Hesser, 39, didn't just update the 1961 edition of The Essential New York Times Cookbook; she excavated more than a century's worth of recipes from the newspaper's archives for an account of the evolution of American cooking. (The green-pea fritter recipe from 1876, for example, still sounds great.) She's also at work on another project: Food52, a website she created with Merrill Stubbs where amateur cooks submit recipes to be tested by experts and voted on, with each week's winning dish earning a spot in a cookbook due out next year.
Photo © Sarah Shatz/W.W. Norton & Co.