survival strategies

Hg_book_coverI have every cookbook ever sold. Or so Phil tells me every time I inch my way through our door with a new one. "What’s in the bag?" he asks, "And can you still return it?" Cookbooks impart a great sense of comfort to my otherwise unruly life. They soothe my nerves and make me feel as if any task in my life, any worry, can all be annihilated by whipping up a tray of this or a pan of that. Comfort food, indeed. Mind you, I don’t even need to compose the dish or blend the drink to feel better. Just knowing that I’d know exactly how to go about assembling a lemon crostada is salve enough.

Our kitchen is chockablock with everything from Nigel Slater, Alfred Portale, and Charlie Trotter, to Chef Interrupted and Barefoot Contessa, to Canyon Ranch and The French Culinary Institute’s Salute to Healthy Cooking. Having them around makes my house feel like a home. Oh, but I do admit, I feel the same way about art supplies and a loaded pantry. It’s not that I plan to make anything with five boxes of cake mix, but to open the cabinet and see the boxes there, all aligned and waiting for the day when I’ll be the type to bake, makes me feel like I’ve got my shit together.

Today a book comes out that I’m over the moon about–HUNGRY GIRL: RECIPES AND SURVIVAL STRATEGIES FOR GUILT-FREE EATING IN THE REAL WORLD. Lisa Lillien has managed to take her insanely popular free daily email and create the definitive recipe book.  Her Frozen Margarita is my fave. I only wish I were in New York for her book signing at Borders in Columbus Circle tonight, Tuesday, at 7pm (same place I’ll be reading from MOOSE on June 4th) and meet Hungry Girl. She’s someone I call friend, as will you once you meet her.



  1. I love her fake margaritas. My fiance makes them all the time. You can make fake mojitos the same way. Her onion rings are good too.

  2. Something about this post reminds me very much of those full page "articles" about coin collecting that are sometimes in newspapers, the ones that are actually ads for non US Treasury minted products.

  3. I went to college with Lisa and think her site is interesting, but people should really be wary of the insane amounts of sugar subsitute she advocates. That stuff is all chemcial and the amount she endorses in her recipes is alarming.

  4. I agree with jackson. All that artificial crap is bad, packaged mixes etc. You are a good cook, you can do better than that! It's going into your body. (& your families.)Sorry to sound bossy, that's usually not my way.

    FROM SK: I would say everything in moderation. I am not averse to eating "the real thing" by any means. It's obviously about striking a balance. I happen to love the tofu noodles! I eat them in my homemade tomato sauce with fresh basil and add spots of fresh ricotta cheese.

  5. I have to comment about those tofu noodles. I tried them and they didn't taste too bad going down, but left the most horrible taste in my mouth for hours. Yuck!

  6. I've lost 47 lbs. over the last 18 months or so – and Hungry Girl is right there with me. I found her through Jenny Craig.

    Some of us don't have the luxury of being able to eat real sugar and butter – I swear, if I look a Krispy Kreme in the eye, I gain 5 lbs. Not 1/2 lb….5. Or 6.

    I come from a fat family – and it's a struggle every day to not balloon back up to plump. So I live for splenda, it's a gift from the sugary gods. The other friends I've met through this journey are eggplant, jicama, cauliflower, mushrooms and sugar free jello. Who knew?!

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE Hungry Girl! In fact, she mentioned you and linked to your blog in one of her emails awhile back, which is how I found your blog. Yay for HG!

  8. Question- I'm a woman with small hands and I'm starting a cooking class. So, what do you recommend for a knife?

    6" or 8" chef's knife?

    Global, Wustoff, or Shun?

    What do you use?

  9. A comment on sugar substitutes– although Splenda is not recognized by our bodies and therefore not absorbed by our bodies, it has some affect on binding with a chemical in our bodies– and I wish I knew off the top of my head what it was– so it's not as if it's completely harmless.

    I use Stevia in my smoothies. It's available at GNC and natural food grocery store. However, it hasn't been studied much and has a chemical structure similar to a steroid, so it's not recommended during pregnancy.

    An LA friend just told me about pure blue agave last week. She bought it at Trader Joe's. It's 70 calories per tablespoon (a little higher than sucrose although everything I've read says it has 20% few calories than sucrose), but since it's so sweet, you don't use much of it.

    Unlike sugar, it's quite low (a 27) on the glycemic index, which means it's released slowly into the bloodstream and doesn't make your blood sugar skyrocket. Read the lable though; there are a few agaves that don't list their ingrediants. They're not pure and their fillers drive up their numbers on the glycemic index.

  10. You wrote about HG in a posting and ever since I have been obsessed! Thanks so much! I'm going to Boarders tonight so I'll send her your love.


  11. I tried the tofu noodles about three years ago and just couldn't get past the rubber-band texture. I'm willing to try them again, but now I live in an area where none of the stores stock any of the Shiritaki products. And I'm sure as crap not paying $15 for shipping. Poo.

  12. You turned me on to HG a long time ago – and between her FABULOUS tips and another site ( – if I can say that?) I have lost just over 100 pounds. I already ordered my book and just waiting for anxiously! Thanks!!!!

  13. oooh, I saw this book reviewed in People Magazine, and I wondered if it was worth checking out. Thanks for posting about it on here!

  14. I bought the book yesterday. I read a lot of the recipes, what is that tofu pasta stuff? I know you can't get that in my area, was going to look online. The pics look really good, but they sure don't look like baked tortilla chips to me! But I will let ya know how it goes!

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