This is the week of firsts. First, there was The First Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner, which was so much fun to say nothing of absolutely delicious (and guess who got to keep leftovers?). Now, my good friend Kim, whose blog bookstorepeople is smart, interesting and informative (do yourself a favor and spend some time there), just turned me on to the Book Giveaway Carnival at bookroomreviews. I think it’s such a great community-building idea, and I’m always aiming to create a community, in my case a close-knit group of recipe sharers. (As you know, I divide people into two categories: recipe sharers and recipe hoarders.) Plus, cookbooks are in short supply there. In fact, when I looked through the list I didn’t see a single one! Let’s turn those bookies onto something new!
So: I am going to give away one copy of The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider, chef/award-winning cookbook writer/syndicated newspaper columnist/contributor to Public Radio’s The Splendid Table. It’s one of my favorites since it really gets at the heart of thinking about cooking, not just following a recipe. I loved this book so much I excerpted it in a magazine I made for a client! As Schneider says, creative cooks forage for ideas as they do for great ingredients. She actually manages to teach you the improvisational mind-set, as well as what goes with what, ingenious approaches to dealing with the unexpected…in effect, how to be a Top Chef. For each delicious dish, she provides the recipe, then follows with an “Understanding” section that explains its logic; from there she explores the creative possibilities. For example, Risotto with Dry Sherry and Lemon so naturally morphs into Warm Dessert Risotto with Bay Leaf and Vanilla, Crispy Panfried Risotto Cakes, Farro Risotto with Red Wine and Rosemary, and Lobster Paella. Why didn’t you think of that? Well, now you will! Or: A new look at Warm Fresh Cherries with Vanilla Ice Cream and Balsamic Caramel can turn so easily into an Impromptu Jam or Free-Form Fruit Tart in a Bowl. A few pages in, and you just can’t stop your brain from working overtime!
Schneider made her mark with A New Way to Cook and has a new book coming out…now: The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper. I read a lot about it on Chowhound boards—fans can hardly wait to get their hands on it! I have not seen it yet, but I can’t imagine it’s not as compelling as The Improvisational Cook—she’s good!
If you’d like to enter, and you live in the U.S. or Canada, please leave a comment and include your email address. You have until noon, PST, Sunday, March 8, and I’ll let the winner know as soon as I know. If the winner doesn’t respond within 36 hours, I’ll go to the next name drawn. Good luck!
Oh, and I’m going to start posting recipes from The First Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner next—they’re all ready to go….