The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove by Cathy Erway

Chucking the habit of eating out is rough.  It’s way too easy to get takeout on the way home or go out to lunch on a workday.  And this is Greensboro.  Just imagine living in New York City, which has every variety of ethnic, haute cuisine, and get-it-on-the-go food to think about,  and where people living there almost consider you daft in the head for cooking your own meals. 

This is the world of Cathy Erway, young professional and foodie at heart, who loves a challenge and is burned out with her eating choices.  She decides to go for two years without eating out and blog about it.  This is the basis for The Art of Eating In.

Along her two-year tenure, Erway hones an already adventurous cooking spirit, endures a series of culinary highs and lows, and acquaints herself with various NYC food subcultures via cook offs, dinner parties, clandestine supper clubs, and foraging tours, not to mention dumpster diving.  In the process, Erway does a lot of soul-searching in her quest to determine whether cooking at home truly is more nutritious, earth-friendly, and cheaper.  And the recipes – did I mention recipes?  Erway does wonders with exotic ingredients and kitchen standbys alike, taking on the mundane and the strange. 

I started this book expecting a kind of Julie & Julia knockoff and was pleasantly surprised to find much more.  True, I didn’t find this book to be as funny as J & J, but I learned a heck of a lot and now am honestly trying to cook at home more.  Instead of having Julia Child as her muse, Erway looks toward family and friends for inspiration.  A strong practice of cooking from her parents is an inspiration, it seems (particularly from her mom’s Chinese side of the family and her father’s penchant for pie baking), besides having friends who are supportive, although occasionally quizzical, of the author’s self-imposed boycott of restaurants.  Does her new lifestyle put a crimp on her social life?  Not hardly.

The author still writes her blog, which can be found at noteatingoutinny.com/.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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