Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery Cookbook: I went through a serious sad gir phase two years ago where I would take the subway to Columbus Square and eat Bouchon baked goods at the Time Warner Center. By myself. Every week. I thought it was pretty sad at the time, but now I’m thinking that was a pretty great way to spend my weekend days. Could be worse than eating a cupcake and watching people rush by with fancy bags and coats
Shibori-Style Tablecloth DIY: We crafted this beautiful dyed tablecloth in the Shibori style using a canvas dropcloth and standard black Rit Dye. First, we folded the tablecloth zig-zag style lengthwise and then again, widthwise, bunching the whole thing together with several rubber bands. Following the directions with the dye packet, we then dyed the entire cloth. The process is quite simple, but the results are beautiful!
All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray (Chronicle Books). For one year, the author (a producer at National Public Radio’s program All Things Considered) brought in a cake to work every Monday, and this book is the result. It is a fantastically entertaining book. The recipes are a mix between previously published recipes, and the author’s own (bequeathed by friends and family, or tweaked and ‘co-opted’ for personal use from other sources), so of course they have been tested and retested. What I love about the book is the author’s voice, the way the instructions are written, the stories, all of the written text. What I do not like about the book– you need a 10″ tube pan to make the majority of the recipes, or you need shortening. If you live in a place where it’s difficult to find either (especially the latter), you’re out of luck. Comb the internet to find a shortening alternative. If you can get over those two things (I’m still smarting), then this book is a winner. There’s even a chapter on non-cakes (cookies etc)!
I started small, blending veggies into smoothies. Then I started to create healthy versions of my favorite comfort foods and wrote everything down. Eventually, I had a binder full of recipes that I thought I should share with others, so I started YumUniverse.com. Then I started sharing resources that could be downloaded by anyone, anywhere. I wrote a book, I’m finishing a second cookbook, YumUniverse: Pantry to Plate, and I’m launching my first 4-week gluten-free baking course in early 2017.
I felt very alone way back when I started eating more clean, whole foods, but I knew there were others out there in the same boat. A journey is always better shared with friends, and I had a binder full of recipes, so starting YumUniverse was my way of connecting with like-minded people, creating more win-win situations, and doing something other than designing for clients. I needed to create something my way, without compromise, share it, and see where it would take me.
Spending my time with someone who works in cookbook writing and testing has made me look at books in a whole new way. My own experience with books made me appreciate the hard work that goes into the organization, but to see first-hand how much testing and skill goes into each recipe makes me have a whole new level of respect for cookbook authors. We’ve been so fortunate to see some gorgeous books come across our desk at work lately, so I thought I’d share some of my personal favorites that I plan to be cooking from over the holiday break. I tend to lean heavily on sweets, so many of these are dessert books (not sure if I should apologize or celebrate that fact) which I hope will still work for everyone. If not, we’ve got an in-depth post coming up tomorrow about a great new recipe book that celebrates the savory as much as the sweet. Happy cooking!
I decided that I wanted to go to “a city” when I received my degree in graphic design at a university in West Virginia. My senior year, I went to Chicago for a wedding, fell in love with it, and when I returned to school, got to work contacting the most respected design firms in Chicago. Eventually, I landed a 3-day-a-week contract gig for 3 months at a small boutique firm. I sold my truck, packed up my kitties, and used 80% of what was in my bank account to rent a small apartment in Chicago. From that point forward, momentum snowballed and over the course of 16 years, I was able to work for many of the firms I’d long admired.
Few things make me happier than good things happening to good people. And if anyone ever deserved to be a raging success, it’s Cheryl and Griff Day from Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia. Let’s put it this way: When I decided to get married in Savannah, the very first call I made was to Cheryl. Before anything else was booked or signed, I’d already begged her to make my cake (thankfully she obliged, and it was amazing). I’ve been enjoying Cheryl and Griff’s delicious food and baked goods since my first trip to Savannah and have been honored to share their friendship over the years, as well. They are quite simply great people making great food that comes straight from the heart. So I’m overjoyed to share and celebrate the debut of their very first cookbook, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook (Artisan Books), on p today.
One of those firms in particular was my ultimate, but infamous for culturally being “a sweatshop.” I spent years working until 11pm, sometimes 2am, under tremendous pressure on incredible projects. That schedule plus poor eating habits eventually caught up with me. Simply, I got sick.
“The idea for the magazine Kinfolk,” Nathan Williams writes in his introduction to The Kinfolk Table, “was born in the course of trying to describe those evenings spent with friends when the hours pass effortlessly, conversation flows naturally, cooking is participatory, and the evening ends with a satisfying sense of accomplishment.” We’ve been huge fans of Kinfolk ever since its inception—not just because of its stunning imagery and down-to-earth writing, but because of this laid back, communal philosophy towards entertaining. Throughout the pages of Kinfolk magazine, it is apparent that the lifestyle being espoused is not one of lofty, exclusive soirees, but of calm, familial gatherings, one where easiness and enjoyment are key. The Kinfolk Table, the cookbook that accompanies Williams’ quarterly lifestyle journal, seems the natural extension of this entertaining philosophy. Within its pages, numerous cooks, artisans, and craftspeople share their own recipes for delicious food and beautifully simple gatherings—a warm antidote to overly-fussy and antiquated ideas of entertaining.