It has taken me MONTHS to read the first chapter of Rebecca Spang’s book, The Invention of the Modern Restaurant. With it’s heavy academic language and long paragraphs, I’m still not done. It was one of the readings suggested to me in grad school for gastronomy.
But while reading The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway (who is a food blogger turned professional writer), I had the entire chapter summarized for me in a neat, understandable paragraph. Reading that explanation was like an epiphany, and this is what first drew me into the book–that someone who did not study food at an academic institution could clue me in as to what the hell Spang was talking about it.
Mind you, this does nothing to explain the actual subject of Erway’s book, which is about giving up restaurant eating and cooking in more, but it’s a true story nonetheless.
More about this awesome book and my bread, after the jump.
I originally started reading Erway’s book to take my mind off of work, or lack thereof. Since I had to take so much time off early on in my pregnancy for being sick, my jobs fell to the wayside, and a few months later, it is taking time to get them back together. As someone who loves to stay busy, this is driving me CRAZY, and making the work I do have to do that much more difficult to concentrate on.
I picked up Erway’s book for a departure from all the stress…and was thrown back into the world of food that I loved and had forgotten. Erway’s book details two years of her life as a food blogger who quits eating out while living in New York City. And while at first her book read a lot like the Julie/Julia book (in that it was about a 20 something in New York who was falling in love with cooking and blogging and included recipes), but thankfully (because I hated the Julie/Julia book), that is where the comparisons end.
Erway manages to really focus her life on food, and in many different and out-of-the-box ways than simply cooking at home. She learned how to forage plants. She took butchery classes. She attended cookoffs with other home cooks. She attended and cooked at underground dinner parties. She even went on a freegan tour, dumpster diving for thrown-away food. She attacks the topic of eating out alternatives from so many angles, it really kept my interest and made me want to read more. Hell, it made me want to DO some of those things!
The book even inspired me to do a little baking, making my own version Erway’s potato, Parmesan and black pepper no-knead bread. It’s a great recipe (seriously, SO easy), but more than that, I enjoyed that the book featured yet another back story of a food blogger, and explained why she did what she does. Food blogs are still a relatively new phenomenon, and each blogger is as different as can be. It’s awesome to delve into their world and understand it more, especially from a researcher’s perspective like mine.
In conclusion–check out this book. One of the best I have read in a while.