A Piece of My Day

A Piece of Saturday, 16 October 2010…

Posted on: Saturday, 16 October 2010



The lights of an evening...


Tonight, Hubby S and I attended a launch party for a new cook book: The Essential New York Times Cook Book, by Amanda Hesser. This party was held at a local farm, the Rain Lily Farm – a facility at which Hubby has done electrical work – and also the home base for the landscaping and design company which did landscaping work at our home.

Hubby S heard about this event on one of our local radio stations and came home last weekend, asking if I was interested in going. At the time, I was still in the throes of allergies woes (hey – that rhymes!) and so the idea of spending two hours out-of-doors – even at a lovely local farm eating lovely local food – seemed a bit daunting. Ever-hopeful, I went ahead and got the tickets. It sounded interesting to me!

I wasn’t sure what to expect. We had several conversations about clothing. We ended up settling on the tried-and-true sentiment of this town which is: “It’s Austin – someone’ll be in a cocktail dress, and someone’ll be in jeans.” Turns out – we were right (more the latter).

Now, I’d heard lots about the farm but had never been there myself. Turns out it’s not far from our home (as the crow flies) and it really is this little piece of farmland in the midst of urban life. By the time we arrived, lots of people were already there. We sampled some lovely local tea and gazed longingly at the food tables. We stopped to buy the cook book and have Ms. Hesser sign it for us. We stood in a long line which formed faster than I’ve ever seen a line form, and then we balanced small plates in our hands, which quickly filled with the many dishes made from recipes in the book (brilliant!).

The party was picnic-style, so we had brought chairs and, upon arriving, we had claimed a bit of earth. We balanced the plates as we ate under the beautiful lights (see photo) which were strung between the big trees on the property. It was a lovely fall evening – not too warm, and not too cool. There was a band singing fun music and the whole scene had the feel of community fun.

Now, I need another cook book like I need another hole in my head. However, because I knew I’d get swept up in the oh-the-author’s-here-to-sign-it hubbub, I decided to research the book a bit ahead of time to see if it was something I might actually use. In spite of the other cook books on my shelves, I know this is one I will use.

Here’s why:

  • It has some truly phenomenal recipes. Example: Pumpkin, Sage, Chestnut, and Bacon Risotto. OK – confession time: I am a HUGE fan of risotto. This recipe is hands down one of the best risottos I have ever tasted, and I tasted it after it had been sitting out on a food table for however long. I can’t imagine how glorious it will be heated up, fresh off the stove top.
  • Ms. Hesser has added lovely stories or background info to each recipe, to make them more meaningful. Some are more historical in nature and some are about contemporary chefs.
  • Equally intriguing to me are the time lines she has added to the beginning of each chapter so we can learn, for instance, about the history of cookies and candies at the beginning of chapter 15.
  • The recipes (at least the ones I’ve perused thus far – the book is over 800 pages of recipes) are approachable for the most part.

Fitting this book onto my cook book shelves is going to take an act of God – or maybe just getting rid of some of the cooking magazines which are still there (sigh). But I won’t even get to that point anytime soon, because I know this is a book I will be reading and savoring for a while – finding recipes to try out here and there. I even know that I want to make the sage biscuits for Thanksgiving. Yum.

Peace be upon your night,



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