Thanks for all your comments and support last week. That was a low point for me and I actually thought about deleting the personal part of the post but decided in the end to let me be me. Starting on Friday I had backup - Daddy - and we all went to Iowa where I was able to see how a holiday meal for guests can be prepared entirely from processed food. Three varieties of canned soup were involved.
Speaking of food, if you know me, you know I love food, I love cooking, and I love reading about it. The food memoir is one of my favorite genres and I'm always on the lookout for what's new.
Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
This is the story of an American Woman who has married a Frenchman and how she acclimates to France and her new family. This is one of those books that is easy and breezy to read, fun, cute at times, yet in the end sort of forgettable. It was fine, if you know what I mean. Throughout the book the author muses about her lack of clear career goals for herself, and it seemed as though someone suggested to her 'hey, food memoirs are popular, Americans in Paris stories are popular, you should write a memoir!', thus a career in writing blossomed. The food is not necessarily central to the book and there weren't any recipes that I was drawn to make. Reading over this, it seems like I'm being pretty critical of this book. It's more that I feel ambivalent about it, and you might love it whereas I thought it was okay.
The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove
Cathy Erway has taken a different direction with her food memoir. Erway was in her early 20's and living in Brooklyn when she wanted to start a blog. She came up with the idea of eating only food prepared at home - a huge anomaly in New York City - for an extended period of time. This book is based on that time and on her blog as well, though from looking at her blog my sense is that this book is not just reprinted posts, but a new way of looking at this period in time.
The Good: I found the subject matter of this book interesting and Erway's voice is appealing. She's intelligent and curious, and I appreciated how involved she became with the local food scene. She cooks both off the cuff yet still enjoys much more involved preparations and techniques.
The Not as Good: I felt old when I was reading this book! Erway's youth really shows in her lifestyle and behavior. There are several instances that involve heavy drinking and getting 'wasted'. She writes about the trials and tribulations of dating. Erway sometimes finds herself in situations in which she was perhaps over-extended. Dinner parties where dinner was not served until 10pm. Preparing food for hundreds of people yet not testing your recipes or picking up ingredients until the morning of. It's crazy, but I was actually getting stressed out reading these accounts.
Overall, this was a fun and good read, but I'm left wondering if I'm not the target audience for this book. (And folks, I'm under 40.) There were a couple recipes I've flagged to try and I was curious enough about Erway to check out her blog.
P.S. Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway - see below!