Gift a Good (Cook) Book
Because ’tis the season for reading and feasting.
Beekman 1802: A Seat at the Table: Recipes to Nourish Your Family, Friends, and Community
Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, with Rose Marie Trapani
In 2007, Josh Kilmer-Purcell (a New York Times bestselling author and a then-advertising executive) and his partner Brent Ridge (former Vice President of Healthy Living for Martha Stewart Omnimedia) decided to venture north of their NYC abode in search of a weekend getaway and greener pastures. They settled for literal pastures, purchasing the historic Beekman 1802 farm in Sharon Springs. It’s become a lifestyle empire, with a reality TV show, memoir, mercantile shop, website, and a series of cookbooks — to which they added one more this autumn.
Here are the meals that made them feel at home during their transition from cityscape to rural estate. It focuses on food as the center of community, with special attention given to seasonality, and features bios of the individuals the two now consider neighbors. Whether you make their Chicken Apricot Pot Pie for your upcoming fling or the Asparagus Crostata for your next potluck, you’re sure to craft something your friends and family will consider nourishing. 256 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (hrd)
The Fearless Baker: Simple Secrets for Baking Like a Pro
Erin Jeanne McDowel
A CIA graduate and former Hudson Valley resident, Erin McDowell has styled, edited, or otherwise worked on more than 60 cookbooks and endless articles and advertisements, written countless recipes in her own right, and created some life-changing sweets along the way. Her not-so-secret secret? To understand the reasons why a recipe works in the first place. Now, she lets you in on it, sharing not only her stockpile of exemplary recipes, but explaining the science behind them, offering professional culinary tips, and boosting your confidence until you become, well, fearless.
In her first cookbook, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for everything from basic-level, above-average baked goods (like banana cake with cocoa nibs and Nutella swirl) to expert, practice-makes-perfect pastries (like canelés), alongside incredible photos taken by local photographer and Hudson Valley contributor, Jennifer May. The results are — much like the desserts you’ll soon be making — stunning. 384 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (hrd)