Food & Wine Magazine has pored over past years’ cookbooks, looking for the very best–the best chefs, the best sellers, the best techniques, the best ideas. The result is a one-of-a-kind sampler of 35 outstanding publications, with contributions from such culinary phenomenons as The Too Hot Tamales, Emeril Lagasse, Marcella Hazan and Martha Stewart. With introductory pages, cooking tips, and a helpful recipe index, Best of the Best offers a tasty tour of today’s top cookbooks. This is a fantastic cookbook with something for everyone–pastas, meats, chicken, salads, desserts and more!Cookbook addicts everywhere know the symptoms well–a buzz of excitement as a new book hits the market, a small voice imploring the brain to act now and shop, and finally the overwhelming joy as the book is bought, and that first aroma of new paper and fresh print hits the senses. With a proliferation of new cookbooks, cookbook junkies have certainly had their fix, but for those of us who can only fantasize about owning every new title, Food and Wine Magazine’s Best of the Best at least supplies a taste of the best books out there. This highly regarded culinary institute selects books based on their strong designs, alluring photography, and tried and tested recipes–showcasing the best entr?es, appetizers, and desserts from each. Every recipe is faithfully reproduced from the original, even down to the format of the page. This is an eclectic and delicious sampling from 1997 cookbook heaven. There are Chocolate Boulders from Marcel Desaulniers’s Death by Chocolate Cookies, Vivid Parsley and Pea Risotto from Deborah Madison’s wonderful Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie from The All New, All Purpose Joy of Cooking, and so many more.

Encompassing snippets from 35 titles, Best of the Best is savvy in its organization, with five distinct chapters including “Chef’s Cookbooks,” “Best Sellers,” and “Vegetarian/Healthy Cooking.” And which title wins the ultimate accolade of Best Book of the Year? That would be Marcella Hazan’s Marcella Cucina, an example of Italian regional cooking at its most divine. Try the Sauteed Cauliflower with Green Olives and Tomato for a truly triumphant dish, although every recipe in this collection is a winner. –Naomi Gesinger

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