Saveur's Newest Cookbook: Worldwide Recipe Espionage

James Beard award-winning magazine, 'Saveur', has released a cookbook that does more than simply regurgitate a back-log of published recipes. For The New Comfort Food, editor-in-chief and Top Chef judge, James Oseland, sought secrets from chefs around the world at infamous restaurants known for doing something right. Sort of a recipe espionage, these offer a glimpse of what happens in the kitchen at restaurants that know the transform the good, to great.

The subject of comfort food has certainly been done before, yet our appetite for dishes that satisfy and remind us of home, seems to have limitless appeal. While this book focuses on Americana, it uses s a global definition of comfort food. From our version of mac-and-cheese to the Italian's alfredo (they even tracked down the original Alfredo, p. 76); chiles rellenos to tom yum goong - there are 100 recipes reminiscent of what mama makes.

Paris brasserie Au Pied de Cochon shares the secret to its heralded "French Onion Soup". The onions are slowly braised in butter and sherry until they are as flavorful as the broth itself (p.48). New York City-based (and longtime personal favorite of this writer) Blue Ribbon, divulges what exactly makes their "Northern Fried Chicken"  juicy and crispy at the same time (p.132). Another NYC chef, Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune, gives away her famous fennel recipe, which she bakes in cream in the traditional Italian method (p.192).

Sidebars offer helpful tips, like for a "Creamy Corn Chowder" from Nova Scotia, which offers two "foolproof methods" for removing kernels from the cob (although we always thought a big ole' knife worked just fine). A few drink recipes are included, borrowed from greats like the King Cole Bar at New York's St. Regis Hotel. In 1934, folks there invented the modern-day Bloody Mary. Look for the recipe (p. 248) as well as several other variations representing regional modifications.

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