Brooklyn, NY, foodie Cathy Erway turned a pretty gimmicky idea into a really cool blog: Not Eating Out in New York chronicled the 20-something’s two-year decision to consume no take-out or restaurant-made meals while living in the culinary capital of the U.S. (Though she’s loosened up her dietary restrictions, the blog still documents her home-cooking adventures, making it a great resource for recipes.)
Now she’s turned that blog into a pretty cool book. The Art of Eating In, however, is a more personal, behind-the-scenes look at Erway’s resto-free experiment, and while her storytelling can be a bit dry, she provides an awesome insider’s view of the burgeoning DIY food scene. In her effort to explore all the different ways one can not eat out in New York, Erway tried her hand at foraging (in local parks for wild herbs and berries) and even dipped into dumpster diving, going on a trash bin-tour with N.Y.C. “freegans.” She became a regular at cook-offs-first competing, then judging-and entrenched herself in the underground-supper-club scene, eventually starting her own, Hapa Kitchen. Her examination of our eating-out culture and its drawbacks-the lack of connection to our food, an insane amount of waste, a huge financial burden-will make you think twice about that Chipotle burrito you always grab for lunch. Luckily, each chapter ends with a few recipes (her baked brie with cranberry sauce was a Thanksgiving Day hit) so you can enjoy not eating out too.