I did my fair share of socializing -- and eating -- over the long weekend, but most of the time, I enjoyed sunny afternoons at home with a stack of fun, new-ish books.
After having it on my must-read list for a few months, I finally got started on The United States of Arugula: How We Became a Gourmet Nation, a behind-the-scenes account of how our country became a land of foodies, by David Kamp. I've barely cracked it, but so far it's as vividly written and thoroughly reported as a good Vanity Fair story (where Kamp's a contributing editor).
On the pictures-are-worth-a-thousand-words end of the spectrum, I lusted after dishes like the seafood bara sushi and jalapeno soba in Nobu Now, a glossy coffee table tome full of photos and recipes from superstar chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. The thing usually costs $45, but I lucked out and found a clearance copy for considerably less, at Anthropologie, of all places. Score!
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And then there was one of my favorite Christmas presents, the completely hysterical I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, by comedy genius Amy Sedaris. The thing is, she's not entirely joking with this book, a wacked-out bible of entertaining do's and don'ts, recipes, and craft ideas that takes its inspiration from how-to titles and cookbooks of yore, complete with strangely tinted, vintage-looking photos. I almost had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard at some of the blurbs and pictures in here. Be sure to check out the meatloaf wreath, the "perfect party cake," and the retro-chic Amy with her bong next to a helpful list of "munchies."