Review of The Silver Palate Cookbook: 25 Years Anniversary Edition by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

This is not a new cookbook, but there is a reason why it is has remained popular since it first appeared in 1982. As far as I’m concerned, the main reason is the cakes. Yes, the ratatouille is wonderful, and the Tarte Saint-Germain is delicious, but who offers cake recipes like this in these calorie conscious times? That is to say, it does not exactly seem like you could eat a lot of their cakes without showing some effects, but if you just exercise self-control (ha ha, a little humor there) you won’t regret it!

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For example, ordinarily, I wouldn’t pick banana cake out of a pile of cake. But their banana cake is moist and lush and covered in scrumptious cream cheese frosting. The same frosting goes on their carrot cake, which is the best I’ve ever had, even though I omit two of the ingredients, coconut and pineapple. (You can easily find the recipe from the cookbook for this popular cake online, such as at this site. And by the way, it calls for pureed carrots. As if I would use, and therefore have to wash, the food processor. I buy baby food carrots. That counts as pureed, right?)

Most of the recipes are accompanied by something extra: a color photo, a suggested menu, or a quote (“…I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread” from William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost” and my sentiments exactly. Well, maybe not the sharing part, but definitely the gingerbread part.) There are also intermittent sections with background information about food, such as an explanation of the different kinds of olive oil, or a review of the differences among various mushrooms or salad greens. Occasionally there are anecdotes by the authors about a recipe or advice on cooking techniques, such as cooking bacon or making the perfect omelet.

Evaluation: There is a wealth of information in this colorful cookbook, and everything I have tried in it has been outstanding.

Twenty-FifthAnniversary Edition Published by Workman Publishing, 2007

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20 Responses to Review of The Silver Palate Cookbook: 25 Years Anniversary Edition by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

  1. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea says:

    I may have to buy this for my collection. The banana cake with cream cheese would be a hit with our family. I just made honey, banana nut muffins on Friday and we’ve been so enjoying them. Thanks for sharing Jill.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    I hear you on the food processor. I’m pretty sure our grocery store carries shredded carrots. I can’t believe I don’t own this cookbook.

  3. Richard says:

    Jill, I’m going to overlook your overestimation of the not all that exciting gingerbread (only a notch or two tastier than those awful holiday fruit cakes in my book) because I loved your line about exercising self-control. Good one!

  4. Belle Wong says:

    “As if I would use, and therefore have to wash, the food processor.” 🙂 I feel the same way. Ward doesn’t, however, and will cart that thing out at the drop of a hat. The container thingy broke on him last summer and he was so angsty until he received the replacement from the manufacturer.

    I love real cream cheese frosting. I’d eat it on carrot cake, banana bread, or by the spoonfuls (at least, I would if I wasn’t dabbling in this low-carb thing right now).

  5. Laurie C says:

    Gingerbread cake comes into play in Ruth Reichl’s novel, Delicious!, which I just finished reading for book club. I prefer frosted cakes, myself, but I think it’s possible to have great gingerbread, it’s just that most gingerbreads aren’t great! When The Silver Palate Cookbook first came out, I guess I was still more into cooking from the Moosewood cookbooks and Vegetarian Epicure, so we missed out on a lot of the 80s food trends. I do love carrot cake, though, as that was part of the hippie-vegetarian repertoire, too!

  6. sagustocox says:

    How do I not have this one in my collection! I love Cake!

  7. I made a banana cake for Juliet’s first birthday party, and it was surprisingly awesome! I might have to look for this book and compare recipes. 🙂

  8. jilllora says:

    Carrot cake that is better than Taco Temple?!? You speak blasphemy! (And by the way, I had their carrot cake on Saturday. Nee-ner-nee-ner.)

  9. Tina says:

    I see what you mean, you couldn’t indulge yourself too often but wow, when you do it seems they have good quality recipes.
    Banana cake is one I like but I wouldn’t necessarily make it my first pick. Your photo shows a very moist cake, nice!

  10. Beth F says:

    Pretty much one of my all-time favorite cookbooks ever. Seriously. The recipes from this and their other book have become so classic they appear in novels and movies. I always laugh when I catch a reference to a recipe that I *know* is from Silver Palate.

  11. Yes, this is a classic. I still make the curried cream of chicken soup (and leave out the cream, you don’t need it). It’s easier today with an immersion blender. Delicious!

  12. I finally got a copy of this at the library bookstore where I work. I can’t wait to dig in.

  13. Trish says:

    I was trying to figure out where I had JUST heard about this one–the Dinner: A Love Story gal spoke highly about this one. Off to check my library!

  14. My copy is falling apart — still one of my favorite cookbooks ever. Chicken Marbella — now there’s a classic!

  15. Vicki says:

    How have I never seen this cookbook before?

  16. Haha – I figure if you’re going to eat cake, then EAT CAKE! Just a bit and not that often….and things will be fine 🙂

  17. I need to look at this. My dad got me the book from a used sale.

  18. jama says:

    I’ve known about this book forever, but never tried to make anything from it. Will have to take another look!

  19. joyweesemoll says:

    A cookbook with quotes from Shakespeare what a delight!

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