Charles Dickens once wrote, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” If you love books and check the news about publishing, that quote can often come to mind. We hear about the imminent death of the printed book. Yet, Amazon is manufacturing a drone fleet to delivery books to our doorstop — how they are going to fly into my third floor Manhattan apartment is beyond me but I have faith in technology. And homeowners insurance.
Local bookstores perish, in some places, but thrive in others. Some authors prosper while others talk about how hard it is to get published, or to make a living even if their words are printed.
And all of us readers face a challenge in finding new things, new perspectives, new styles of books. The “big book” stores do not always have the latest or the broadest selection. It’s hard to get your hands physically on niche books, to turn the pages, and to be charmed by the physicality of the book.
So, I was wondering: what am I missing out? I began reading Amazon not just for book titles but for book publishers. Who is new? Who has niche cookbooks out there that I may have to order on line and that I almost certainly will not easily find on a local bookstore shelf, even in Manhattan.
And I’m finding those publishers. I should mention Ryland, Peters and Small, a British house that publishes lovely cookbooks. I’ve posted about them many times and suggested you visit their website to see what a delightful array of books they have. [Actually, I have several in my queue here and you’ll see some great books spotlighted.].
The good news for any foodie is that I’ve found another wonderful, important publisher: Skyhorse Publishing. The very odd thing is that I saw the name the same week that Suzen and I began planning for an August outing to Yellowstone National Park. Now, when I read “Skyhorse” I imagined this firm would be located in Seattle, or Montana somewhere or maybe Denver. But not east of Denver. Not with that name.
Maybe, if I was out west anyway, I could visit them. Turns out, visiting is possible, and I don’t have to go through security at an airport.
Skyhorse Publishing is based in Manhattan, just 2.5 miles from where I live. If I want them to deliver, no drone is necessary. They could practically toss a book in my window. Well, maybe 2.5 miles is a stretch, but how many of you have a major publisher that close to home? There are benefits to living in Manhattan.
Here’s what the website says about Skyhorse:
Skyhorse Publishing was launched in September 2006 by Tony Lyons, former president and publisher of the Lyons Press, and its first titles were published in March 2007. Lyons talked to dozens of potential investors, all of whom asked the same question: ‘Can a new book publishing company make it in the current environment?’ His response remains: ‘Succeeding as an independent publisher is not going to be easy, but by scouring the country for genre books that large publishers ignore, resurrecting forgotten classics, and by moving both more quickly and with greater attention to detail than other publishers, I believe we can flourish.'
And flourish they have. Skyhorse has 3,000 titles in its backlist. Eight New York Times best sellers.
Foodies now have a deep, rich treat in store. Go to the Skyhorese website and navigate to the Cooking & Beverages section:
There are almost 200 titles here, diverse and interesting. I just blogged about Let Them Eat Kale! which is a charming and carefully constructed book that will have you going way beyond mere kale chips. The production quality of Kale! — and other books I have seen — is very strong: lovely paper, great layout, photos that bleed to the edge of the page, and those photos are really well posed. Seductive enough to have you headed for the kitchen. The recipes themselves? From Vegetarian Grilling I’ve already posted the Onions with Fig and Goat Cheese Topping. It’s almost too pretty to eat, but eat it you will. And with delight.
I invite you to go and browse at Skyhorse. You can order online. There are many choices, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to have this significant new source for culinary inspiration.
Here's a reminder from a past post here, a fast, easy way to cook corn and deal with all that mess from husking and watching the corn silk float about the room. You find silk strands in your kitchen for days, don't you? Or, if you shuck outside, you walk back into the house trailing silk. Who wants to shuck corn outside and then strip before reentering. My God, you'd think this was preventing the spread of ebola virus!
Instead, don't shuck. Put your whole ears of corn in the microwave, cook for 4 minutes an ear, remove the ears, and just cut off the bottom ends. Then you simply pick up each ear by the tassel end and the cooked corn slips right out of the husk. Okay, a vigorous shake or two may be needed, but that silk stays together while the corn lovingly slips away. No floating silk.
Suzen and I do this all the time now. Is there flavor impact? No. The corn is essentially steamed the same way it is when you grill corn with the husk on. There is no textural impact. The kernels are perfectly steamed, tender and show no hint of the "rubberiness" that happens when you microwave bread.
No silk, no way.
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑1250