The Reading Room

One of my favorite food writers is Donna Hay.  She is an Australia based cookbook author, columnist, magazine editor, and specialty store owner who does some of the best work in the industry.



Her cookbooks and magazine are well written, stunningly illustrated, bringing the food to life on the page.  The recipes are made up of commonly available ingredients, and in the case of her cookbooks, most contain less than ten of those ingredients.  The recipes are obviously well tested, and each one is accompanied by a photograph of the finished dish
Her many offerings bring together gourmet, regional, and specialty concepts, into a vehicle for producing exceptional dishes that are accessible to the home cook in a way that is rare in this medium.  There is a well executed lifestyle component, centered around entertaining, that provides that same accessibility, and yields fail safe, restaurant quality results, from inputs that are manageable both with regard to time and raw materials.
The entertaining concept is further segmented into a seasonal arrangement, offering not only recipes, but menus, home, and decorating ideas centered around a time of year, or specific holidays.
The only problem the casual American cook might have with this author's work, is the references to the metric system in measurements.  But never fear, her website has a handy conversion calculator if you can't do them yourself.  The magazines might be difficult to find, depending on where you live.  Here, locally, it's only available from a couple of vendors, and retails for about ten dollars per issue, but well worth the time it takes to find it.  International subscriptions are likewise pricey, at a little less than $100US for six, bi-monthly issues, but again, worth the investment.  The cookbooks are readily available online, and from time to time, show up at chain booksellers.
Clearly, I am a fan, and I think, with good reason.  I own at least a half dozen of her books, and await the release of each new issue of the magazine with the zeal of a Dead Head anticipating a visit from Jerry Garcia.  If you can get your hands on her work, do so, you will not be disappointed.