The New York Times Cooking: A Recipe for Success

When it comes to turkey, Melissa Clark is an expert. She is an award-winning cookbook author and food columnist for The New York Times. Before Thanksgiving, she showed Sanneh her latest recipe: “reheated” turkey.

“Every year I get so many emails, letters, ‘I have to make my turkey ahead and drive it to my daughters, my son-in-law, my cousin, my aunt,'” Clark said. “So I brought it up in one of our meetings and my editor said, ‘Okay, go with it.'”

“It looks really juicy,” Sanneh said. “I’m no expert, but if you served it to me, I wouldn’t know it was reheated.”

New York Times columnist Melissa Clark with Kelefa Sanneh.

CBS News

As a child, Clark grew up cooking with Julia Child cookbooks, splattered with food: “Oh my God, those cookbooks, they’re like, all the pages stick together. You can’t even open them anymore!”

Over the years, Clark has contributed more than a thousand recipes to the paper. Of course, The New York Times isn’t primarily known for recipes. The newspaper, which has almost ten million subscribers, launched NEW Cooking app in 2014, and began charging extra for it three years later. It now displays more than 21,000 recipes from one peanut butter and pickle sandwichto venison medallions with blackberry sage sauce. Dozens of recipes are added every month.

The New York Times Cooking app contains more than 21,000 recipes.

CBS News

Emily Weinstein, who oversees cooking and food coverage at the Times, believes recipes are an important part of the paper’s business model. “There are a million people who just have cooking, and there are millions more who have access to cooking because they’re all-in on The New York Times bundle,” she said.

“And at a base price of about $5 a month, it’s a pretty good business,” Sanneh said.

“It seems that way to me!” Weinstein laughed.

And subscribers respond, sometimes vigorously. “We have this huge firehose of feedback in the form of our comments section,” Weinstein said. “We know right away if people liked the recipe, if they thought it worked, what changes they made to it.”

Readers comment freely on the Times’ recipes.

CBS News

Clark said, “I actually read a lot of the notes—the bad ones because I want to learn how to improve how to write a recipe that’s stronger and more foolproof; and then the good ones because it warms my heart. It’s so gratifying to read, my goodness, this recipe that I put up there, it works, and people loved it, and the meal was good!”

Every recipe the Times publishes has to be cooked and cooked again. When “Sunday Morning” visited Clark, she was working on turkey #9 and #10 — which may explain why she’s taking this Thanksgiving off.

“This year I’m going to someone’s house for Thanksgiving,” Clark said.

“And they are manufacture you a turkey? They must be nervous,’ said Sanneh.

“Not at all.”

“I guarantee you that the home cook right now is already stressing about this.”

“Um, he’s sent me a few texts about it, yeah!” Clark laughed.

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Story produced by Mark Hudspeth. Editor: Joseph Frandino.

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