Me & my cookbooks – Elizabeth WinslowAugust 27, 2015 by Jane
We’re pleased to present another installment of the “Me and my cookbooks” series. Many EYB members have told us they enjoy meeting members and special guests through this feature. We’d love to introduce more people, so if you’d like to be featured, just email us at email@example.com.
EYB Member Elizabeth Winslow is a food writer, a successful entrepreneur, and a cookbook lover. A member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, she is a frequent writer for Edible Austin. Elizabeth is happiest at the farmers’ market and around the dinner table with her husband Thomas and their two children. She discusses how her love of cookbooks developed:
On the morning of my eighth birthday, I woke up to pancakes and a special present from my godmother: Many Hands Cooking, a cookbook for girls and boys produced in cooperation with UNICEF. Inside the spiral bound book were recipes from countries all over the world. I loved the colorful drawings of children from 40 different countries, and the recipes were straightforward but interesting. What I loved most, though, was the very idea that a book could be a doorway into the markets, kitchens, and dining rooms of the world, where I could connect to the culture and history of other children. Even more exciting, it must mean that we had culture and history in our kitchen as well! Suddenly the world seemed very large and delicious, and I was hooked.
As a restaurant owner and chef, culinary entrepreneur, and food writer I’m often asked where I went to culinary school. I’ve never been formally trained, but I’ve cooked with the best. I’ve learned all about Southern cooking from Edna Lewis, Julia Child has held my hand through learning the mother sauces, and I’ve traveled through Southeast Asia, India, and China with Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford. I’ve made pasta with Marcella Hazan and cooked sweetbreads with Fergus Henderson. Deborah Madison has inspired a love for seasonal cooking and David Chang has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ve been to a tiny, mountaintop French village with Roy Andries de Groot and cooked over a fire in Patagonia with Francis Mallmann. The truth is, I connect to these mentors on the page. The moment I opened the cover of Many Hands Cooking, I fell in love with cookbooks, and I turn to them again and again for instruction, for pleasure, and for the joys of losing myself in another person’s food stories.
My collection, now numbering over 400, includes comprehensive classics like The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham and Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. Vegetarian books like Feast and Vegetable Literacy share space with The River Cottage Meat Book and A Girl and Her Pig. Favorite chefs David Lebovitz, Diana Henry, and Suzanne Goin are well represented. Some of my most-loved books are as good as memoirs-I can read a Nigel Slater cookbook late into the night. Others mark chapters in my life: striking out in my first adult kitchen with The Silver Palate books, or finding my kids’ favorite banana bread recipe in The Way We Cook.
A lifetime of reading cookbooks has inspired many endeavors in food. I write a blog called Market Fresh, am a regular contributor to Edible Austin, and founded Farmhouse Delivery where I created the blog that allows our customers to stay inspired to cook locally and seasonally with their deliveries. My personal blog is Winslow + co and I just started a new business called Kitchen Underground, an online marketplace where home cooks can offer cooking classes in their own kitchens. Our Meetup group is really taking off – the event people are most excited about is a Cook the Book Potluck we hope to make into a regular event. Our first gathering will focus on Tara O’Brady’s Seven Spoons!
All of my projects are inspired by cookbooks, and I could never manage the library I’ve amassed over the years without Eat Your Books – EYB is one of my most essential tools for cooking and creativity.
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