Thursday, January 13, 2011

Things I Love Thursdays

A new little series on the blog. It's not all cooking and eating around this place friends. There's also getting dressed and reading and shopping and make-up wearing and home-decorating. And here's the thing: I'm really picky about what comes into my life. From my clothes to my products to my friends (hi, friends!), I'm a maximizer.

(sidenote: It's actually not great to be a maximizer, apparently. It means you refuse to settle until you find the very best option, as opposed to being a satisficer and settling for the first option that is just good enough, so you spend a lot of time analyzing every single decision. Yep...sounds about right. Oh well, I am who I am. Hugh is also a maximizer. This makes tasks like registering for a wedding super fun. But, we did end up with a house full of the perfect versions of every single thing we wanted. So, there's that.)

All this to say, let's share the wealth. On Thursdays I'm going to post about things I love. Probably five of them. There will be a theme each week. And, I'm not going to lie, sometimes they will be food-related. But not always.

This week's theme is: Cookbooks!

This will likely be a multi-volume theme, as choosing five was like picking a favorite child. So, Cookbooks, Volume 1 in no particular order:

How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman - The name pretty much covers it. It's basically a food bible. Want to know how to perfectly boil a lobster? Cook Pad Thai? Make mayonnaise by hand? Remember at what temperature to bake your potatoes? Braise veal shanks? Check, check, check, check, and check. This is your book; it's got it all. This book makes such a huge variety of foods accessible to the home cook. Sometimes I like to try to think of an obscure food or preparation and then see if it's in the book. It is.

A Platter of Figs
, by David Tanis - Chef at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, Tanis is the master of beautiful, simple food and this book is his ode to it's importance. There is no fussy food to be found here.

Southern Boy Cooks Good Grits!
, by Jim Shirley - A hometown favorite. Jim Shirley is from Pensacola and is the Executive Chef at the beloved restaurant, Fish House. This book is full of Southern classics and new additions, the writing makes you feel like you're hearing about food from a friend, and you get the recipe for his famous Grits A Ya Ya which is worth the cost of the book.

Eat This Book, by Tyler Florence - We have three of his books and love them all, but this one wins the contest for our favorite because several of our most-loved dinners come from Eat This Book. The sections are fun, the recipes are flavor-saturated, and the photographs make you want to cook the food.

How Easy is That?, by Ina Garten - This is the newest addition to my collection and I'm already wearing it out. As hard as it is to chose, I'm pretty sure this is my favorite of her seven books. It's classic food with deep flavor and the simplest preparation. And, as they always are, this book is a beauty. Each recipe is accompanied with a gorgeous photo.

What do you think? Did I leave any must-haves off the list? What's your favorite go to?

Happy cooking, friends.


  1. These all sound amazing! I do love Rachel Ray's Book of 10. The Salmon with black beans, corn and cilantro gets regular call-backs and the Swedish Meatballs were pretty nice, too. :)

  2. Shooooot. Martha Stewart's Great Food Fast is our go-to. A really great friend gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago.

  3. Love me some Ina. And love you, friend.

  4. A new favorite: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. You would love it friend. I just learned how to stew a pepper!