in the kitchen…

i confess. i have a new addiction, and believe me when i say that it is worse than lemon poppy pound cake. far worse than the dries van noten shoe addiction of 2001, and the obsessive collecting of virginia woolf first editions. i am utterly addicted to…COOKBOOKS.

i blame everyone. my coworker who calls me monday morning to discuss the latest nigella episode. the publicist who drops cookbooks in my mailbox with yummy notes attached, my friend who makes homemade pasta and sends me daily recipe links, and goddamn manhattan to hell for having so many stores dedicated to the fancies of food purveyors. i don’t need another whisk or food mill, or a microplane, thank you very much.

what are my current loves?

ina garten’s outrageous brownies and classic apple pie had me at yum. cooking out of her home from east hampton, i’m sometimes unnerved by all the precious blue-blooding (i’m glad she stopped saying “best of class”), but her attention to and affection for food is genuine. from mainstays like parmesean chicken to curried pasta (couscous, but i became inventive), her recipes are flawless, simple and utterly delicious. about her new book (and don’t you think for a moment that i don’t plan on harassing the nice people at crown for a copy):

This is “Barefoot Contessa” Ina Garten’s most intimate book yet, but even diehard fans are more likely to salivate over her delectable recipes than the pretty pictures of her East Hampton digs. The tempting offerings herein include breakfast; soups and sandwiches; salads; dinner specialties; vegetables; and desserts. If you still need to be convinced, sample the Smoked Salmon & Egg Salad Tartines, the Loin of Pork with Onions and Fennel, or the Summer Fruit Crostata.

i confess that i have all of nigella’s books. as a child my foray into baking was dumping a hard-boiled egg into a boxed brownie mix because i didn’t have eggs in the fridge. baking gave me vertigo with all its measurements and sifting and handling. in 2001, nigella made it simple. her show on E! made food, notably baking, an almost etherial experience. i’ve made her madiera cakes, her mousses, her pistachio cookies, her pies and her triffles and not a single failure (well…if you count that time in 2001 when i used confectioner’s sugar instead of granulated, but that’s neither here nor there). top pics: domestic goddess & her latest, feast.

i’m a very visual person, so when cookbooks have thin paper and few 4-color spreads, i go limp. last night, after delving into On Top of Spaghetti…: Macaroni, Linguine, Penne, and Pasta of Every Kind, i made a serious exception. i am a pasta fiend. i shook my fists at that sorrowful atkins revolution, ordered plates of pasta when other girls were shuffling their salad about their plates and bemoaned the anti-carb cry. i adore pasta. it’s a staple in my diet and i have no shame in saying that i eat it at least 2-3x per week. so this book was a godsend and i’ve been paging through it carefully, taking notes in the margins, excited about all the dishes i’ll soon create. Can you ever have enough recipes for preparing pasta? The combinations are infinite, and On Top of Spaghetti offers pages of recipes with sauces for macaroni, linguine, penne and just about every other shape and style of pasta you care to eat. From baked pasta like lasagna to stuffed pasta such as tortellini, with sauces that incorporate meat, vegetables, poultry, seafood, legumes, cheese, and well, just about anything you can put on top of your spaghetti, this book has it all.

ah, then there’s the new one: braised. a single-serving cookbook that my friend millwhistle acquired, and many, many others. oh! when is there time for a pavlova??!

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