Gotham Books, a Member of Penguin Group
Illustrated by Evah Fan
In the city where dining is a sport, a gourmand swears off restaurants (even takeout!) for two years, rediscovering the economical, gastronomical joy of home cooking
Gourmand-ista Cathy Erway’s timely memoir of quitting restaurants cold turkey speaks to a new era of conscientious eating. An underpaid, twenty-something executive assistant in New York City, she was struggling to make ends meet when she decided to embark on a Walden- esque retreat from the high-priced eateries that drained her wallet. Though she was living in the nation’s culinary capital, she decided to swear off all restaurant food. The Art of Eating In chronicles the delectable results of her twenty-four-month experiment, with thirty original recipes included.
What began as a way to save money left Erway with a new appreciation for the simple pleasure of sharing a meal with friends at home, the subtleties of home-cooked flavors, and whether her ingredients were ethically grown. She also explored the anti-restaurant underground of supper clubs and cook-offs, and immersed herself in an array of alternative eating lifestyles from freeganism and dumpster-diving to picking tasty greens on a wild edible tour in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Culminating in a binge that leaves her with a foodie hangover, The Art of Eating In is a journey to savor.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I saw Ms. Erway’s book being published. I am not a follower of her blog, but I must say I was intrigued. People in New York not eatin gout? Blasphemy! However, this young twenty something has written a coming of age in New York book that is sure to please most readers.
It begins as a lark. Sitting in a bar with friends, Cathy states what she’s been pondering for a while: “I think I’m going to stop eating out”, then adds, “I may blog about it.” Her friends are astonished yet supportive on the whole, albeit she does have one person in particular that has problems with it. Read to find out who. The Art of Eating In is not your typical blogger writes blog, attracts attention online, gets book deal and then prints blog style book. Cathy actually embraces the idea of cooking at home. I had to chuckle when I read her explanation of baking bread for the first time. I think I laughed out loud at the fact that she asked a friend where one goes to purchase yeast. I was surprised at the request, however, she goes on to bake bread and do very well baking bread.
Cathy also shares her sense of adventure. She not only embraces cooking at home, but explores other way of eating away from a restaurant of prepared meals. She explores foraging, freganism, cook offs and secret suppers. You’ll enjoy her view of food from her side of the table and she just may get you thinking of doing a little less eating out in the process. Her economic evaluation of cooking or having your food prepared for you is enough to give it a try, then she adds in a few of her favorite recipes and you’re set. Try it. You just may like it too.
Peguin recommends this book for readers over 18. I think the book could have an appeal for 15+ age readers as an exploration of eating and cooking for ones-self while trying to gain independence from parents or roommates in future college years.
Disclosure: Gotham provided me with a copy of this book for review.