to the whole thing, but it hinges on a recipe book that has been passed down for generations, and a half-sibling who is not related to that side of the family wanting access to it. Go, read, come back, discuss. (If you are unfamiliar with AITA, or “Am I the Asshole,” it’s a Reddit forum where people submit situations for the internet to judge whether YTA (you’re the asshole) or NTA (not the asshole).) [Reddit]
Above: I totally forgot to link to this when Celia Sacks, owner of San Francisco’s Omnivore Books, tweeted it, but as this letter from MFK Fisher to James Beard is from 1972, I suppose it is still timely. [Twitter]
“The best cookbooks aren’t necessarily the ones I use in the kitchen.” [The Scotsman]
A look at cookbooks written by women for the young brides of the Indian diaspora between the 1940s and 1990s. [Mint Loung]
Publishers Weekly did a whole cookbooks package, but the only thing not behind a paywall is this piece on single subject cookbooks. [PW]
The culinary comics of Asia. [Gastro Obscura]
Why googling recipes will never beat a good cookbook. [The Times]
Cookbooks are timeless treasures in the digital age. [Bucks County Herald]
The Harvard Crimson profiled two women who self-published a cookbook when they were in college in the early aughts. [Harvard Crimson]
Cookbook review: The Ramadan Cookbook by Anisa Karolia. [The Caterer]
Eater’s spring cookbook round-up. [Eater]
The best gluten-free cookbooks, according to Bon Appetit. [BA]
And finally, an interview with cookbook author Patricia Wells fromfrom 2012. [Destination Food]
Okay that’s all for today! Have a good week, catch you later.