Friday, July 30, 2010

Cookbook review: The Art of Eating In

Not really a cookbook (though it does have recipes!). The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove ($16.32 at Amazon) is the story of one New Yorker's two-year commitment to quit spending money on take-out and restaurants, and her blog about the same, She cooks a lot, discovers freeganism, wild foraging, underground restaurants, and cook-offs, and saves tons of money in the process. Plus she gives a shout-out to my hero Michael at A Razor, A Shiny Knife (see accounts of my adventures with ARASK here, here and here).

I could have written this book, which is one of the reasons I found it such an interesting read. Though I never swore off restaurants entirely in New York (much to my credit card's chagrin), I ate out far, far less than everyone around me. In fact, these days, eating out is a rare, much-planned event for me, requiring a significant outlay of time and capital, because I don't see the point in spending money on something I can do better myself--therefore, I'll only eat in restaurants that I'm assured will surpass my own level of cooking. Meaning, I will never spend money at McDonald's, Applebee's or Papa John's again.

So it's not impossible to completely swear off convenience food. In New York, eating out constantly is taken for granted. Witness Carrie's oven in "Sex and the City," which she used for fashion magazine storage. So if writer Cathy Erway (and I) can do it, so can you!

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