Friday, January 15, 2010

Mad Hungry? Win a copy!

Edited 1/19/10: The contest for Mad Hungry is now over. Thanks for entering!
Hi Knitters,
My publisher, Artisan Books, produces all sorts of beautiful, dreamy books that cover a multitude of topics. Mainly, they publish the most fantastic cookbooks by the world's most acclaimed top chefs. Every once in a while my editor, Trent Duffy, will kindly send me one of their new cookbooks. It is so fun to get a book unexpectedly on your door step. Well, this fall Trent sent me a copy of Mad Hungry, Feeding Men & Boys. I get to see a lot of cookbooks. I buy a lot of cookbooks. This one is IT! I am a family-size huge meal type cooker. This book calls my name loud and clear. Everything about Mad Hungry speaks to me. I absolutely have fallen madly in love, crazy head over heels in love with this book.
This is what happens to books I take a liking to, a post-it note attack. I start placing post-its to mark favorite pages so they stick out at the top of the book. Once I get too many on top, I then move to having the post-its sticking out on the side. The side sticker outers become the top of the list recipes. I have carried Mad Hungry around the house with me everywhere I go. I can't put it down.

The entire feel of the book is enticing. The cover is matte with a linen-y grainy feel, very old-school. The paper inside has a matte finish, the pages open flat and stay open, a wonderful feature. Everything about the book feels so good and warm and welcoming. The photography is delicious and appealing and simple and beautiful. Mikkel Vang showcases the food in a pure and simple light. Plus, I love the photos of Lucinda's husband and boys.

I can't get over how much I love the look and feel of Mad Hungry. It is different and cleverly constructed in the best way possible. Artisan Books and Lucinda Scala Quinn have created a piece of edible art with down-home accessibility. Congratulations.
Lucinda Scala Quinn (her blog is here and it is great!) has quite a resume. She is the Executive Food Director for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, a cohost of PBS's Everyday Food, has a satellite radio show called EatDrink and is married and has three boys. She knows of what she speaks. She is on Martha Stewart, the show, on occasion and I have seen a couple of her segments and she is wonderful to watch. When I first saw the book I wasn't sure what the expression Mad Hungry meant which is funny because I live with a mad hungry family every single day. There has been some discussion in a couple of reviews about the singling out of men and boys as the target for the cooking in the book and how it is stereotypical. But not for me! I totally get the concept of Mad Hungry and I wholeheartedly agree. I live with two hungry, starving boys and my hungry husband who is 6 feet 5 inches tall. All of the men in my life are athletes, constantly on the move and they live to eat. We all love to cook and eat. There isn't a day that goes by where someone doesn't ask me, "What's for dinner?" Usually it is early in the day when I get asked this.

Here is a blurb from Lucinda's introduction that struck home with me (p. XI):
"What's for dinner?" is the most important, most burning question. Food is everything to them and food is nothing until there is none. And, if they're "mad hungry" with no food in sight, life is a living hell." The title, mad hungry, is about that moment when someone can't wait another minute to eat, where control is lost and hunger has completely taken over their being. I get that. Lucinda goes on to say how completely satisfying cooking and feeding the loved ones in our lives is. Food is intertwined with family memories at our house and Lucinda clearly lives that way, too.

To tell you a relevant story, my 16-year-old son is always starving, beyond starving, and it becomes painful for him (and at times, me). Yesterday he drove home (yes, he just got his license) after morning swim practice and before first hour class started. He called ahead and asked me to get 4 slices of wheat toast, slathered in butter and strawberry preserves, ready for him so he could grab it and go. He is "mad hungry" ALL of the time. He came in and downed 2 granola bars, a yogurt, a banana, 2 big glasses of orange juice and the 4 slices of toast. Before he left he gave me a list of foods he needs for his "food locker" at school. Yes, the swimmers each have a designated food locker. He then thanked me and jumped back in the car and drove off to school. That's my life.

Back to the book, Mad Hungry has theories, recommended tools, tips, ideas and mainly fresh, simple, authentic recipes. The recipes use ingredients that you most likely already have in your house. That's my favorite part. It is so doable and real. Mad Hungry is for everyday moms and cooks and for men and women and families. Everyone is included in this family cookbook.

The food chapters cover breakfast, lunch, dinner and down-home desserts (my favorite chapter). The other night I made Lucinda's Chicken Parmesan (the Queen of Chicken returns!) and it was delicious. The recipe even calls for 3 pounds of chicken which is what I make for an average dinner. Most recipes call for 1 pound of chicken and I always have to double or triple recipes. This was all set for someone just like me with a hungry family to feed. I knew this book was meant for me. Lucinda even uses things like canned tomatoes, love that. Don't let the association with Martha Stewart and her complexity scare you away. These are everyday ingredients that you find at any local grocery shop. It's real life stuff.

Here are some things on my list to make:
Golden Granola. I have some nut allergies and I love granola but often nuts are mixed into store-bought versions. I can't wait to make my own toasty sweet granola.
I am a coffee cake kind of girl and when it is laced with chocolate? It's over. I am making Aunt Patty's Coffee Cake this weekend. Can't wait. Yummy hot coffee and Aunt Patty? Here I come this Sunday.
Tomato, avocado and basil? I'm sold. Onions, too? Heaven on earth. Doesn't that look fresh and good? The variety in the book is never-ending and it's all so easy and achievable. Lucinda has done an excellent job.
The dessert chapter is to die for: strawberry rhubarb pie, apple crisp, one-pan busy day chocolate cake (Lucinda gets it!), banana bread (a staple at my house), chocolate pudding, rice pudding (I am a fool for rice pudding), cookies and bars. The gorgeous photo above is for no-bake peanut butter rice krispie bars. Rice Krispies? Always and forever!

What I am most excited to tell you is that you have an opportunity to win a copy of Mad Hungry! I love this book so much that I asked Trent at Artisan if I could host a giveaway for my blog readers and he said yes. I think you all will love this book as much as I do. I want you to have this cookbook!

Leave a comment on this post to win a copy of Mad Hungry. I will randomly pick a winner in a couple of days. Please only enter one time to keep things fair and square. Leave an identifying something or other along with your comment, name, location, link or ravelry name or something. If you are selected you will need to email me to give me your mailing address so please check back to see if you win!

Good luck!!
For a brief change of topic and a quick reminder, last year I designed a couple of Valentine quick knits that make perfect gifts for the season. The first is the Sweetheart Washcloth Pattern which is so fast and simple and fun! Click here to find out more about the Sweetheart Washcloth.

The washcloth along with a lovely bar of soap and a ribbon instantly makes the perfect Valentine gift for moms, grandmas, friends, teachers, babies, kids...
The other quick knit is the Sweetheart Hat pattern. I made this one out of Sugar-n-Cream cotton which you can get for a buck or two at a craft store. Any worsted weight yarn will work. Click here to find out about the Sweetheart Hat pattern.

One last Valentine's Day quick knit is the Heart on a String hat pattern which is FREE on Spud says! I just posted this pattern a couple of days ago and I don't want you to miss out. The Ravelry link for Heart on a String is here.

Okay, have a good weekend, dear friends! I hope you get to knit in between your busy-ness.
best, susie
p.s. Oh my goodness, my publicist Chrissa Yee just emailed me the link for a review of Itty-Bitty Toys and the free pattern release of the Panda and Zebra puppets from the book on CutOut + Keep! Fun! I hope it's a good review, I haven't even read it yet:) Read along with me.