Giveaways

How To Make the Most of Your Cookbook Collection (An Eat Your Books Giveaway)

Notice how English titles are printed in reverse direction from French titles. It's good for stretching your neck when browsing.

Notice how English titles are printed in reverse direction from French titles. It's good for stretching your neck when browsing.

I’m sure your cookbook shelves are just as heavily laden as mine, and if I were to ask you how often you cook from them you might look away, embarrassed, and try to change the subject. Especially if your spouse, who regularly comments on the extent of your collection, is within earshot.

It’s not that you don’t want to cook from all these books; you do. It’s just that it’s impossible to remember what’s in them, and however well built their indexes (or indices), it would be pretty cumbersome to look up “Brussels sprouts” in every single one of them when you come home from the greenmarket on a chilly but sunny Saturday morning in March.

It does seem a shame to let so much knowledge and inspiration go untapped, and here are a few ways to avoid that:

  • Sticky-tab appealing recipes, and regularly leaf through your collection to refresh your memory.
  • In each of your cookbooks, list all the recipes you want to try, with page number, on a piece of paper. Place that custom-made index in the front of the book for quick reference. (This also serves as a good decision tool to see whether you should really keep that book.)
  • Take photos of (or scan, but that’s more time-consuming) recipes you want to try, and keep the image files, renamed with the recipe title, in a dedicated folder on your computer.
  • Keep a running list of dishes you most want to try on your computer or in a notebook, referencing the cookbooks they come from.
  • Pick a different cookbook every month or so, and challenge yourself to cook X number of recipes from it (make X realistic) before moving on to the next.
  • Use the Eat Your Books service.

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Earlywood Handcrafted Utensils (+A Giveaway!)

When Brad Bernhart got in touch a few weeks ago to tell me about his Montana-based woodworking operation, I was instantly drawn to his tone and philosophy. Brad is a trained mechanical engineer who took to carving wooden utensils in his spare time, and found that people were so enthused by his innovative designs that he decided to launch his own company, Earlywood, two years ago.

As I first held the biggest spoon in my hand I felt a flutter, a thrill, unlike anything I’ve ever felt holding a kitchen utensil.

I feel a natural kinship with people who take a leap of faith and reinvent themselves, and I am also deeply drawn to beautifully crafted wooden objects, so I enthusiastically accepted Brad’s offer to send me a few of his best-sellers.

When the package arrived I disrobed the items from the tissue paper one by one, and as I first held the biggest spoon in my hand — a ladle made of jatoba wood — I felt a flutter, a thrill, unlike anything I’ve ever felt holding a kitchen utensil.

The heft of it in my palm, the simple elegance of the shape, the fine grain of the wood, all conspired to make this feel like an extraordinary object, one that is equal parts beauty and function.

Earlywood Utensils

In the selection there were also different-size sauté spatulas made of Mexican ebony, which have quickly displaced the wooden spoons I normally use; gorgeous bloodwood scrapers designed to comfortably handle the toughest jobs in your kitchen; and a set of attractive spreaders, which look like wooden butter knives and have already become a favorite to spread almond butter on my morning toast.

In addition to being smitten with the products themselves, I am also impressed with Brad’s approach: in how much detail he describes the different wood types he uses, how he’s gotten involved with a reforestation effort to help compensate for the resources he uses, how forthcoming he was when I inquired about the food-safe mineral oil he uses to finish his utensils**, and how remarkably affordable his products are.

Earlywood Utensils

And now, for the giveaway!

Continue reading »

10th Anniversary Giveaway #10: Edible Montmartre Private Food Tour

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of C&Z, I am hosting 10 giveaways throughout the month of October.

Our tenth and final giveaway prize is an Edible Montmartre Food Tour led by yours truly.

For a little while now I have been leading private food tours for small groups of food enthusiasts visiting Paris for the first or twentieth time, often creating itineraries tailored to their interests. I enjoy it tremendously.

One of my most popular tours is called Edible Montmartre: it’s a tour of my neighborhood through the lens of food, and includes visits to the best pastry shops, chocolate shops, bakeries, charcuteries, and cheese shops of the area. It’s a fun visit through one of Paris’ most typical village-like and food-rich areas. I provide stories, cultural notes, food tips from a local’s point of view — and of course, lots of delicious things to taste along the way.

For this giveaway, it will be my pleasure to invite the winner and up to three of his/her friends on this 2-hour private tour. The prize doesn’t include transportation to Paris (sadly), and it is valid through the end of 2014. If you win, we will work together to find a mutually agreeable date and time.

To participate, leave a comment below (in English or in French) telling me about the one thing you most want to see, taste, or experience in Paris, food or otherwise.

You have until Thursday, November 7, midnight Paris time to enter; I will then draw one entry randomly and announce it here. You are welcome to play regardless of your current location, as long as you intend to be in Paris sometime before the end of 2014. Please make sure you enter your email address correctly so I can contact you if you win.

Good luck!

WE GOT A WINNER!

I have drawn an entry at random using random.org (see screen capture below), and I am pleased to announce the winner is Karona, who wrote, “Since I have not been back to Paris since becoming a parent, I’d like to re-discover the city with my 2.5 year old daughter! Also for the experience of negotiating a huge city with a small child. She’d be most interested in the croissants, I imagine…”

Congratulations Karona, and thank you all for entering!

Winner

10th Anniversary Giveaway #9: Game-Changing Brownie Pan from Baker’s Edge

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of C&Z, I am hosting 10 giveaways throughout the month of October. Keep checking back for chances to win wonderful products I’ve discovered and loved over the past decade!

Our ninth giveaway prize is the game-changing brownie pan from Baker’s Edge.

It is a high-quality nonstick pan with a maze-like pattern, designed to optimize the crust-to-center ratio so you will never again have to choose between a center brownie and an edge brownie.

The sidewalls also make for better heat distribution, which ensures a more even baking. This innovative pan was invented by Matthew Griffin, a passionate entrepreneur who first had this idea in the late 1990′s, and launched it in 2006 to high acclaim. (Read more about Matt’s story.)

I’ve been a happy user of the Edge Brownie Pan for years now*, and longtime readers of C&Z may remember I first featured it when I shared my recipe for pistachio pound cake back in 2006. Matt has since added more cool products to the Baker’s Edge range, including a Better Muffin Pan I’m excited to test-drive very soon.

Brownie pan with lid

For this giveaway, Matt is offering the combo pack that includes:
- a 9″ x 12″ x 2″ Edge Brownie Pan, entirely manufactured, packaged, and warehoused in the USA,
- a nylon spatula (wooden utensils may also be used),
- a snug cover for the brownie pan (see above),
- and a clever “Edge Wedge” that turns the pan into an 8″ x 8″ baking pan (see below).

Brownie pan with wedge

To participate, leave a comment below (in English or in French) telling me about the best brownies you ever had, and what made them special — mine would have to be the Luxury Brownies and their intense chocolate flavor. And please consider following Baker’s Edge on Facebook and on Twitter!

You have until Monday, November 4, midnight Paris time to enter; I will then draw one entry randomly and announce it here. Matt has generously agreed to ship internationally, so you’re welcome to play regardless of your location; please make sure you enter your email address correctly so I can contact you if you win.

Good luck, and check back on Thursday for our very last giveaway!

WE GOT A WINNER!

I have drawn an entry at random using random.org (see screen capture below), and I am pleased to announce the winner is Margaret H., who wrote, “The best brownie in my memory will always be the first one I tried, from an old fashioned burger place called Fuddruckers, on a trip from Scotland (where I grew up) to America. I was only about 6 years old, and still remember it vividly. I’m sure it was enormous, dark, chocolatey, fudgy, squidgy in the middle and quite unlike anything I had ever tasted before.”

Congratulations Margaret, and thank you all for entering! It’s been gratifying and fascinating to hear about all of your favorites.

Brownie pan winner

* Disclosure: Matthew Griffin sent me samples of his bakeware to try, with no obligation to write about them. All opinions expressed are my own.

10th Anniversary Giveaway #8: Personalized Illustrated Stationery from Felix Doolittle

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of C&Z, I am hosting 10 giveaways throughout the month of October. Keep checking back for chances to win wonderful products I’ve discovered and loved over the past decade!

Our eighth giveaway prize is a gorgeous set of personalized illustrated stationery from Felix Doolittle, which also happens to be turning ten this year!

I have written about Felix Doolittle before, this small Massachusetts company that offers unique stationery, whimsically designed by Hong Kong-born artist Felix Fu. They use premium materials and print, cut, and package everything by hand. Theirs are stupendously well-made, high-quality items designed and sold with love, and a rare attention to detail.

For this giveaway, Loren Sklar of Felix Doolittle is offering a shockingly generous assortment (a $355 value) that includes :

- 2 sets of Personalized Recipe Cards (24 in each set, 48 total, 5 x 7″), along with a substitutions, conversions, and equivalents reference card
- 1 set of Chef Medallions (20 stickers, 1.25″ in diameter)
- 1 set of Oval Kitchen Labels (15 stickers, 2.3 x 3.3″)
- 1 set of Canning Labels (20 stickers, 2.03 x 2.85″)
- 1 very special set of not-yet-launched-to-the-public personalized bookplates for cookbooks called Culinary Arts Bookplates (2.75 x 4″, 2 each of 12 different illustrations)
- 1 set of personalized Note Cards (5 x 7″)

The winner will be able to choose the imagery from each category, except for the Recipe Cards and Culinary Arts Bookplates, which are a fixed set.

Felix Doolittle Canning Labels

To participate, leave a comment below (in English or in French) telling me about the homemade food gift you best love to make. And please consider following Felix Doolittle on Facebook and on Twitter!

You have until Thursday, October 31, midnight Paris time to enter; I will then draw one entry randomly and announce it here. Loren has generously agreed to ship internationally, so you’re welcome to play regardless of your location; please make sure you enter your email address correctly so I can contact you if you win.

Good luck! And check back on Monday for a new giveaway.

WE GOT A WINNER!

I have drawn an entry at random using random.org (see screen capture below), and I am pleased to announce the winner is the Jackie who wrote, “I love making a food basket with homemade muffins, homemade toffee, cookies, with a bottle of wine and some other goodies I think they’ll like!”

Congratulations Jackie, and thank you all for entering with such inspiring edible gift ideas!

Giveaway winner

Felix Doolittle Recipe Cards

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