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Interview with Tanya Steel, author of The Epicurious Cookbook

The Recipe Club asks the Editor-in-Chief of Epicurious, Tanya Steel, why she wrote a cookbook and how she chose the recipes.

Epicurious is, undoubtedly, one of the most respected websites for people who like to cook. And now there’s The Epicurious Cookbook! It’s their first-ever cookbook, and the Epicurious editors have culled their extraordinary database of 180,000 recipes and selected their most popular recipes. Our sister blog, The Recipe Club, sat down with Tanya Steel, the Editor-in-Chief of Epicurious to find out why she wrote the cookbook, how the recipes were chosen, and more.

Originally posted on The Recipe Club.

The Recipe Club: We are devout Epicurious fans over here at The Recipe Club. What made you decide to write a cookbook?
Tanya Steel: Having been through the process of writing my own cookbook in 2008, I wasn’t in any hurry to do another (Reader: insert smiley emoticon here) but then we kept getting requests from our passionate community of home cooks all over the world to do a cookbook. Despite being the most iconic digital food brand, some of our members are avid cookbook collectors. That’s one of the reasons why we feature cookbooks on our site on a daily basis. Some wanted it because they wanted to have a curated focused collection of the most popular recipes on our site. Others love to cook from a book propped up on the kitchen counter despite the fact that they also cook from our app on the tablet. So, when Clarkson Potter came along to ask if we would be interested, we knew the time was right and they were the right partner.

TRC: There are so many fantastic recipes on the site. How did you ever choose what would be included in the book?
TS: We have over 200,000 recipes on Epicurious, and each of us editors have hundreds of recipes in our own personal recipe boxes (mine is up to 580), so it was sooo hard to choose the recipes for the book. We first looked only at the top rated recipes. We then looked at breaking those down seasonally, then by meal course. Then we looked at hundreds of member recipes and did the same with those. It was exhaustive—and exhausting—and I will admit I drove my brilliant and hard working staff a bit crazy. In the end, I think what we netted out with truly comprises the perfect set of recipes. I really think I will be using this cookbook decades from now, gray hair and all…

TRC: Even if it’s hard, you must choose: what is your favorite recipe in the cookbook?
TS: OMG. That’s like asking me which of my twins is my favorite. The answer is, depends on the day. Right now I would say the Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake. I am a real sugar addict, and this cake always makes me very, very happy.

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