I’ve got a weakness for cookbooks and cooking memoirs.  It baffles the people who know me, because I did not inherit my grandmothers’ kitchen prowess – thus, all the Trader Joe’s meals I serve up each night I’m on cooking duty.  I’m also no foodie: while my palate can appreciate the sophisticated complexities of dishes served in NYC’s nicest restaurants, this Oklahoma girl also knows how to throw back some fried catfish and fried okra and wash it down with a Coke (and go back for seconds).

There’s something about the cookbooks and cooking memoirs that ignite the fantasy self that I uphold; they give me hope I can (one day) be the kind of woman who will reach into the cupboard and whip up a delicious and fulfilling meal that makes a person’s mouth water recalling it the next day.  For now, though, I remain a girl with a fantasy, a dream without any get-up-and-go.

I keep my fantasies alive through books that I read, and I’m excited to share the two new cooking memoirs I’ve added to my bookstand (err, “nightstand”).

APRON ANXIETY by Alyssa Shelasky is a funny and heartfelt memoir with recipes about a woman’s experience in learning to cook.  Alyssa is the crazy little sister I never had and would have surely been in lots more trouble if we’d been related.  She’s fearless and uninhibited and a few chapters into her book, I don’t want to put it down.

It was after moving from NYC to D.C. to live with her TV-chef boyfriend that Alyssa began cooking.  Surrounded by foodies and chefs, she struggled with her boyfriend’s long working hours and the fact that she didn’t fit into his world, given that she could barely make tea.  So she did something that is very much a part of our times: Alyssa embarked on a journey to master the kitchen, blogging her way through the experience on the blog she created called Apron Anxiety.  Major girl crush, I tell you!

Given that I got teary just reading the book’s description, A HOMEMADE LIFE: STORIES AND RECIPES FROM MY KITCHEN TABLE by Molly Wizenberg is surely to become one of my favorite non-fiction books.  I first heard about Molly through her food/books/what’s-on-my-mind blog Orangette, which she began shortly after her father died of cancer and she left graduate school for a career in the field of food.  This book recounts life with the kitchen at its center, illustrating the intimate connection between food and memories.

What books do you have a weakness for?


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