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For Wayne

So has anyone read/used/looked at the recently published cookbook, The Silver Spoon? It came up today at our 4th of July cookout- most people had heard it was good, but none had actually read it. It’s apparently the Joy of Cooking of Italian cooking, the “bible” for Italian food aficionados…Meaning, it covers everything you can think of.

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Extreme Makeover: Cookbook Cabinet Edition!

On a scale of 1 to 10- 10 being extremely extreme and 1 being not so extreme- this gets a 3. Ok, so not very extreme…Yesterday I decided to go through the cookbook shelf and recycle a ton of old magazine issues that are clearly taking up space because I’m not using them. If I weren’t so pro-recycling, I would be a packrat, definitely. I had to make space for several new cookbooks that have been sitting in a pile on the counter for a few weeks. But I’m planning on reorganizing the entire kitchen (at some point) and that will be quite the event…

In the meantime, I will be sitting on the back porch with a glass of iced tea (green-mint in case you were wondering) and reading my new issue of Gourmet which just came in the mail!

As you can see, I’m having a very exciting and eventful summer 😉

In Need of a Bigger Bookshelf!

We have a buttload of cookbooks and old issues of Gourmet and Cooking Light crammed into a very small cabinet in our kitchen. Soooo I thought I would take a picture to show you how ridiculously overflowing the shelves are…

Of course, we don’t use all of them. Not even close! There are probably some that have never been used once…I mean, I sort of collect cookbooks and intend to use them but don’t get around to it… But, the most frequently used are:

1. various recipes from friends/grandparents/strangers, clipped from magazines or newspapers
2. ones printed out from FoodTv.com or allrecipes.com
3. Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2005
4. The Joy of Cooking (old edition?)
5. The Whole Foods Market Cookbook
6. The Moosewood Cookbook
7. Moosewood Restaurant: Simple Suppers

How often do I actually follow a recipe? Unless I’m baking, not very often. I usually just wing it and, hey, that works for me! Actually, tonight I was trying to find a recipe for something to do with Spaghetti Squash but I didn’t end up finding one. Instead, I used several as inspiration and took it from there. What I ended up with was spaghetti squash with sauteed zucchini and spinach, topped with toasted pinenuts and mozarella cheese- YUM. Very tasty, if I do say so myself!

By the way, I put up a “What I’m Reading” section on the right- check it out!

What’s on your bookshelf?

In yesterday’s gorgeous weather, I sat on the back porch and finished A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain. Basically, it follows Anthony through the taping of his Travel Channel tv show, “No Reservations,” in which he travels the world in search of “the perfect meal.” He figures out that finding the perfect meal is damn near impossible and unrealistic, but he comes pretty close. I loved it! I love food and I love to travel so traveling FOR food is right up my alley! And Bourdain is entertaining, as always, although I did frown through his vegetarian-bashing (AHEM. Anthony, you are insulting and offending some readers and foodies here. I can take a joke, but…you’ve crossed the line!). But, you know, still a great read!

Books from the CIA

Oh! I forgot to tell ya’ll when we took our classes at the CIA, some of them included books for you to take home (included in the price of the class, although also sold in their bookstore).

Click on the links under “What I’m reading” (to your right) to see “Gourmet Meals in Minutes” and “Breakfasts and Brunches” on Amazon.com. I’ve checked out the Gourmet Meals one and it’s pretty nice, and my mom has already used it a few times.

Just finished “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano, which I had been meaning to read since it came out. I really liked it, it’s all about enjoying food and taking pleasure in what you eat, and it’s certainly not a preachy diet book. It’s not really a diet book at all (not that I was expecting one) but rather an explanation of French culture’s relationship to food. She explains that French women practice moderation, eating smaller portions of rich foods but balancing them out with an overall healthy diet.

And then I read this essay in the NY Times, “Well-Intentioned Food Police May Create Havoc With Children’s Diets”, where the author asserts that schools and the government have now taken on the role of ‘food police’ in school lunch reforms, etc, which is probably worse for the kids in the long run. She says:

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself. That is, our twin fears of fat and food, and the consequent distortions in the way we feed ourselves and our children, will damage us far more than a bowl of ice cream every now and again….So serve another slice of pizza. Bring on the chocolate cupcakes. Dish up the broccoli soup and burritos, the strawberries and cheesecake. Give kids more time to run around and play, and also more time to eat. Teach them about the joys of food, not the terrors. And maybe they’ll grow up less ambivalent and healthier than we are.”

Basically, these two authors have realized that Americans are pretty stupid sometimes, when it comes to food that is. We tend to eat on the go, eat packaged foods and pre-made meals because we’re too lazy to cook…and then we freak out when our kids are fat! I mean, if people just thought logically and realized those afternoon snacks of McD’s fries and dinners of Kraft mac n’ cheese will add up eventually, then we wouldn’t have the so-called obesity epidemic. Moderation is the key: eat healthily the majority of the time but don’t feel bad if you want to go to the ice cream stand once in awhile!

More Books

Other books you might like, recommended in the NY Times:
Adventure Cooking and Xtreme Eating

My friend, KB, recommends “A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal” by Anthony Bourdain. I’ll be adding that on to my list of “Books I intend to read, but won’t have time to until after my term papers and finals are over.”

Essential Reading List for Foodies

I’ve been meaning to get this post up for awhile, but it’s been hectic around here (speaking of hectic, it’s Spring Weekend here @ Brown!!)….Now, for all you foodies, here are some books that I highly recommend:

1. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, by Anthony Bourdain. Well-known chef, Bourdain, documents his journey from dish-washer to chefdom and all his inappropriate, hilarious antics along the way. Definitely my favorite of the lot.

2. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, by Ruth Reichl. Reichl, editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, tells heartfelt stories about making and discovering foods with friends and family throughout her life. There’s also a sequel to this one, called Comfort Me With Apples.

3. Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 564 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment, by Julie Powell. Frustrated with her job as a secretary and with her life in general, Julie decided to cook her way through every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year. This project actually started as a blog documenting this huge undertaking- and she actually managed to do it! Julie is honest, open and willing to try anything.

4. Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe. My Dad gave me this book when I first decided to go vegetarian. Written in the 1970s, Lappe encourages readers to go veg, think about their impact on the environment, and take an active part in giving back to the earth. Yeah, it’s a little hippie-esque, but still very relevant in the U.S. today.

5. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, by Ruth Reichl. Another one by Reichl! I love her writing style…This one is funnier than her other 2 books though. After becoming famous in NYC as a NY Times food critic, Reichl has to start eating in costume, laughing and making some startling discoveries along the way.

6. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, by Eric Schlosser. This one is worth reading, and I’m not just saying that because I’m vehemently anti-fast-food. It’s informative, if gross at times. If you eat fast food, it will make you rethink that Big Mac. If you don’t, it will just give you more reasons to avoid it.

7. The Man Who Ate Everything, by Jeffrey Steingarten. Steingarten was forced to overcome a number of food aversions- such as his hatred of kimchi and raw vegetables- when he became food critic for Vogue magazine. Steingarten’s funny essays range from the quest for the perfect French Fry to a chapter called “Salad, the Silent Killer.”(I found this one particularly funny because I used to be super picky, but eventually forced myself to become more adventurous in my eating.)

8. This is a series, but whatever: any of the Best Food Writing books are a great collection of essays all about food and related topics, edited by Holly Hughes. I’ve read both 2004 and 2005, and can’t wait for 2006 to come out in December!

Here are some that I’m itching to read, but haven’t gotten a chance to dig into yet:
1. My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme. It just came out recently!
2. The Gastronomical Me, by M.L.K. Fisher. A classic. Or so I’ve heard.
…I know there are other ones sitting on my bookshelf at home, but I can’t seem to think of them right now.

I hope you enjoy the reading list- these books are partly what got me hooked on food in the first place! But, if you’re a college student dreading finals and already have enough reading as it is, I guess you’ll have to wait a few weeks. In the meantime, check out this article from Wednesday’s Times: “Salad or No, Cheap Burgers Revive McDonald’s

Have a loooovely weekend!

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