{4 saturdays, 4 giveaways} An Everlasting Meal

Editor’s Note: On December 29th, my 36th birthday, I asked our fabulous Facebook community to get us to 1500 “likes” by January 1st. We had, I think, 11 to go. I said if we made it to 1500, we would host 4 giveaways on 4 consecutive weeks to celebrate. Did we hit 1500? Yes yes yes- within the hour of my birthday plea! How cool is that?! I’m going to be a little selfish and secretly wish to hit 2000 by the time these giveaways end on February 11th. We’re at 1586. That’s A LOT of likes. A girl can dream right?

In the meantime, let’s get back to business! I’d like to official announcement that this is giveaway 1 of 4, which will END at MIDNIGHT FRIDAY, JANUARY 20th. Our next giveaway will debut one week from today. As a matter of disclosure, all four giveaway items will be purchased by FSC. The authors or makers or distributors of giveaway items are not aware we exist. -Christina

So I’ve just recovered from the worst case of food poisoning or the stomach virus that I’ve ever had. I was without solid foods for 3 and a half days. The first 36 hours, I could barely keep ever  a glass of water down. There were moments I thought I would never recover- my own personal ‘end times‘.

IT WAS THAT BAD. Add to the mix a toddler at my pant leg.



Help. Me. Now.

Did I already mention I felt like it was my very own ‘end times’?

I’m sharing my not-so-pleasant experience because the last day, while my son was at daycare, I got to finally crack open “An Everlasing Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace” by Tamar Adler that I had bought myself before the holiDAZE. I have been wanting to read this book since I read a brief review awhile back. A home cook’s manifesto: part memoir, part instructional manual, part cookbook with an approachable, no-nonsense, simple and passionate narrative about how to not only understand some basic kitchen skills and recipes but also how to become an intuitive cook, comfortable in the kitchen with simple pantry ingredients and maybe, just maybe, take pleasure in the process.

Now, truth be told, I haven’t gotten that far into the book, as I was a little too nausea to read for long period of time, but I’ve loved what I’ve read. The passion for simple cooking and the “you can do it” tone of the book really reminds me of Mark Bittman’s writing style. And you know how much we all love Bittman here on FSC.

I finished the first chapter, How to Boil Water, and the way Ms Adler lovingly narrates the act of bringing a fresh whole chicken home from the farmers market, and how to simply prepare it for cooking, how to use all the parts of the chicken inspired me. Honestly, cooking 20 meals a week (1 meal at Chipotle a week) with a very limited “safe food list” can be a bummer. Plain & simple. It can suck the life out of me some weeks. Other weeks, I’m on fire and fine my goove and bang out some winners. Other weeks, I cry for a break (take out tonight? impossible)…but that break doesn’t come. Its a constant mirage in the distant. So I feed off the FSC community, my favorite food blogs, the food swaps, my farm job and books like The Everlasting Meal to help keep my head above water. And maybe even, get me excited to hit the kitchen running again tomorrow…

I’m excited to read the rest of the book, and I want you to read with me! I’m thinking FSC Book Club. What do you think? Wanna join?Because this book #1. I’m thinking we could discuss monthly via our Facebook page. Let me know what you think in the comments…Now, the giveaway!


  • This giveaway is for 1 hardcover copy of ‘The Everlasting Meal’ by Tamar Adler.
    The author nor the publisher is aware of this giveaway, we are purchasing the book ourselves.
  • Open to US residents only (sorry!)
  • Giveaway ends at midnight Friday, January 20th, 2012
    The winner will be announced next Saturday, January 21st at the beginning of the “giveaway #2 post.
  • We will pick the winning comment randomly via random.org.
  • All entries will be in the form of a comment BELOW. You can comment up to 2 times by doing the following:

1st comment: answer one of these questions, What was the first recipe that you ‘mastered’, that you felt comfortable making for your loved one or friends or family?  OR What about that book club idea?

2nd comment:“friend” us on Facebook or post this giveaway on your Facebook page, then comment below that you did so.

Again, ALL entries (up to two total) need to be in the form of a comment below. Other comments on other blog posts will not count towards this giveaway.



64 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy Halloran says:

    The first recipe I mastered was War Surplus Cake. I did a 4-H demo with it and can still almost bake it in my sleep. Mix cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, flour. Add oil, water, vinegar. Bake at 35O F for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean. The easiest cake ever!

  2. Kate H. says:

    The first recipe I ever did totally on my own was snickerdoodles, I’d made them in my 4-H club and tried them on my own. I think I was only 7 or 8 at the time and I was hooked ever since.

  3. Brenda King says:

    Not sure of the first recipe I ever mastered,but I think the book club is a great idea! 🙂

  4. Brenda King says:

    I friended you on Facebook! 🙂

  5. Kathryn Jones says:

    The first recipe that truly mastered was a Cheryl and Bill Jamison recipe for Enchiladas Suisas. I make it completely from scratch, using fresh farmers market chicken for the deshebrada filling, to the corn tortillas and creme fraiche…all onions and tomatillos come from the garden…the cheese I use is local, but I have my first wheel of Monterrey Jack cheese aging and plan to use in a batch in a month or two!

  6. Oh! that’s an easy one, The first recipe that I ‘mastered’, and felt comfortable making for my loved one is: Homemade marshmallows. I made them for my wife, in an attempt to impress her.

    This is the story of you want to read it 🙂

  7. Allison says:

    I’ve really mastered homemade tortillas. They’re really easy, but so much better than the ones you can buy at a store.

  8. Celia says:

    The first recipe I mastered was my parents’ beef stew. I think. (It’s the first one I remember mastering, but that was something like 20 years ago.)

  9. Celia says:

    I like you on FB. 🙂

  10. Kathryn Jones says:

    I have friended “From Scratch Club” on Facebook…

  11. Sarah Stelzl says:

    The first recipe I learned to make was Jelly Pancakes (French Pancakes that are more like crepes with jelly rolled up inside. The girl that used to babysit us made that for us all the time! It was her special recipe and I because I loved it, I learned to make it for my family 🙂

    Oh and by the way…that’s so neat that your 36th birthday was December 29th! I just turned 18 on December 29th. 🙂

  12. Jude Hawk says:

    Chicken cordon bleu! When I was a young mom, it became the birthday dinner of choice for everyone. Today, when any of my children come home, it is the one thing I have to make for them.

  13. I made roasted root veggies as my contribution for a dinner party I was hosting in my teeny tiny NYC apt back in 1994, and thus started a love of cooking for others!!

  14. eila johnson says:

    and, I “liked” you on FB too! so fun to have come across your blog. loving it!!

  15. Jude Hawk says:

    and, i “liked” you on FB too!

  16. Vanessa Vaillancourt says:

    First recipe: Caesar salad. I was so excited I made it every week for a year!

  17. Morgan says:

    First recipe I mastered – chocolate chip cookies. The unhealthiest version possible. Hey, was 12. Still requested by my aunts when they visit, but now I sneak in all sorts of good-for-you bits.

  18. juliecache says:

    Pancakes, during my junior high years. Bisquik! Totally funny to think that I haven’t bought Bisquik in years.

  19. Terri Sue says:

    i got my first cookbook when i was in the first grade. i was an early reader and already reading chapter books by Christmas. i never left my mothers side, so she got me my own cookbook. the first recipe i mastered out of it was french toast. before the end of the school year i was getting up every saturday before anyone else and making french toast for the family. of course it was made with marshmellow boughten bread as this was well over 45 years ago. i haven’t even bought a loaf of bread in years, and when i do make french toast now it is with a hearty whole grain.

  20. laura h says:

    I have liked you on FB!

  21. laura h says:

    My first ‘mastered’ recipe was a simple roast chicken with taters. 🙂

  22. Erica Brown says:

    My first recipe was chocolate chip cookies, I dont recall how old I was. I seem to always remember making them, and I still do.

  23. I mastered eggplant parmesan. First using fried eggplant and now using baked eggplant – a much healthier option 🙂

  24. Erica Brown says:

    I posted it on my fb page and liked you as well. 🙂

  25. Katie Randall says:

    The first recipe that I mastered was spaghetti with meat sauce, and to this day my red sauce is my husband’s favorite thing that I make.

  26. Katie Randall says:

    I liked and posted to my facebook page!

  27. Kris Nusskern says:

    I remember being quite proud of making chili for my family in my preteen years. I’d say that was the first meal I mastered.
    I LOVE the book club idea. I think I’m going to treat myself to this book even if I don’t win the giveaway.

  28. Kris Nusskern says:

    I shared a link to this giveaway on my facebook page.

  29. Susan Blando says:

    I became adept at boiling water a few decades ago but am always looking for inspiration in the kitchen. I’m a recipe-following kinda gal and I appreciate delicious, as close to the earth as you can get-type of cooking. I liked you way before this!!!
    Keep up the good work, glad you recovered from the “bug”.

  30. Deborah Guilfoyle says:

    I’m down for the fsc book club. Sounds fun and informative! P.s. glad you’re feeling better!

  31. Jennifer H says:

    This is amazing – hubby and I just finished a delicious goulash dinner (made almost entirely from local ingredients BTW) and as we ate I told him that GOULASH was the first meal I mastered. As the oldest daughter of a nurse who worked odd hours, goulash was the first meal I was allowed to make by myself and I was so proud to learn it. Not only could I make a dinner for my sisters but there were leftovers for Mom when she got home or woke up (night shift). Christina, FEEL BETTER!!!! Stomach/intestinal bug is the worst and I wish you steady recovery 😦

  32. Jennifer H says:

    Just shared a link of this giveaway on my FB profile!

  33. Sara says:

    The first recipe I mastered was lasagna.

  34. Erin Olson says:

    I’m not sure what the first recipe I “mastered” was – I remember creating a “Unicorn Cake” recipe with a friend when we were only around 9 or 10. I also used to make butterscotch brownies for my family all the time, it was one of my favorites since it was one-bowl, fast, easy and delicious! I still drool thinking about them, though I haven’t had them in forever!

  35. rebekah says:

    I proudly mastered buche de noel when I was in high school…..haven’t made it since, but saw a recipe the other day that got me thinking about making one again!

  36. rebekah says:

    Also have liked you on fb!

  37. Kimmer says:

    The first dish I mastered was scrimp scampi, watched it done on PBS, and my boyfriend at the time loved it, so I made it over and over again. Haven’t made it in years, no time like the present to try it again.

  38. Kimmer says:

    Shared on FB too!

  39. Mia says:

    First recipe I mastered was chocolate cake! I was 13 or 14 I think….

  40. Mia says:

    Posted on my FB page 🙂

  41. Deborah Wyatt says:

    Friended you on Facebook!!

  42. Samantha says:

    Before I learned of my gluten intolerance I was gnocchi wiz, I hope to begin making a gluten free version soon!

    1. Christina says:

      I’ve made GF sweet potato gnocchi and it was a success.. I should really post that recipe soon! It is a winner and easy.

  43. Samantha says:

    Liked you on Facebook! Thanks!

  44. Sarah E. says:

    First meal I “mastered” that I cook for special occasions was Pot Roast with veggies, rice, and homemade bread…it hits the spot every time!!

  45. Sarah E. says:

    I “like” you on Facebook now….great information!!

  46. Kizzi says:

    Hilariously, the first recipe I ever mastered was a cheese sauce from a microwave cook book. Back in the day when microwaves were a novelty my parents tried to use it for everything. It was my job to make this cheese sauce at every holiday dinner….now i dont even own a microwave!

  47. Diana says:

    The first recipe I loved to share with family was from 7th grade Home Ec class, called Buttons and Bowknots. It was a biscuit recipe, shaped into rounds (buttons) or making dough strings and tying them into a knot. After baking they were dipped into melted butter, then cinnamon and sugar. Even though this was over 30 years ago, I can vividly recall the Home Ec classroom kitchen and the teacher.

  48. Cynthia says:

    The first one was pancakes.

  49. Fawn says:

    Shared your post via facebook = )

  50. OMG I want that book, and you wouldn’t even have to ship it because I would come meet you at the ‘Toga Farmer’s Market on Saturday!!!! OMG.

    I’ve been cooking for a long time; when I was a kid, I was hyper and the instructions of the day were to deprive me of sugar. But when it came to cooking, my mom felt that learning to cook was good for me – so if I made them myself, I was allowed to eat sweets.

    The first real recipe I can remember is chocolate chip cookies. I made them so often I memorized the recipe and had it stored up there in my noggin for years. Sure, none of us got healthier from it, but BOY were we all enjoying it just the same. This was in middle school sometime.

    Another great milestone was apple pie. I was part of a farming family and you know how farmers trade seconds because it’s hard to sell them and there are so danged many? Well one day, Bowman Orchards send my dad home with what seemed like huge boxes of apples. Really they were just the size of a tomato box or a box of copy paper, but to a family that didn’t even buy apples in 5-lb. bags, it looked HUGE. Nobody else in the family seemed to be worried about wasting them (everyone was pretty busy), but it bugged the heck out of me, and my mother supported me in cooking them up.

    So she showed me where my grandmother had kept her Betty Crocker cookbook in the farmhouse kitchen before she passed away, told me to look up “apple” in the index, and off I went! I started with apple pie because it seemed like it would be difficult, but mom swore it was actually simple. I wound up making pie AND coffee cake AND applesauce AND apple bread AND anything else I could find in that index.
    That is really where my love affair with making things from scratch began. The very idea that applesauce was just apples cooked till they fell apart was completely astonishing. That was almost 20 years ago now and I’m still making things just to see how it works. Really only a few items were truly not worth it (baked beans, I’m lookin’ at YOU). Others – say, homemade yogurt – are worth every minute of effort. And this year, for the first time, I even graduated to canning my first applesauce so I could give it away at Christmastime. Those boxes of apples would have only filled an afternoon’s work for me these days!

  51. Shared you on FB, too! PS, Fawn up there is a good friend of mine, through whose post I wound up here today (though I originally know you through my Kilpatrick CSA share).

  52. Toni Lasher says:

    Hi there. I am Lillian’s Mom stepping in to take kudos for rearing a brilliant daughter who listens to her mom (sometimes) and loves cooking from scratch as much as I do.

    The first recipe I remember feeling totally comfortable came off the can of Hershey’s Cocoa. Like my daughter, I was allowed to experiment in the kitchen. Unlike my daughter I was taught by two parents who BOTH cooked. Being a choco-maniac, I was totally mad about home-made cocoa fudge. Yup. The kind you cook on the top of the stove forever. The kind that has never seen the kind of short-cuts used today; i.e. marshmallows, chocolate chips, condensed milk or canned frosting. All the ingredients are from the pantry (except for the milk and butter — from the fridge), and this requires the use of a candy thermometer (if you are lucky) or a discerning eye. Daddy is the one who clued me in to the proper definition of “soft ball” stage. So many years our family enjoyed home-made from scratch cocoa fudge. Then one year Hershey’s decided to take the recipe off the side of the can!!!! Oh no. It has taken me a long time, but I am now the proud owner of a copy of that original recipe and sooooo happy.

    I do not use recipes very often. I am a seat-of-the-pants cook who usually cooks by flavor. Usually it works pretty well, but I have learned over the years what does and does NOT go together. I also love reading recipes. Funny thing is I rarely follow a recipe without making some kind of a mental modification before I even turn on the stove.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share. I have shared to facebook, too (just like Lillian, and I am so happy to have found you. Thanks LIL.

    Love, Toni Fire Hair

  53. Toni Lasher says:

    One of my favorite things is making something from nothing. For example, I like turkey soup. I use the left over turkey carcass to make the broth for this and amaze friends and family with the huge amount of meat left on the bone after Thanksgiving has come and gone.

    I was given a turkey for Thanksgiving, which I did not use right away. Being in a small apartment with only the freezer in the fridge, I needed to get that thing out of there so I thawed and roasted it about 2 weeks ago. After dining on fresh roasted turkey, I cut the remaining meat off the bone and packaged it up into 4 ounce freezer packages; 8 light meat, 8 dark meat, and I had four left to put in the refrigerator for turkey sandwiches and turkey salad. I also prepared my turkey broth at that time and filled two loaf pans which fit perfectly into the ice compartment of my freezer. (No ice for a while, but hey, it’s January.)

    This past Monday (MLKJr Day) I made turkey soup and seafood alfredo for a luncheon with a friend of mine. She still works, so I needed to pick a day when she had the day off. The turkey soup is soooo good, made with carmelized onions, brown rice, green beans and mushrooms. This is now Thursday and my last night of eating turkey soup, but I have so enjoyed it. Yummo.

    Love, Toni Fire Hair


  54. Lindsay says:

    I don’t remember my first real recipe but I do know that my mom hardly ever cooked. She was a working mom and tried very hard but hit the grocery store every night before coming home instead of meal planning. I always told myself that I would learn to cook and that my children would grow up appreciating a home cooked meal. So when I met my husband who also shared my love of cooking I knew he was the life partner I was looking for. We have two children and have a home cooked meal 6-7 nights a week despite the fact that we both work full-time. Although not everything we cook is a success and sometimes we eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner I can tell you that the bread is freshly baked by me and the jam comes from the strawberries we picked together as a family and canned last summer.

  55. Jenna says:

    The first recipe that I really mastered and felt comfortable doing without any sort of book in front of me was sage butter ravioli. It’s actually really simple, light, and delicious, and doesn’t take much more than I usually have in the house, so it has become a staple.

    I’ve friended you all on Facebook!

  56. Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was 20, living with four student sailors in Saratoga for the first time, and I probably had the most cooking prowess of any of us. All I knew how to make were chocolate chip cookies and french toast. Oh, I also made a mean grilled cheese. Other than that we all lived almost exclusively on frozen and fast foods.

    As far as real food goes, I mastered simple marinated and baked tofu a few years later, and that was one of the first foods I went out of my way to cook for people. I loved showing skeptical people how good tofu could taste if cooked right.

  57. Stephen Piorkowski says:

    When I turnedd 20 I missed my Moms Hungarian cooking. I made Chicken Paprkas in my first small apt I lived in. It turned out great. I was so excited that I was able to master cooking the dish.

  58. Stephen Piorkowski says:

    Liked you on facebook

  59. Claire says:

    I liked you on facebook!!!

  60. Mia says:

    I posted this on my Facebook 🙂

  61. Nicolle says:

    The recipe I mastered is a sweet potato layer cake with orange cream cheese frosting. It’s my favorite (and the guests’) to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Somewhat similar to a carrot cake, it’s 1000 times better!!!

    And I’ve already been a fan of yours of FB, since I started following you here. 🙂

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