Cooking

Homeward Bound

Cathy Erway makes an art of the home-cooked meal
Amazon

The pattern has already revealed itself: A would-be food writer starts a blog with a hook and transcends an unappealing office job and an unsatisfying love life in a whirlwind culinary communion with the powers that be (butter, sugar, flour and farmers' markets).

To be sure, Cathy Erway's memoir, The Art of Eating In, fits this mold. The Brooklynite swore off eating out--in one of the most restaurant-obsessed cities in the world--for roughly two years, chronicling her exploits in her blog, Not Eating Out in New York, which she mined for the book.

Her story is peppered with hilarious anecdotes--a matchmaking dinner party gone awry (the only saving grace was her knockout braised beef cheeks with butternut-squash puree--click here for the recipe)--and intentionally induced hangovers in the name of science (yes, Mexican menudo will cure what ails you).

But, more importantly, the book serves as a first-hand documentation of a paradigm shift currently taking place.

Through her premise, Erway found herself on the forefront of certain eating philosophies--foraging, freeganism, underground dinner clubs, cook-offs, DIY butchering and canning--that have since taken New York by storm. The result is a comprehensive glimpse into our city's food zeitgeist and a reminder that not eating out is, perhaps, more gift than gimmick.

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