No book industry gathering would be complete without food—or books about food—for both adults and kids who want to learn how to cook or get new techniques for doing it faster, with healthy ingredients and bigger flavors.
At BookExpo, America’s Test Kitchen, the Boston publisher and multimedia company, will introduce its inaugural line of children’s food books, America’s Test Kitchen Kids, which are being published in collaboration with Sourcebooks. Blads for The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs (Oct.), for ages 8–13, will be available at the Sourcebooks booth (2039). Two board books, A Is for Artichoke: A Foodie Alphabet from Artichoke to Zest! and 1, 2, 3 the Farm and Me, are also due out this fall.
“We think of ourselves first and foremost as an educational company, and it’s weird we’ve never done anything for kids before,” says Jack Bishop, chief creative officer of ATK, who is excited about remedying that gap. As a result of focus groups with kids and surveys with kids and parents, he says that he was surprised by how sophisticated kids are in their food taste and aspirations, but not with some basic skills. When they were cooking in the company’s test kitchen, he says, “We needed to tell kids when to turn off the stove.” Also because many parents are so protective of their children, it was the first time that they had ever used a knife or touched a protein like raw chicken.
The press will do about 20 kids’ books over the next four or five years. But ATK has no intention of neglecting its adult roots, particularly this year when one of its leading products, Cook’s Illustrated magazine, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Cook’s Illustrated Revolutionary Recipes (Oct.) brings together original recipes dating to 1993 that Bishop views as “landmark [because] they changed the way we cook at home.” These range from hard-boiled eggs that aren’t actually boiled to perfectly grilled steaks that start in the oven.
In addition, ATK is launching another new partnership, with National Geographic. Both houses are distributed by PRH, and they began talking about working together when they met up at PRH Client Services summits. “We felt there were some nice synergies,” says Bishop, who says that ATK “is looking for new horizons, ways to do what we do and engage new audiences.” That’s the driving force behind the two companies’ first collaboration, Tasting Italy, which combines photography and writing for the armchair traveler with 100 regional Italian recipes and an introduction by Bishop, who sees the book as destined for both the living room and the kitchen.
Rossella Rago channels Italian cooking via the wisdom of Italian grandmothers in both Cooking with Nonna: Celebrate Food and Family (2017) and her follow-up, Cooking with Nonna: The Holiday Cookbook (Quarto/Race Point, Oct.). The idea for the books grew out of the web series of the same name that Rago has hosted for the past decade.
When the series began in 2009, Rago was in college and living with her nonna. Her father saw that Rago wasn’t passionate about her studies and asked her what she’d like to do. “Our lives are all about eating together,” she says. “I never thought about making a career of that.” But that is indeed what she did. Rago’s father bought a website and built a set, and she began cooking with her own nonna and others. The books came about largely because of Rago’s Facebook friend Jeannine Dillon, editorial director of Race Point Publishing. She offered Rago a book deal via Facebook Messenger. Although the show is popular now, Rago likes to say, “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success.”
For chef and cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz it’s all about vegan. She owns two Modern Love vegan restaurants, one in Brooklyn, where she grew up, and the other in Omaha, Nebr., and she’s written 10 cookbooks, including I Can Cook Vegan (Abrams, Jan. 2019). In this latest, she wants to show home cooks how to get big flavors from minimal ingredients that are easy to source and treated simply. The book includes how-to’s to make the cooking go more quickly, like a way to trim broccoli so that the florets just fall off.
Moskowitz says that her inspiration for the new book comes from Modern Love. She likes to see what her patrons like to eat, particularly in Omaha, where her customers are looking for basic dishes. After being a vegan for 30 years, Moskowitz is pleased that “ ‘vegan’ is not a word people are afraid of anymore.”