Published: 2010 by Gotham Books
Source: Purchased (e-book)
Reading Challenge: 2012 Wishlist Challenge
When I first saw the title of this book, I was immediately intrigued. I expected a book about learning to cook and weaning oneself off of the convenience of restaurants and takeout food. What I did not expect was what this book turned out to be: the life of a foodie in New York who just happens to do most of her own cooking.
Ok, Ms Erway does forego eating in restaurants in New York City for two years (making exceptions when she visits her family in New Jersey), but she does eat out a lot; especially when she gets involved in underground supper clubs and various cooking challenges in the city. This is where I find the subtitle of the book misleading; where at the beginning she does appear to be saving money (enough to get her own apartment after splitting up with her boyfriend), but once she takes on these extra-curricular activities and cooking so much food for crowds I cannot believe that she was still spending less on her home-cooking project than if she ate at a restaurant once or twice a week.
That leads me to the second problem I had with the book. The subtitle led me to believe that the focus of her not eating out was to save money, but only when she talks about the need to find a new apartment is this brought up. To me, the book seemed more focussed on the environmental benefits of not eating out (less packaging, for example), which is certainly admirable but not the reason I wanted to read the book.
And problem number three: Ms Erway is a foodie; no problem there, but the recipes she includes at the end of each chapter and her accounts of her cooking were not anything that I – an interested cook with basic ability – could relate to. Aside from one experiment where she replicated a favorite dish from a local Chinese restaurant, I felt I didn’t learn anything practical that I could use.
So this book was a disappointment for me, but if you are a foodie you will probably enjoy it much more. I suggest checking out the author’s blog, upon which this book is based, before deciding to pick it up.