Rachael Ray's Pandemic Cookbook; DC's New Cookbook Shop

Plus: Kathleen Flinn's Coq au Vin


Howdy cookbook fans!

I hope you are having a pleasant Tuesday. Here in Austin, it’s a crisp clear blue sky kind of day, and it’s finally, finally getting a little chillier. Brag: Over the weekend I made a sort of bolognese with leftover Franklin Barbecue brisket. I highly recommend using leftover barbecue in a tomato pasta sauce; I used to think it would just taste like chili you forgot to put chili in, but it somehow just tastes like super amazing pasta sauce. An extra splash or two of wine helps. (Apologies to both Italians and Aaron Franklin.)

In today’s issue! Rachael Ray’s pandemic cookbook, a new cookbook shop for folks in DC, and a recipe for Coq au Vin from Kathleen Finn’s The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. I am not quite on team Toss Thanksgiving Out the Window 2020 that some folks seem to be, but a nice classic Coq au Vin seems like the right amount to veer off the traditional script. I won’t tell if you make it with turkey legs. (Apologies to the French.)

Okay! On with the show.


I was a great admirer, but a bit scared of her. I wouldn’t say she was warm. She was quite funny and wry. One of the reasons she was good company is she would bitch about everybody else. And perhaps when you weren’t into the room, she was bitching about you?…She was always a little aloof. But I always felt she was a proper writer. She was happiest by herself with a typewriter. She’d spend the whole page telling you how to bottle red peppers or something. She always had a story to go with it, because she was such a writer. She was great.

GBBO’s Prue Leith on legendary British cookbook author Elizabeth David. [ckbk]


Rachael Ray to Write Pandemic Cookbook

A post shared by Rachael Ray (@rachaelray)

Here come the pandemic cookbooks: Rachael Ray has been famously producing her TV show from home with her husband John Cusimano. And now Ray will write a cookbook about the experience. This Must Be the Place: Dispatches and Food From the Homefront will be a “cookbook featuring more than a dozen personal essays and 125 recipes conceptualized and written during the pandemic from the author's house in upstate New York” during stay-at-home orders.

I’m not surprised to see people create cookbooks about their time during the pandemic, and Ray’s book surely won’t be the only one on this subject. But I do kind of wonder how soon after the pandemic people will want to read about it again? Assuming this comes out “after” the pandemic, whatever that means, I guess. We shall see! Also, any excuse for a Talking Heads video embed, below. Ballantine, pub date TBD. [PM]


One recipe is in the early stages, on which she is sharpening the flavors and coaxing the textures until they fit the ideal in her head…Another is in early testing, where she hands her version to an assistant with home-cooking skills, watches closely to see what mistakes are made and rewrites accordingly. A third is in the last stage, being tested by a professional and styled for photography. Overall, several people who have worked with her said, each recipe is tested 10 to 12 times before publication.

Ina Garten takes recipes three at a time. [NYT]


Bold Fork Books Opens in Washington, DC

A post shared by Bold Fork Books (@boldforkbooks)

I am late to this! But: Bold Fork Books, a new cookbook shop, has opened in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in Washington, DC. Owner Clementine Thomas named the shop after MFK Fisher’s With Bold Knife and Fork, she tells DCist, and plans on collaborations with local restaurants and, eventually, classes. Support indie bookshops! (Fun fact: this newsletter gets its name from an idea I originally had for the fantasy cookbook shop I own in my head, Stained Page Books.)



Coq au Vin

Serves 6

For the braise:

5 pounds chicken, preferably thighs, legs or quarter pieces

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 ounces (250g) pancetta or bacon, diced

2 medium yellow onions chopped (about 2 ½ cups)

4 ribs celery chopped (about 1 ½ cups)

2 medium carrots about 1 ½ cups

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons brandy or Cognac

3 cups (700 ml) chicken stock

1 bottle dry red wine (about 2 cups)

4 cloves garlic chopped

10 sprigs thyme tied together or 1 tablespoon of dried thyme

2 bay leaves

Cooked separately from the braise:

½ sweet onion sliced

8 ounces (250g) brown mushrooms sliced

3 tablespoons parsley chopped

Note: Serve with mashed potatoes or wide noodles

  1. Heat oven to 350°F /180°C. Pat dry wtih paper towels. Cut off extra fat and excess skin. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a heavy Dutch oven, brown in batches in hot oil over high heat, set aside. It’s important to get the chicken nice and browned. Don’t rush this step; properly browned chicken is a key to the final outcome.

  2. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the pancetta or bacon and cook slowly until slightly browned. Add the onions, celery and carrot and stir until tender. Add the brandy, reduce slightly. Sprinkle with flour and stir until coated.

  3. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the chicken stock, garlic and herbs. Then, add enough wine so the liquid just covers chicken pieces; this could be two cups or four. Bring the liquid to a boil, skimming off any foam or fat. Cover tightly and place in oven for about two hours or until meat is very tender.

  4. Meanwhile, cook the sweet onions and mushrooms in a medium skillet in 2 tablespoons of butter. Before serving, add the mushrooms, onions and chopped parsley. Check seasonings, adding salt and pepper until it taste right to you.


That’s it for today! FRIDAY: paid subscribers will be treated to an exploration of the kind of celebrity chef cookbook covers from the mid-late 20th century that Matty Matheson is riffing on in the cover of his new cookbook, Home Style Cookery. Join their ranks (paid subscribers, not celebrity chefs of the 20th century) by clickity clicking the big red button below:

And next week there will be no newsletter because I am taking the week off for US Thanksgiving. Lots of fun stuff coming in December, though, including THE STAINED PAGE NEWS CULT COOKBOOKS CLUB. Stay. Tuned.