Julie sent me a little cell phone photo from her Facebook network. It is a bookstore window in Brooklyn, New York, filled with cookbooks. There is our Not Your Mothers Slow Cooker Cookbook on display, in FRONT of Gourmet and The Way to Cook. We are in some hefty company and it looks like we are on the way to being a classic in its genre.
I got an email from a food friend in New York congratulating me on Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining cookbook being #1 on the AmazonKindle Top 100 List. So far it was 11 days at Numero Uno!!! before moving to the #2 slot and a total of 34 days in the Top 100. That’s in front of Palin’s Rogue, AL Gore’s new book on sustainable energy, Pride and Prejudice, and Dan Brown historical fiction. What a surprise treat for the holidays! Kindle is the technology you hold in your hands that easily goes everywhere you go and have access to anything from books to magazines and newspaper subscriptions. This is through a high-speed data network to wirelessly search, discover, and download content on the go—even internationally. Its the new commuter accessory instead of carrying a book with you. You can search and shop the Kindle Store wirelessly right from your Kindle, allowing you to click, buy, and start reading your purchases in 60 seconds, which translates that you can resource your favorite recipes and cookbooks no matter where you end up. No more excuses that you can’t help with the cooking because you don’t have your recipe! This is a taste of the future in publishing and is even in the category of conserving paper products environmentally speaking (although I love my books and rue the day anyone tries to separate me from my library). Specifically, the cookbook has entire sections on stuffings and appetizers, much less all sorts of slow cooker mains for not only the day of feasting, but the days after and weeknights too. Julie and I couldn’t be more honored you all find these books useful to cook out of and part of your home kitchen. To quote Martha Stewart’s mantra: “The most memorable meals are the ones you make at home.”
The Not Your Mother’s cookbooks are often requested for giveaways at various community fundraisers. Julie co-ordinated donating signed copies of NYMSC Recipes for Entertaining as thank-you gifts to community members who have donated cash to the nonproft Beat Within (www.beatwithin.org), a volunteer writing and art program at the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall, and a program that takes place in detention centers all over the San Francisco Bay Area. Each county program needs to raise its own funds to cover the cost of publishing. The mission is to provide incarcerated teens with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences through the medium of writing, which encourages literacy, self-reflection, critical thinking skills, non-violent expression and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Each week these kids publish their art, poems, essays and other writing in a weekly magazine that circulates all over the country and on the Web. Being writers, this is a project that resonates with us. Of course, everyone loves to get a cookbook as a gift. I tossed in a copy of NYMSC Recipes for Two as well.
I found a quote from the late Judy Rodgers, renowned chef of Zuni Cafe in San Francisco known for her really tasty home cookin’ from chicken to biscuits. It stuck with me and I want to share it here as it echoes my feelings about life and food in relation to the winter and fall holidays: “Why is this just the beginning of the eating season?” she asked. “Why isn’t this a holiday about cherishing our food, about saving it, about putting it up before winter so we don’t starve, about sharing it? Thanksgiving should be about being with people we care about, about paying attention to what we have so that we don’t waste it, so that we make more of it, so that everyone has it.” Instead of simply a holiday devoted to the preparation and eating of food with the immediate family, it moves out into our universal family so that no one goes to sleep hungry.
Here is one of our favorite appetizers from NYMSC Recipes for Entertaining. It is as comfortable as a hors d’oeuvre as it is in a big plattered pile on a potluck table. Everyone loves chicken wings. Lots of napkins, please. This is an out of hand yummy.
My Favorite Cookbooks aka Where I Go for Culinary Inspiration
I had to run and look up a recipe the other day and out came two of my favorite seasonal cookbooks from the shelf with the books I personally cook out of all the time: Thanksgiving 101 and Christmas 101 by Rick Rodgers (reissued by Morrow in 2007). Little Ricky is the author of so many books it’s unbelievable he ever gets out of the kitchen and away from the computer. The recipes are so good even he makes them for his own annual Thanksgiving feast (he sent me the menu so it was easy to recreate the green beans and carrot/Berkshire pumpkin pies recipe without asking). I have never had a recipe not work and they are tasty as heck. Of course Rick and I share alot of recipes back and forth in our books and Christmas 101 has my Sangria Jell-O Mold, which evolved during my decades catering needing a molded seasonal fresh fruit salad that would pique the palate and look good on a buffet table. Rick was a cooking teacher of the year for Bon Appetit and is Mr. Go-To for anything turkey. The books are not single subject, but cover all aspects of the meal from soup to nuts then side dishes and desserts, even drinks and leftovers–so they are relevant and versatile. Of all Rick’s books, I consider these the best of the best he has done and they are working companion volumes.