The cookbook awards bestowed by the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the James Beard Foundation won't be announced until spring 2004, but the food media has been publishing its own lists of the best cookbooks of 2003 at a breakneck pace over the past few weeks. In an unscientific survey of the eight lists collected below, Paula Wolfert's The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook and Marcus Samuelsson's Aquavit: And the New Scandinavian Cuisine share the title for most frequently mentioned book on a "Best of 2003" cookbook list. Both books appeared on seven out of the eight lists.
» "Cooks' Gifts, With Shelf Life" [New York Times]
» "Cooking" [New York Times Book Review]
» "Wrap Up a Few of Our Favorites" [Washington Post]
» "A Season of Glorious, Gorgeous Substance" [Los Angeles Times]
» "Books To Get the Mouth Watering" [Philadelphia Inquirer]
» "It Was a Year of Classic Comfort" [Boston Globe]
» "Great Books for Cooks" [epicurious]
» "Best of 2003" [Leite's Culinaria]
I must admit that I do not own a single one of these books, so I am forced to recuse myself from casting my own vote. That said, I would give a nod to another frequent mention on these "best of" lists, Alice Medrich's Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate, based on her past work.
Do you have a personal recommendation for any of these acclaimed books or for others that deserve attention but did not make the list(s)?
Image: From Healy & Bigelow's New Cook Book (1890), Advertising Ephemera Collection - Database #A0160, Emergence of Advertising On-Line Project, John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library.