Monday, August 3, 2009

Cooking With the Seasons Along the Canal

By Pat Tanner

In the introduction to Canal House Cooking, the first in a series of seasonal cookbooks by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hersheimer, these two women describe themselves as “home cooks.” Indeed they are. As Ms. Hersheimer told me, “Like everyone, we face putting meals on the table for our families every day while working long hours. We leave here at 7 p.m. - if we’re lucky - asking ourselves, ‘what’s in my fridge and on my shelves?’ We also know what is available at the supermarket. Ours is a very practical and accessible book. It is truly how we cook.”

Yes, but each woman has also enjoyed a successful career at the top of the food-publishing world. Hersheimer was one of the founders and an executive editor of Saveur magazine, where Hamilton ran the test kitchen and served as food editor. Together the pair has more than 30 years experience working with magazines such as Metropolitan Home, Food and Wine, Cook’s Illustrated, and Martha Stewart Living and on cookbooks by Julia Child, Alice Waters, Mario Batali, Jacques Pepin, Lidia Bastianich, and other notables.

In 2007 they established their own studio alongside the D&R canal in tiny Lambertville, where they specialize in food photography and styling and cookbook design and writing. Including, now, their own.

Volume one of Canal House Cooking focuses on their favorite summer recipes, with names like Tomatoes All Dressed Up for Summer and Raspberry Sandwiches. Three books a year are planned. Next up is Fall/Holiday (due out in mid-October), followed by Winter/Spring. For a glimpse at the stylish, easy, and eye-popping recipes, visit Check out the recipe for Melon Water, a summer cooler made with or without rum. At this time of year, who can resist a recipe that begins, “Crack open a ripe melon…”?

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