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Gifts for Cooks: 'Canal House Cooking'

December 2, 2009 |  5:36 pm

CanalhouseThere are many wonderful food photographers in the world, but there is no one who captures the art of home cooking like Christopher Hirsheimer. The longtime head of photography at Saveur magazine, she has a way of capturing food — ingredients, preparation, finished dishes — with the eye of a great cook. Her pictures are stunningly natural and un-prettied up. But looking at them, you immediately want to eat, or cook, whatever she’s captured.

These days, she and her friend Melissa Hamilton (one of Saveur’s former food editors) have teamed up for a three-times-a-year publication called "Canal House Cooking." Each edition is a cookbook in itself, timed to the season. They’re not big books … the feeling is more like the personal cookbooks of the 1950s and 1960s. The kind that might have been subtitled “Some Good Things We Like to Eat.” Though they are basically paperbacks, they are so lovingly produced that they have the feel of art books.

And whatever they lack in comprehensiveness and gloss, the books more than make up for in flavor. Leafing through the recipes is like looking through the old Chez Panisse books, or maybe Deborah Madison or Richard Olney. Every other page, you think, “Oh, I want to make that.”  And the pictures are so perfect that you just know you can. (Click here for a recipe for cranberry Port gelee.)

Canal House Cooking,” $19.95 per book or $49.95 for a 1-year subscription. For more information, write Canal House Cooking, 6 Coryell St., Lambertville, NJ 08530, or visit the website at thecanalhouse.com.

-- Russ Parsons

Cover photo by Christopher Hirsheimer, "Canal House Cooking"