“How long does this take to cook?” “What if the cheese just went on top? Or not at all?” “Does it need to be that dense?”
This is the ethos behind Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine and its new best-of cookbook, “Great Food Fast”: Use just a few ingredients, but make sure they’re fresh and healthy. Use as few steps as possible, but make sure the dish packs a taste punch and looks good on the plate.
The book is one of many “quick-prep” collections new on the market this spring, as ever time-pressed Americans continue their quest to shave minutes off dinner-hour labor. But it’s not enough to be quick anymore. To succeed, these books must celebrate the “wow” factor.
“There are at least six or seven new releases in that category this month, and they all have a really nice presence as a cookbook,” says Brad Parsons, a senior editor at Amazon.com. “There’s nothing disposable about them.”
The Everyday Food brand is arguably among the sharpest purveyors of these philosophies today, industry watchers say.
“People want minimal ingredients, they want a real ‘wow’ factor and they want to see what it’s going to look like when its finished,” said Alice Dasher, a saleswoman who specializes in cookbooks.
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