The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove
By Cathy Erway
Gotham Books, 2010. 320 pgs. Nonfiction
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.
I loved this book. Not only did she investigate what it would be like to abstain from restaurant meals, take-out, and fast food, she also delved into other eye-opening food experiences, such as foraging for edible plants in central park, checking out the underground New York supper club scene, competing in local cook-offs, and she even investigates the "freegan" lifestyle - searching for perfectly edible food that has been thrown out (while it seems extreme, the impressions that she came away with were very interesting). But the real heart and soul of the book was the journey that her life took during this time and how it was shaped by her eating habits. Each chapter is also finished with a few of the recipes that spiced up her story. As someone with similar goals and interests, I loved reading about what she learned.