New York Cookbook

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2012, 12:00am


New York Cookbook
By Molly O'Neill

I read this book whenever I'm homesick for New York - it brings back memories of streets I've walked on and restaurants I've eaten in. The book takes you behind the scenes and into the kitchens - and not just those of the restaurants, mobile caterers and fast-food stalls (we're not talking McDonald's here) that make the city's food scene so varied and exciting. We also get recipes from some of New York's more notable 'names'. There is fashion designer Oscar de la Renta's pumpkin and crab soup, and Estee Lauder's beef and barley soup (the cosmetics queen was still alive when the book was published, in 1992).

O'Neill worked as a restaurant critic for New York Newsday and as a food writer for The New York Times, so she's had plenty of experience in finding the city's best eats, both cheap and expensive. She also delves into the history of dishes that have become synonymous with New York, such as smoked fish, dill pickles, cheesecake, Manhattan clam chowder and black and white cookies. And she devotes a couple of pages to the Soup Kitchen International's owner Al Yeganeh, who became notorious thanks to the 'soup Nazi' episode of television sitcom Seinfeld.

The book is a celebration of New York's diversity. There's Polish babka bread, Sicilian pasta with sardines, Turkish meat pie, Greek stuffed quail, Hungarian cucumber salad, Yiddish matzoh ball soup, Caribbean codfish puffs, Japanese beef teriyaki, Korean kimchi and Chinese soy sauce chicken.