So, despite my love for the Kindle, in addition to magazine reading being lame on it, I can't wrap my head around reading cookbooks on it. I want to touch cookbooks, pass them to my husband, possibly burn the corner of it while cooking dinner*, and gaze lovingly at them in full color.
So, I bought The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life in paperback. Which, since it doesn't have pictures, I could have bought it on the Kindle. After I read The Martha Rules and Martha talks about her ideas for Everyday Food, and how it was really critical to their success that EVERY recipe have a picture, I'm totally annoyed when cookbooks don't have pictures for each recipe. I received** Rachael Ray's Book of 10 and I'm so bored by it because it doesn't have pictures. I can't get interested in the food because I can't see it.
But I wasn't bored by The Skinnygirl Dish, and the book really spoke to me on more of a "how you should cook" level and less of a recipe level. Months after reading the book, two great tips have really stuck with me.
1) Don't be a hero. There's no reason to make, say, spaghetti sauce from scratch if you can get a good bottled sauce. Having a chef say, "Hey! Cut corners!" was refreshing after Martha-style sense of do it all from scratch.
2) Go with what you have. Recipe calls for whole milk and you only have skim? Use skim. It calls for almond extract and you only have vanilla? Use vanilla. This book really freed my mind to think about experimenting when cooking. I'm a follow the rules, make a plan type of girl, not a fly by the seat of my pants type at all. But reading this book gave me the confidence to use chocolate milk when my buttermilk was yucky when making pound cake, instead of whining about the fact that the buttermilk was yucky and then talking my husband into running to the store and gave me the great idea to add chocolate chips to a formerly healthy banana bread recipe.
And in case you didn't know, Bethenny Frankel is on the Real Housewives of New York, a terribly addictive reality show on Bravo and she was a contestant on the Martha Stewart version of the Apprentice, a show I'm still grieving that I didn't audition for (I was sick when the auditions came to Austin).
*This did happen to me. It was a small leaflet type Pampered Chef cookbook, but I managed to set the corner of it into my gas stovetop and then wonder several minutes later what the burning smell was.
**I received it, ironically enough, when I attended the Martha Stewart show. We'll talk about that soon.