Cook the Book: 'Gourmet Today'

20090921gourmettoday.jpgWhen I first moved out on my own, my mother thoughtfully gifted me with a paperback copy of Fanny Farmer's Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. As a novice cook it was my go-to for pretty much everything, from simple tasks like mashing potatoes to more complicated pies and pastries. I think my copy lasted about a year before the spine split and the pages became too grease-stained and sticky. I then graduated to a secondhand copy of Irma Rombauer's indispensable Joy of Cooking.

Both of these books have lived with me in kitchens all over the country and seen me through hundreds, if not thousands, of meals over the years. While Fanny Farmer and Joy of Cooking are great for basics and deserve a place on everyone's cookbook shelf, one thing they are not is modern. I mean, when did you last have a hankering for Lady Baltimore Cake or Tuna Soufflé?

Times have changed and the way we eat and cook has changed drastically in our lifetime, and it's time for a cookbook that reflects our evolving tastes. Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl and executive editor John Willoughby have put together a thoroughly modern collection of recipes and techniques for the contemporary cook, Gourmet Today.

When your neighborhood supermarket routinely stocks grass-fed beef, celeriac, and quinoa, chances are you need a book to tell you how to use them and Gourmet Today is just that book.

It's a comprehensive reference for the educated cook and eater, a book that will teach you about ingredients and inspire wonderfully satisfying meals. Classic recipes such as Matzoh Ball Soup and Lasagna Bolognese are interspersed with dishes we have become newly and fondly acquainted with, such as Southeast Asian Grilled Squid Salad and Carnitas. It's a book for modern palates and modern cooks. And if you have recently sent your college-aged child to strike out on their own, I would strongly recommend sending them a copy of Gourmet Today (along with Joy of Cooking too, of course).

Win Gourmet Today

Gourmet Today is filled with over 1000 recipes, so picking out a measly six to share with you this week turned out to be quite a daunting task. We've decided that the best way to show you what Gourmet Today has to offer is by putting together an entire meal from it's pages. We are going to be starting out with a cocktail this afternoon, an hors d'oeuvre on Tuesday, an appetizer and entree on Wednesday, a side on Thursday, and we'll finish up with dessert on Friday.

Thanks to the generosity of the folks over at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, we are giving away five (5) copies of Gourmet Today this week. All you have to do is tell us about your first cookbook in the comments section below.

Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, September 28 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.