Winner, Another Giveaway, and Answers

May 18, 2011

Winner!  Thank you to those who entered to win the Guy Fieri cookbook!  I always love reading about your favorite cookbooks and will answer your questions a bit later in this post.  First, today’s winner is comment #19 – Meredyth, who wanted to know if I do any microwave cooking.  Truthfully, Meredyth, I only use my microwave to re-heat things.  I am sure there are cookbooks out there that feature microwave cooking!  Email me so I can get your address.

Now onto giveaway #2.

This book also came directly from the publisher.  When they emailed me asking if I wanted a copy, I couldn’t type “yes” quickly enough.  I love Patricia Wells.  I have her Provence, Paris, and Vegetable Harvest book and use and adore all three.  She falls into that elite category of totally trustworthy cookbook authors.  Her recipes are simple and bursting with flavor.  She truly lives by that motto of use the very best ingredients, don’t tinker with them too much, and you will have perfection.  So why am I giving this book away?  Surprisingly, for a salad book, there is very little non-meat here.  Normally that would be fine because the vegetarian recipes look lovely.  But they also look fairly similar to recipes from her other books.  In other words, I don’t need it and I probably won’t use it.  Would you?

In my last post, I talked about pedestrian tastes.  What is your guilty pleasure?  Tell me in the comments and I will pick a winner on Monday.

Now for answers.  Delia wondered if I watch any cooking or food related shows.  I watch Top Chef but not Top Chef Masters (I just can’t get into it) and I did watch the dessert one and cringed throughout the entire thing.  I used to watch a fair number of people on the Food Network but the only person I can stand anymore is Ina.

Charlotte wants to know what meals I make for my boys.  Promise no judgment here, people – all right?  There are a lot of cheese and bean quesadillas in our house.  Noodles with butter and Parmesan cheese and soy meatballs.  Tofu and rice.  Bean and cheese burritos.  Mac and cheese (no judging!).  Soba noodles with tofu.  English muffin pizza.  They love edamame so we have those often.  My little vegetarians are not bit vegetable eaters, but they love fruit.  I remember my pediatrician saying that ideally they eat both veggies and fruit but one or the other is fine too.  So they have to have fruit at every meal.  They will also eat carrots with hummus and sometimes snap peas.  Or celery with peanut butter and raisins.  Graham will really eat just about anything while Spencer is much pickier.

Melinda wondered if I ever cook Indian food.  I can guarantee you that as soon as Randy reads this, he will call/email/text me asking, “Why don’t you make Indian food anymore?”  I used to make it a lot.  I have three amazing Indian cookbooks, all from restaurants in London, and both Randy and I LOVE Indian food.  I have no explanation as to why I have made more Indian food.  Time to fix that.

Ange wondered how long I have been a vegetarian and when/how I decided.  It has been a long time since I told this story – I think I had about 3 readers last time I wrote about it – so here goes.  The short version.  When I was 16, I was on this three month bike trip in France.  We rode in five different regions and had homestays in each region.  In Corsica, about mid-way through the trip, my friend Jen (she of the yoga retreats who I talk about all the time) and I ended up in the same house with a very crazy Corsican family.  Lots of yelling and fighting.  It was a little terrifying actually.  The last night we were there, they made us a special feast including pâté.  I took one look at it and knew there was no way I could eat it.  How to get away with this and not be rude?  I told them I was vegetarian.  And then, I realized that I really was.  I had no desire to eat meat, even as a child I only ate it because my mom told me to.  I liked hamburgers but I could easily give those up and I liked fish so I would just keep eating that.  So, I stopped eating red meat and white meat at 16.  For Jen’s 21st birthday, I took her out for dinner and I ordered salmon.  I finished it and thought, “I think I’m done with fish too.”  And I was.  So, no meat since 16 and no fish since 20.

Lori wanted to know what yeast I use for bread baking.  I just use commercial yeast – the type that is in the packets.  I use rapid rise if a recipe calls for it but otherwise I use active dry.

Midori (hi Midori!) wanted to know what spice I use for a little extra sumpin’ sumpin’ in my cooking.  The spice I use most often for sure is cumin.  It features prominently in most of my favorite cuisines – Indian (see above), Mexican, Thai, North African, Middle Eastern.  But for a little boost, I will often add a pinch of red pepper flakes – not enough to be spicy, just enough to be interesting.

Thanks for playing!


  1. I would love to win this cookbook. And I have so many guilty pleasures I don’t know where to start – cheese whiz on celery, hot buttered toast, peanut butter on anything, baked potato with ranch dressing, rice with cheese….cheese/carbs so bad. Thanks for answering the question about kid food. No judging here – my boy lives on whole wheat toast and peanut butter and the odd carrot or cucumber slice and lots of yogurt and fruit. I’ll try some of your suggestions.

    Comment by Charlotte — May 19, 2011 @ 5:45 am

  2. I own only one cookbook so having another would double my collection! Guilty pleasure: dunking a spoonful of peanut butter into a bowl of granola and eating it off. and then double, triple, etc. dipping. Delicious.

    Comment by jeanne — May 19, 2011 @ 6:46 am

  3. Ooh, what a neat sounding cookbook. Thanks for putting on the contest :)

    On a separate note, I have two guilty pleasures: eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (I know this has already been said, but hey! peanut butter is that delicious) and tortilla chips. I’ll dip chips in almost anything, or eat my weight in them plain, but one thing is certain — quality or not, the bag will be destroyed if I’m around.

    Comment by Ashley - Freshly Vegetarian — May 19, 2011 @ 6:57 am

  4. The cookbook looks lovely… and timely! Hmmm… guilty pleasures… microwave popcorn with a handful of chocolate chips or m&ms mixed in. And about once a year my usually-healthy self stops to get a fish sandwich from McDonald’s (the food my teenage self thought was healthy!).

    Comment by Bridget — May 19, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  5. My guilty pleasures are potato chips (really thick and salty) dipped in cream cheese. I have no idea where my mother got the idea, but I’ve been eating them that way since I was a kid. Also, when I feel like something sweet, I melt dark chocolate, swirl in a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, and dip pretzels into the bowl. The last “pedestrian” treat I can’t resist are Newman’s oreos crushed and mixed into coffee ice cream… delish!

    Comment by Liza — May 19, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  6. My favorite guilty pleasure (yes, there is more than one) are the Cadbury Mini Eggs- the ones with the hard shell and the milk chocolate center. I can always justify indulging- they only come around once a year!

    Comment by Kate — May 19, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

  7. My guilty pleasure: homemade croutons. Take any kind of white, artisanal bread, cut into smallish squares, tossed with scandalous amounts of olive oil, pepper and salt, and toast in oven. Eat in copious amounts when under stress. Something about the crunch.

    Comment by Su T — May 19, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  8. The cookbook looks gorgeous. Here’s what I love, especially watching a football game, that I wouldn’t tell just anyone….cheese in a jar! I know gross! But give me some of that warmed up with a bowl of chips and a cold beer….heaven! After all I am a country girl….sort of…. Thanks Dana!

    Comment by Ginger — May 19, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  9. Guilty pleasure=Morning Bun from Cafe Bernard’s. Fortunately, and unfortunately, this is one block from my home in Basalt (Colorado), AND you may only buy one per customer!

    Comment by Amanda — May 19, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  10. ohhhh i would love this cookbook.
    my guilty pleasure is eeekkkk….. homemade mayonaise. gross, maybe? but i could gain 1 million lbs off of it. i love it

    Comment by bebe — May 19, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  11. Guilty pleasure: mac and cheese and ice cream, especially Ben and Jerry’s Mint Cookie ice cream.

    This looks like an interesting book. My family is usually not big salad eaters but I think that may be because we really can’t seem to do anything interesting with them. This would probably help. I am definitely a cookbook cook, even with a salad!

    Comment by Kate — May 19, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  12. Where to start with the guilty pleasures. Hmmm…

    The first one has to be Kraft mac and cheese. This has been at the top of the list for a long time now. Just ask my mom. When I was in first grade she was looking at the craft projects we made which were titled “My favorite thing my mommy makes for me is…” She recalls some of the answers from my classmates like: spheghetti and meatballs, soup, lasagna, etc. Then she found mine. “My favorite thing my mommmy makes for me is KRAFT macaroni and cheese”. Needless to say she never heard the end of it from my aunts!!

    My other guilty pleasure is chocolate…anything chocolate!

    Comment by Erica — May 19, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  13. I allow myself one double shot espresso in the morning. Every now and then I have another at lunch. I love the sharp, yet smooth taste of really hot espresso. No sugar – just pure coffee. That is my ridiculous guilty pleasure.

    Comment by Jenny — May 19, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

  14. Yellow cake with chocolate icing, from a box and a tub, respectively. I have it every year on my birthday and get to eat as much as I want until it’s gone!

    Comment by Annie — May 19, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  15. What a great concept for a cookbook–I love salads and like so many meals I get stuck in ruts and books like this help get out of those ruts! :)

    Comment by See Nikki Cook — May 19, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  16. My guilty pleasure is cake, especially a good pineapple upside-down cake! When I was younger I never really cared for sweets, but now I crave cake all the time. I really love the texture of moist, spongy cake and I can do without any frosting, which is usually too sweet for my taste. I also love a PB and chocolate milkshake on a hot day or gelato.

    Comment by melinda ke — May 19, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  17. I always think of salads as a meal, but my husband doesn’t usually agree! I’m having Greek salad tonight.

    My favorite way to consume a guilty pleasure and what is also labeled a pedestrian taste is to have a grilled cheese sandwich. When I was growing up we had a tiny skillet that would just hold a sandwich, so grilled cheese reminds me of growing up! I just wish I knew what happened to that skillet.

    To make fancy grilled cheese, I’d use a bigger pan and cook onions to add inside the sandwich. I would cook the sandwich open faced to easily add the onion and then close up the two halves with the yummy onion inside. Leave the sandwich whole or cut on an angle.

    I sometimes put catsup mixed with black pepper on my plate and dipped the sandwich into the catsup every few bites. YUM! Have a pickle on the side and I’m in heaven. Add wave cut potato chips to the plate and I’m even happier.

    Did I really say I was making a healthy Greek salad and not a carbo and fat loaded grilled cheese sandwich tonight???

    Comment by Yafa — May 20, 2011 @ 12:09 am

  18. Mac and cheese in the blue box has got to be my guilty pleasure, and has been since I was about 10. I think I used to eat it at least once a week. When my husband is out of town, that’s probably the first thing I go to the store to get.

    We love salads as meals, especially after a gluttonous weekend. They always make me feel so happy and healthy!

    Comment by Rachel — May 20, 2011 @ 1:56 am

  19. Ok – maybe not totally pedestrian but… Bagel Chips and Red Wine. Developed a taste for it in an apartment in Fremont and still love it.
    Started taking salads to work this week for the first time and am loving it.

    Comment by Katie — May 20, 2011 @ 4:08 am

  20. @Yafa – Love your post…it made me laugh out loud! I always think of salad as a meal too! Dang, your description of your savory pedestrian indulgence made my mouth water.

    Comment by Midori — May 20, 2011 @ 5:49 am

  21. warm bread, freshly made, dripping with real butter. Yummy!!!

    Comment by Beth R — May 20, 2011 @ 11:02 am

  22. I do not wish to enter the giveaway since I already have a copy of Salad as a Meal and I wish I could send it back – pre-ordered in excitement because I usually love Patricia Wells’ work and was sorely disappointed by the lack of new vegetarian options.

    However, I would love, LOVE to know the name of the “three amazing Indian cookbooks” you mentioned in your post. Please? I will also share my current favorite: Denis Cotter’s For the Love of Food. I just made his super refreshing Vermicelli & Cabbage Salad with Almond-Coconut Dressing and Coriander-Radish Salsa. Lovely. I believe you would really enjoy this book, Dana!

    Comment by Yannik — May 20, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  23. White Cheddar natural cheetos, worst discovery ive ever made ;)

    Comment by Sara — May 20, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  24. reading cookbooks in the bathtub with a glass of wine.

    Comment by toni — May 20, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

  25. Guilty pleasure is melted nutella over good vanilla ice cream. Thanks for rattling the cookbook. Looks great!

    Comment by Becky — May 21, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  26. Guilty pleasure??? only one? anything salty.. especially Chips! If I had to choose one kind in particular it would be “honey BBQ”. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Comment by Suzanne — May 22, 2011 @ 10:27 am

  27. My pedestrian food pleasure, I am ashamed to admit, is Mac and CHeese. Yes the boxed stuff. Shock full of – pardon me – Velveeta

    Oh, my – if you don’t ban me from the comments now, I’ll be safe forever!

    Comment by SallyBR — May 22, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

  28. I love peanut butter, especially on Triscuits but I will eat it by the spoonful sometimes.

    Comment by Florida — May 23, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  29. oh lord, hands down my guilty pleasure is white cake with white frosting and coconut on top… like those frozen sara lee cakes! total sugar shock within seconds of bite one, but oh so delicious! please pick my name for this salad cookbook to save me from such treats :)

    Comment by christine — May 24, 2011 @ 2:55 am

  30. I know the contest is over but feel compelled to share anyhow. I’ve been vegetarian for more than 20 years now, with the only exception being when I attend a Major League Baseball game, where I… enjoy is the wrong word, consume? a hot dog or three with a $10 beer. What can I say, I am a vegetarian not a communist.

    Comment by Ryan — May 25, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

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