I first ran across the Canal House books in a Williams-Sonoma store in Rancho Cucamonga (of all places) several months ago. They had the first three volumes out on display, and as I flipped through them, I was immediately reminded of the Zuni cookbook and other similar volumes. The photos are magazine-quality beautiful, and the recipes were thoughtful and reflected the kind of food I love to cook and eat - bountiful and flavorful dishes featuring lots of fresh produce and simple but effective techniques. I was a little bit overwhelmed at the time, and wasn't really in the market for new cookbooks or recipes, but with the change of seasons, I've been feeling the need to change it up a bit in the kitchen - so I came back to explore these books a little further.
What I found out is that the books are actually a series, with three volumes published per year. The publishers are two former Saveur magazine editors. Melissa Hamilton was the food editor there, as well as, at various times, an executive chef, food stylist, and recipe developer, and Christopher Hirsheimer (a woman) was a food and design editor for Metropolitan Home and a founding editor of Saveur. The mission of the editors/publishers is to share recipes they like to cook at home - both for entertaining and every day. The books remind me a little of the Silver Palate cookbooks of the late 80's - they seem to update that same idea for today's sensibilities. I just ordered a subscription - as well as a back issue from a year ago with Fall and Holiday recipes - and I'm really looking forward to their arrival. Now I just need to get out there and do some work in the garden!
For more information visit their website.
photos from Gourmet.com and Canal House Cooking