Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: New York Cult Recipes (Mini), by Marc Grossman

Take a bite of the Big Apple! 130 recipes that unlock the secrets of NYC’s legendary dining scene, all in an irresistible gift format. International bestseller now in new gift format!

The next best thing to a New York City food tour.

Feature image credit: Murdoch Books

New York Cult Recipes was initially published in 2012 and has since won over foodies right across the world, whether they appreciate the authentic tastes of the recipes within or just want a slice of the Big Apple on their bookshelf. It focuses on real recipes collected from establishments across the city, both from well-known eateries and hidden gems. As far as experiencing genuine New York chow goes, this tome is as close as it gets.

The recipes are extremely detailed and sectioned off into steps, so they’re easy to follow. There’s also a whole lot of them, from those found in Chinatown to the traditional Jewish-inspired desserts of institution bakeries throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan. There’s also the New York take on spaghetti and meatballs, brought over by Italian immigrants, along with American classics that most Australians have only heard about in movies—think sloppy Joes and pumpkin pie. Despite the American theme, the measurements are metric and often contain alternatives that are easy to find in Australian supermarkets.

While the original New York Cult Recipes would make for a wonderful gift for foodies and armchair travellers alike, the mini version is a little too small to be practical. The people I showed this book to were immediately impressed by the bold yellow hardback cover, but every one of them struggled to read the copy inside. If you are pressed for space and don’t mind taking photos of the recipes to zoom in for easier viewing, the mini option is a good alternative. Otherwise, opt for the original in all its spacious glory.

Hot Oatmeal (page 56)

This recipe is simple and satisfying. The addition of peanut butter completely transforms the taste of the oatmeal, and means this one will become a regular on the breakfast rotation. Its versatility also means that you can add anything you want to it, so there’s plenty of room for people more creative than me to include something other than banana and pumpkin seeds. I only had rolled oats, so they didn’t cook as quickly as the recipe said, but the beauty of quick and easy recipes like this is that it’s no trouble to try them again—when you have all the right ingredients! 

Stuffed Cabbage (page 160)

I love the premise of this dish, and it’s a particularly good one for someone who regularly cooks for gluten-free and dairy-free diners. Overall, the sauce was too sweet for me, but that’s a matter of taste. I would make this again and replace the sugar and cranberry juice in the sauce with extra spices and seasoning in the meat filling. Aside from the sweet factor being overpowering, this dish has been one of the few ways I’ve actually not despised cabbage.  

French Fries (page 128)

As is clear from the photo, these sadly didn’t come out the golden-brown colour that I remember of fries in New York, even with double frying. But they tasted a lot better than they looked. This probably isn’t one for the weekly rotation, but it is a recipe to keep in mind for casual get togethers when you need to feed a no-fuss crowd.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (page 26)

After making the cabbage rolls, I was wary of using all the sugar listed in the recipe and instead cut back. But with the lemon and the yoghurt, these were probably a little too tart without the full amount of sugar. However, the texture was light and fluffy, and the glaze was an easy touch that made them look professional less unprofessional. I’ll definitely make these again without meddling in the recipe!

Reviewed by Vanessa Elle
Instagram: @vanessaellewrites

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: November 2023
RRP: $29.99

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