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The Waldorf=Astoria Cookbook    by John Doherty & John Harrisson order for
Waldorf=Astoria Cookbook
by John Doherty
Order:  USA  Can
Bulfinch, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Need a special gift for a new bride or someone who loves to cook? You definitely would score with a copy of The Waldorf=Astoria Cookbook. The book itself is a work of art. The pages are high quality paper, the typeface appropriate for this type of production, there's a cover to knock your socks off, and the photographs are both beautiful and enticing, as is the hotel itself.

On to the Introduction. Opened in 1893, the Waldorf catered to the transient trade, soon evolving into 'a combination of European style and opulence with the comfort and familiarity of the family home.' When another hotel was built next door the Astoria the two combined forces to become the Waldorf=Astoria, with a connecting walkway. (Hence the = separating the name). Don't skip these introductory pages. They give an interesting history of what was once the world's largest and tallest hotel. The Chef's Foreword comes next the background of Executive Chef John Doherty and his rise to become the man responsible for managing 160 employees and making it all come out right and in the Waldorf=Astoria tradition. Oh, to be one of the guests at a Chef's Table evening.

And, now, the recipes. For Breakfast, Chef Doherty focuses on the basics and then takes them to the next level. The Breakfast Lemon Cake is sure to make one moan with pleasure when the delicate flavors hit the taste buds. How about Eggs Baked in Prosciutto with Tomato Salsa? Or the ultimate in taste treats Raspberry Irish Oatmeal Brulee with Strawberry Coulis. At the end of most recipes are helpful Chef's Notes. Don't ignore them. Cocktails range from Red Velvet Cake Martini to Kir Royale and Hors D'Oeuvres from Ricotta Gnocchi with White Truffles and Parmesan Cream to Seared Scallops with Osetaa Caviar and Potato-Chive Mousseline. Be sure to have a napkin handy when perusing the recipes and photos of dishes that seem to be begging to be eaten you'll need it to mop your salivating mouth.

Moving on to Soups and then Appetizers seguing onto Salads is enough to make a grown woman (or, at least, this reviewer) cry. I can't decide which dish I want first. Fish and Seafood is to kill for. I mean, who wouldn't at least maim for Poppadom-Crusted Salmon with Grapefruit Sauce and Avocado? I can't mention all of the dishes that caught my roving eye, but I must point out the Filet Mignon with Blue Cheese Crust, Bull and Bear Popover, Port Wine Sauce, and Bernaise. Divine! Even the hotel's famous Macaroni and Cheese awaits you. Fish and Seafood, of course, are included as well as Poultry and Meat. Desserts, Side Dishes, Condiments and Basic Recipes round out what to my mind is the cookbook of the year.

With vignettes from the hotel's history placed carefully between sections of foods groups, this wonderful book has me running out of superlatives. If you do buy a copy as a gift, be sure to up the ante to two. Once The Waldorf=Astoria Cookbook is in your hands, you won't want to give it up.

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