One thing readers always tell me is that they save issues of saveur and return to certain recipes again and again; it’s probably the most gratifying thing an editor can hear. Over the years, the staff has pulled together collections of those go-to recipes in cookbooks themed for easy reference, the most recent being Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian (Chronicle Books, 2001). Gathering recipes from so many stories in a single volume always produces a result greater than the sum of its parts.
When the editors sat down to talk about what our next cookbook might look like, we knew we wanted to do something different this time. We free-associated, calling out memorable dishes from recent issues. There was the tagliatelle ragu from Nancy Harmon Jenkins’ story about Bologna, Italy (April 2008). The savory Beijing-style noodle stir-fry from our May 2010 issue was at the top of everyone’s list, as were the feta-stuffed hot peppers–oh, those peppers!–that graced the cover of our Greece issue (August/September 2010). The Hungarian chicken paprikash in our January/February 2010 issue, a beloved family recipe shared by reader Isabelle Zgonc, is a staff-lunch favorite at our office; we knew intuitively that any book we might create would be incomplete without it.
What do these recipes—from all corners of the globe—have in common? We realized that each, in its own way, is designed not only to nourish but to satisfy, console, even indulge. This is comfort food, and we’ve found it all over the world: in New York delis, Bangkok street stalls, and, above all, in home kitchens, where cooks have welcomed us and shown us how they feed their families.
After two years of work, I’m proud to present The New Comfort Food: Home Cooking from Around the World (Chronicle Books), available now in bookstores. What makes this compendium of over 100 recipes so special is that it goes beyond American comfort food classics—though plenty of those are included—and shares the vibrant range of foods that make people everywhere happy. Like the recipes in this issue—the red chile enchiladas that author Javier Cabral learned to make from his aunt in Zacatecas, Mexico (“Mexico Feeds Me,”); the beautiful fried chicken at Martha Lou’s Kitchen in Charleston, South Carolina (“Specialty of the House,”)–the book represents some of the very best cooking on the planet.