There's a New Test Kitchen in Town

Plus: a spring salad! For spring! It's SPRING

Howdy cookbook fans!

And welcome to your Tuesday issue of Stained Page News. It is just stupid gorgeous here in Austin, and after thunderstorms all night the world has exploded in green. It is wild to think that just a month ago we were coming out of that devastating winter storm. How quickly things change, and how long it will take to forget all that.

To celebrate spring, this week we have a recipe for Spring Pea, Radish, and Bacon Salad from Atlanta chef Deborah VanTrece’s The Twisted Soul Cookbook. If it’s not spring where you are, just use frozen peas and pretend. We’ll get there soon. (Apologies to southern hemisphere friends, who will get there…later.)

If you missed the Friday issue, do check out Lola Milholland’s exploration of Japanese American community cookbooks from the 1960s-1990s. It’s a great read. And now! On to the news.

The most toxic thing about many student cookbooks is their general tone. It smashes through “patronising” and lands somewhere around “grossly belittling”. Imagine someone boiled down a vat of Jamie Oliver’s worst linguistic habits, bottled the concentrate, and drizzled it liberally over a word-salad made up of “slap”, “whack”, “mates”, “proper”, “well tasty” and “banging”. It’s obvious they’re mostly written by middle-aged home economists who went to university 25 years ago and have forgotten what it’s like to do a tequila shot in your eye.

—Fliss Freeborn, student, thinks you can keep your student cookbooks, thanks. [Guardian]

Ottolenghi Launches “Interactive” Test Kitchen Series

London chef Yotam Ottolenghi has written some of the most critically acclaimed, bestselling cookbooks of recent memory. So what’s next? Make it a group project: Clarkson Potter (and Ebury in the UK) will launch a new series in the fall, helmed by Ottolenghi and Ottolenghi Test Kitchen head Noor Murad. The first book in the series, Shelf Love, will be out in October, and the second, Stock it Up, in 2022. Presumably, if they do well, there will be more.

As Murad describes in her post below, the books are inspired by the popular Instagram videos put out during the pandemic by the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen (#OTK). Accordingly, they will have “free-flowing Insta-inspired photography from Elena Heatherwick,” per a press release. The books will be a sort of part-notebook, part-cookbook, with the idea being you’ll take notes and customize recipes to your liking. Examples of these customizable recipes from the press release include “the ultimate guide to creamy dreamy hummus, a one-pan route to confit tandoori chickpeas and a not-your-average tomato salad.”

Check out a quick trailer for the series by clicking through to the Instagram below:

There can never be enough. Marie Dwyer of Cooks of Crocus Hill had gone to Martha Stewart's studio, and she sent me a picture of the prop room. Martha must have 500 cake stands. Not that you don't envy everything that woman has, but my god, that's a life goal. Let's just say I have more than most, but less than Martha, and we'll leave it at that.

—Cookbook author Zoë François talks cake stand goals. [Star-Trib]

Cookbook for COVID-19 Survivors Who Lost Taste/Smell

UK chef Ryan Riley and cookbook author Kimberley Duke have written a free digital cookbook for those who have lost their sense of smell and/or taste due to COVID-19. Riley tells CTV he originally started the project as a book for cancer patients after his mother lost her sense of taste during cancer treatment, but the focus of the book pivoted after this peculiar symptom became widespread with the virus. The digital cookbook is free and available March 29, sign up to be notified when it goes live here. [Taste & Flavour via CTV]

Those yeasted waffles would outlast power breakfasts and the low-fat dictums of 1987—when she passed away in 2012, the recipe was printed in newspapers around the country, like the ringing of church bells.

Mari Uyehara on the legacy of legendary cookbook author Marion Cunningham. [Taste]

Spring Cookbook Previews

Spring Pea, Bacon, and Radish Salad

Excerpted with permission from The Twisted Soul Cookbook by Deborah VanTrece. Rizzoli 2021, all rights reserved.©

This is a pretty spring salad in which you can use either fresh or frozen, thawed peas (canned green peas are better left to distant childhood memories, or at least not salads). Fresh mint brightens all of the flavors with its spicy-sweet fragrance. Watermelon radishes are my radish of choice for this recipe; they are peppery with a hint of sweetness and add great balance.

3 cups fresh or frozen peas (thawed, if frozen), blanched and drained, then chilled

6 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup thinly sliced radishes

½ cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and ground white pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh mint, plus additional leaves for garnish

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss gently. Garnish with whole mint leaves.

That’s all for today. Friday folks can expect a massive book deals post, and I think you’ll be pleased to see a lot of favorites with new books on the horizon. Until then, have a great week.