Fran McCullough and Suzanne Hamlin have done it again. For the second year in a row, they've combed the Internet and pored over piles of books, magazines and newspapers looking at thousands of recipes, ultimately coming up with the 135 best in The Best American Recipes 2000. Taste is their first criterion, but their refined recipe radar is tuned to spot the distinctive, exciting and smart approaches that maximize flavor. Some of this year's picks are quick to fix (Shrimp and Corn with Basil); some are slow (Twelve Hour Roast Pork). Comforting tradition mixes with imaginative new dishes (Mexican Pistachio Soup), and fresh spins on the classics (Chocolate Mousse with Olive Oil). Fran and Suzanne consider these the essential recipes of the year and they've added what many cooks consider essential embellishments - notes on ingredients, tips on techniques, serving suggestions, wine choices and inviting variations. Let's hope there's another awesome annual in the works for next year.
Sybil Pratt has cooked up this column for more than five years.