Serve Yourself by Joe Yonan

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Diana who was the randomly selected winner. Thank you all for entering! Stay tuned for future giveaways. 

One of the coolest speakers I had the opportunity to hear at Eat Write Retreat, the food blogger conference I attended a couple weeks ago, was Joe Yonan, the food editor of the Washington Post. He was smart, affable, laid-back, and gave great advice in his talk and one-on-one conversations. I was charmed, as were most of the other bloggers in the audience.

A few days after the trip, I opened my laptop to find an email from his book publicist, offering me the opportunity to review and giveaway a copy of his new cookbook, Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One. Having heard him mention a few of the recipes in it during the conference, I jumped on the opportunity.

The book kind of languished on my coffee table for a few days until I finally picked it up. I have to admit that I was surprised. This isn't your usual "cooking for one" type book; the majority of which, I admit, I usually find kind of depressing. This book was packed with seriously cool recipes--mini meatloaf, individual portions of mac n' cheese, homemade pizza, a whole section on tacos (complete with great instructions on how to make homemade corn tortillas). It even opens up with a selection of recipes near and dear to my heart--homemade condiments. Yes, please!

I'm not single anymore, but I was for a long time and I am acutely aware of what it's like to live alone. And even now that I'm married, my days are mostly spent alone working from home so I could definitely see myself putting together a few of these recipes for lunch or even dinner on nights when Eugene has a work event. As one who loves to entertain, I could also see multiplying some of these recipes to serve as individual portions for guests--how cute, for example, would mini meatloaves be at a dinner party?

Just like in person, Joe comes across as a really cool guy in his writing. Each chapter begins and ends with brief stories; I loved the one about how his mom sent him grocery shopping at a young age because after his parents divorced he was the only one who still had access to the heavily discounted grocery store on base. And I'm sure many of us could relate to the ups and downs of cooking for dates, which he relates with quite a bit of humor and honesty.

Though geared towards the single cook, I think there will be a little bit for everyone in here.

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