An Upcoming Party and a Giveaway

August 12, 2009


This coming Saturday, my husband and I are hosting a summer party.  We have a good party house and this has been a summer to celebrate in Seattle with all of the gorgeous sunshine.  What more reason do you need to have friends over?  Clearly though, we need to pick up the yard a bit.

I’m going to do a giveaway.  It’s a first here at Dana Treat but it’s time.  You see, the other day I bought a cookbook.  No big deal, right?  It’s just that I have something of a cookbook situation on my hands here.  There are lots of them.  They are stacked everywhere.  I am usually very careful about the ones that I buy because I already have so many.  I look at them carefully, I make sure there are not lots of repeats of recipes I already have, and if a cookbook is worthy, I buy it.

This one, I bought on a whim without looking at it.  I had heard about The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook from multiple sources.  That it’s a story as well as a cookbook.  The story of two great chefs who open a restaurant in the majestic area that is Big Sur and all the wonderful people who help them along the way.  Everything I read about the book was wonderful, including lots of compliments about the recipes.  What’s not to like?  So I bought it without so much as a glance at the table of contents.

It is a truly cool cookbook.  The story is great, the photos are gorgeous, I love the profiles of the farmers, beekeepers, and employees of the restaurant.  For every one of us who has thought of opening a great restaurant in a place that you love – this is a book to have.  Here is the problem for me.  There is LOTS of meat.  Now, not every cookbook in my collection is vegetarian.  I have The Joy of Cooking, The New Basics, The Silver Palate, four of Ina Garten’s books, and many other cookbooks which feature plenty of meat recipes.  I use those books often.  This one just, well, it kind of turned me off.  There are some lovely salads and exquisite sounding desserts, but after I finished paging through it, I realized I didn’t want it anymore.

Here is where you come in.  I’d love to send this book to one of you who could use and appreciate it.  I would much rather do that than have it sit on my shelf, unopened, unloved.  I have a few books like this in my collection – books bought on a whim who now sit sadly neglected.  I plan to give a few more away before the year’s end.  And to be more careful with my book purchasing.

All you have to do is leave me a comment and tell me what your favorite cookbook is.  I will most likely replace this one’s spot on my shelf (or on the table or the floor) with one that you suggest.  US and Canada only please (with apologies to Hilary and Jacqui – two of my faithful UK readers).  Deadline to enter is party time – Saturday, August 15th at 6:30pm (PDT).

(Proof that my life really is surrounded by trucks.)


  1. We are hosting a party this weekend too. What is on your menu? Ours is a dessert party! Should be fun. I am a veggie too, I haven’t seen this cookibook, but great giveaway! I love cookbooks, I don’t know my favorite. I do really enjoy-The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, Baking From My Home to Yours, Tartine, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, and Mark Bittma’s Vegetarian cookbook. Oh the Moosewood ones too. Ok I will stop:)

    Comment by Maria — August 13, 2009 @ 12:35 am

  2. i eat meat, but not dairy/eggs/soy, and with tastes that tend to lean to the vegetarian side of things, i just happen to love food that’s vegan. i like molly kazen’s “vegetable dishes i can’t live without” and mark bittman’s “how to cook everything vegetarian”. two books on my current wish list: “super natural cooking,” “the art of simple cooking” and “the gluten-free vegan.”

    Comment by Ellen — August 13, 2009 @ 12:47 am

  3. I must admit that most of my recipes these days come from your website! I also use Epicurious quite often, and I browse a couple of other food blogs and many magazines, Sunset and Everyday Food included. That being said, we’ve been cutting back on meat substantially, and I have been using one cookbook over and over again recently…Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven. I recently made her sweet potato and chick pea koftas. They were a big hit with the boys!

    Comment by Katie — August 13, 2009 @ 12:57 am

  4. I just cracked up reading your story. I have a serious cookbook addiction. I have more than 400 on various shelves throughout our house (including the 3 I wrote).

    I picked up that very cookbook in Powell’s when we were in Portland, and just drooled over it. But I put it back down because a) it’s a heavy book and I didn’t want to lug it home. and b) how would I explain to my husband that yes, indeed, I do need another book?

    I won’t throw my hat into the ring because it really should go to someone who has more shelf space than I do.

    Good luck with your party. Leave the trucks. Work them into the theme. They’re adorable.

    Comment by Chef Gwen — August 13, 2009 @ 1:10 am

  5. Cookbooks what can I say, I love em. Have way too many and like many others, I have to be picky to make up for the lack of space. Favorites? I have my old stand bys Fannie Farmer, and also go to the Fosters Market Cookbook quite often, but I think my favorite is an Old Filipino Cookbook with many handwritten recipes that my mother gave me ages ago. I can part with all but that one in my book.

    I hope you have a great time with friends at your party this weekend.

    Comment by Vivian Boroff — August 13, 2009 @ 2:12 am

  6. Hands down, my favorite cookbook, the one I go to most often is America’s Test Kitchen
    Family Cookbook
    Revised Edition.

    Comment by Jen — August 13, 2009 @ 5:11 am

  7. My favorite is Simply Classic. Made fifteen years ago by the Junior League. SO many great recipes and dinner party menus too.

    Comment by Julie — August 13, 2009 @ 5:26 am

  8. My favorite cookbook right now is Best of Baking, which was published in 1978. It has more than 100 recipes for some really old-school desserts, most all of them European. I could flip through it every day and still not get tired. I made simple coconut macaroons from the cookbook, but there are a ton of others I’d love to try. The names of the treats alone make me drool: Aniseed Chräbeli, Viennese Vanila Crescents, Russian Mazurka, Sachertorte, Malakoff Cake, Dobostorte.

    Comment by HappyTummy — August 13, 2009 @ 10:47 am

  9. Haha that’s okay, Dana. I’m used to it! But if a small change in protocol is allowed, you could send it to my parents’ house in Ontario since I’ll be there next month to pick it up :)

    So if I’m allowed to enter on that count, my favourite sweet cookbook is In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley and my favourite savoury is, ohhhh, maybe a toss up between How to Cook Everything by Mark B. and The Complete Italian Cookery Course by Ursula Ferrigno.

    Comment by Hilary — August 13, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

  10. I just finished reading Heidi Swansons cookbook, Super Natural Cooking… which I am sure you already have :) It is all vegetarian, and I love that they are things that aren’t on her blog. I think she is great, and I love how casual her voice it. You do have a great party yard!

    Comment by Sprouted Kitchen — August 13, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

  11. Hi Dana,

    I’m in the same boat with the cookbooks, over 200 and still counting. It started way back when I was a manager for Williams-Sonoma and just got worse after Culinary School. This isn’t a completely vegetarian cookbook but one I think you’ll enjoy just the same. “Almost Meatless”, I’ve been trying to gradually eliminate some of the meat in my family’s diet and this book has been great. I can’t remember the last time I cooked my way through a book.

    P.S. Don’t include me in the contest I already have Big Sur, just wanted to recommend a new one to you :)

    Comment by Heather — August 13, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

  12. Well based on what you said about the ton of meat recipes in there I won’t enter your contest! But I would recommend Rebar (can’t remember if you have that one).

    Comment by Ashley — August 13, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

  13. Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe is my go to cookbook 80% of the time….and of course, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures. (You get credit for introducing me to that one 15 years ago). I have yet to find a “bad” recipe in either of those books.

    Comment by Kelly — August 13, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

  14. This is like picking a favorite child, if I had children! I’m going to suggest Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery because I continue to learn so much while using it. Specific, yes, but it’s been teaching me an area of cooking that was previously a mystery to me.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — August 13, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

  15. I forfeit my entry due to the typical friends and family contest exclusion, but I’m enjoying reading about everyone’s favorites! My most-used and beloved cookbook in my limited collection is still How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, and I keep meaning to try his 2007 How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Do you own that one, Dana? I would like to thumb through it some day, if so!

    Comment by Deb — August 13, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

  16. My favorite cookbook has to be the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. The recipes are easy to make and always taste delicious.

    Comment by RF — August 13, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  17. COOKING BEYONE MEASURE by Jean Johnson is my current favorite “cookbook.” Jean is a Portland, Oregon resident, writer, historian, anthropologist with a strong sense of food and “what’s what” in the food world. In this book her premise is eating well without formal recipes, designed for “people too busy to do the equivalent of a small chemistry experiment when all they want is good food.!” Jean invites people to “lighten up” and have more fun in the kitchen. Her narrative is interesting and photos great. This is the first book in a trilogy, a creative, insightful approach to food preparation. Vegetarian, includes dairy and fish. Excellent book!

    Comment by Pam Glaze — August 14, 2009 @ 4:47 am

  18. I buy way too many cookbooks too.
    Right now I am concentrating on my new favorites…..Figs on a Platter and 2 Dudes One Pan. I promised myself to cook thru the books that I already own and like (Mario Batali’s book and some of my French cookbooks).

    But my all time favorite cookbook would have to be Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques.
    All of her recipes turn out superb, and though may be difficult sometimes and very time consuming, they are worth the effort in the end.

    Comment by Stacey Snacks — August 14, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  19. Chez Panisse Vegetables because, well, what wonderful thigns can I say about Alice Waters that haven’t already been written? Plus I just plain love vegetables.

    Comment by Kat — August 14, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

  20. Lately, Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini. So many delicious, easy appetizer ideas, and I haven’t even gotten to the pastas yet!

    Comment by maggie — August 14, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  21. In the second grade my (now grown) son, said that he would like to be a vegetarian. His dad and I enthusiastically respected his decision. A vegetarian friend gave me Verdura by Viana La Place. It was a godsend and my son is still a vegetarian. She has other wonderful books as well. I am currently loving Simon Hopkinson’s Roast Chicken and Other Stories and Second Helpings of Roast Chicken. I know, I know–chicken– but there are other good recipes as well and he is soon to come out with a book called The Vegetarian Option. Do try the Hide bread recipe before you send Big Sur off!

    Comment by Lynn D. — August 14, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  22. Hi Dana,

    In all honesty, my favorite “cookbook” is all of the recipe blogs (just like yours!). If I had to pick an actual book, I really do like the annual Taste of Home or Southern Living cookbooks. I also love the Dallas Cowboy, Junior League and church/community cookbooks. Nothing like a good story with a recipe.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    Comment by Sue A. — August 14, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

  23. Must be a party weekend! We are having an al fresco dinner up river, on our property where we are growing all those crazy zucchini. Maybe we should just call it zucchini heaven! I’m thinking about starting the blueberry chutney from “Luna Cafe,” with rosemary crackers and goat brie. More to be continued…..
    I don’t have a favorite cookbook, there are too many to love. Depends on my mood. Right now, my fav is “Hali’imaile General Store.” Cookbook. It is from one of my favorite restaurants in Maui, and it has such amazing recipes in it that you don’t generally make at home. The drawback is all the recipes are so high in calories it is insane! So probably a good thing you don’t cook from it often!
    The cookbooks I used the most are all of Mollie Katzen’s. (Moosewood, etc.) She is probably my all time favorite cooks. I bet you love her too, since you aren’t a big meat eater.
    That’s my take on cookbooks for now. Might change tomorrow. Have a delicious day!

    Comment by Dana Zia — August 14, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  24. Right now, “Eating Cuban” – it has a lot of the classic recipes, but also some great updates. Even though there are plenty of meat dishes, there are plenty of vegetarian recipes as well! And Cuban food is perfect for the summer weather… I’m trying to make my way through all of the good stuff before it gets cold again! But if I had to pick a classic, it would probably have to be the original Moosewood, which someone gave to me earlier this year. Everything that comes out of that book (so far!) is delicious.

    Comment by Megalie — August 14, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  25. Ohhh. This is hard. I have a lot of magazine subscriptions and a lot of printouts from Epicurious and blogs like yours-those have become the “cookbooks” that I have been cooking from lately. I like to pick up cookbooks when I am on vacation to remind me of all the good food we had but I hardly ever make things from those. Probably the best ones are the Ina Garten books and the Junior League of Seattle Simply Classic-everything I’ve made from those is alway good. I also have this really old book called “Kindergarten Cooks”. It’s all handwritten and has simple drawings and ingredients. The recipes are for things like no-bake cookies, peanut butter playdough and frybread-I remember making all of these with my mom and sister when I was little and now I make them with my girls.

    Comment by Michael-Ann — August 15, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

  26. I love to bake bread and until last week, my favorite cookbook was LaBrea Bakery which is all about sourdough. However, I just go the Artisan Bread in 5 minutes and it is fabulous!!

    By the way………I do have place for a new cookbook!:))

    Comment by Sonia Cargile — August 15, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

  27. Favorite cookbook so far: How to Cook Everything by Bittman. I like it because it’s a great resource except that it doesn’t have colored pictures.



    Comment by Panda Foodie — August 15, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

  28. Well I am definitely a meat eater so would love to take it off your hands. Big Sur is one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous places in the country…how can a cookbook from there not be good?

    My recommendations…

    1. Everyday Mexican (Rick Bayless). Simple, delicious, lots of new flavor combinations. He has a fair amount of meat, but quite a bit of veggie too (just made swiss chard and cotija tacos the other day).

    2. Culinary Artistry (Dornenburg and Page). This is not a recipe kind of cookbook, instead it’s all about flavor pairings. It is a fabulous jumping off point to innovating in the kitchen.

    3. Ratio (Michael Ruhlman). So fun, can’t even describe it. With this book you can learn how to whip up pancakes or popovers anytime you want without a recipe.

    Happy cooking! Enjoy the sunshine.


    Comment by hungrygrrl — August 15, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

  29. Dana –

    I, too, have a cookbook issue, and I am wondering if all of this feedback is going to help or will it make the problem worse? I try to restrain myself by borrowing from the library instead of buying. My current favorite cookbook is Peter Berley’s “Fresh Food Fast”. He used to run Angelica’s in NYC, and his cookbook is full of easy beautiful vegetarian meals which are organized seasonally. As on your website, the photos in his book are good enough to eat. Enjoy!

    Comment by Lisa — August 16, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  30. […] When all’s said and done, The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook just isn’t earning its spot on my bookshelf.  In an effort to cull my cookbook collection before it takes over the flat, I’ll likely give this away to a friend or local charity shop. (Incidentally, Dana, a fellow food-bloggin’ vegetarian, also found this book too meaty and had a giveaway for her copy.) […]

    Pingback by The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook – A cookbook review blog - Kitchlit — October 30, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

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