Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Giveaway: Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn

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Here's a great phone call to get from a cookbook publicist at work in the middle of a ho-hum afternoon: "Our afternoon plans got scrambled, and we've got some free time. Do you have an hour to meet Lucinda?"

In this case, "Lucinda" is Lucinda Scala Quinn, the head food guru at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and author of the new cookbook Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys. And yes, I did have time - as did Kate (@Savour, who writes the lovely blog Savour Fare) and Hilary (@HilaryCable, who pens the LA Baking Examiner column). And fortunately, the three of us work in the same building. So down we went to our local Starbucks, where we sat outside for an hour of girl talk about Mad Hungry with Lucinda on a breezy afternoon.

Mad Hungry grabbed me right away, because, as you may know, I live with one very hungry husband and two very hungry young boys, and feeding them is mostly my job (to be sure, a job I truly enjoy). I had all kinds of questions. Is it true what they say about the bottomless pit of the teenage boy stomach? (Yes.) Do yours eat vegetables? (Yes.) Even salad? (Yes, and in fact, there's an essay in the book about how to get boys to eat salads. The trick, apparently, is keeping pre-washed greens on hand at all times, and we're talking crisp manly greens like romaine, not soft delicate greens like mache.)

One bit of advice Lucinda offers in the book - which I happen to think is brilliant - is to use what boys eat outside the house as inspiration for what you cook at home. Those greasy bacon-egg-and-cheese-on-a-bagel sandwiches you find at every New York corner deli? When one of her three sons started eating those daily, Lucinda started cooking them up at home, minus the extra grease, of course (p. 20). When another came from a vegan friend's house raving about soup, she called the other mom to find out what kind of vegan soup could have her son in such raptures and added it to the family menu (lentil, p. 87). I guess that means I'll be trying to reproduce chocolate old-fashioned donuts and sushi soon - oh, wait, I know how to make sushi!

There are, of course, rules to feeding men and boys. Here are some of Lucinda's:
  • Learn to understand the urgency of boy hunger. There's no "I'll get something later." When they're hungry, they need food NOW.
  • Lucinda doesn't buy much in the way of clothes, jewelry or cars: She spends her money on quality ingredients for her family. 
  • That said, she doesn't serve lamb chops when the whole crew is home. It's just too expensive. She'll wait until there's a night with just her and one boy, and then the lamb chops come out. For the big crowd (that's her, husband, three boys ages 15, 18 and 22, and usually three friends), she sticks to longer-cooking but less dear cuts of meat.
  • Lucinda is a two-vegetable-per-meal woman. They'll eat at least one, she says, and eventually they'll learn to eat both. Just keep putting it in front of them, and eventually it will go in. But learn how to cook vegetables so they appeal: No one likes mushy steamed cauliflower, she points out, but if you slice it thinly, toss it with olive oil and salt, and roast it at 400 degrees until it's brown and crispy on the edges, watch how quickly it disappears.
  • Always make at least two cups of rice. You can put anything over rice in the morning, and they'll eat it. Fried eggs on rice is a favorite.
  • Her family has beans and rice once a week. They'll eat a vegetarian meal, but they do prefer their beans laced with a little bacon.
  • Speaking of bacon: Never run out.
So now that you know how Lucinda feeds her family, aren't you dying for a copy of this book? Well, you can have a chance to win a signed one just by leaving a comment on this post. In the comment, tell us one tip you use for feeding your family or friends - we've all got good ideas to share! To get an extra entry, tweet about this giveaway, then come back and leave another comment with a link to the tweet (you can get a standalone link to a particular tweet by clicking the datestamp under the tweet when it appears in your list). I'll pick a winner at 5pmPT on Monday November 23, 2009.

Let me tell you, I am feeling generous today, because I really really want to keep this cookbook for myself! But no...my blog friends come first....

Good luck!


The Diva on a Diet said...

What a happy surprise for you and a great recommendation for your readers! And such great tips too ... the whole post is great, Erika!

My most important tip is to cook once and eat twice. I make double portions of everything thing, so I can turn the leftovers into other meals. I

That said, I'm only feeding myself and my husband here ... so, I'm going to exempt myself from the give-away. This wonderful resource should go to someone who's feeding more hungry mouths than I am! :)

I just wanted to pop in and tell you how much I enjoyed the post. :)

Santa Clara Baking Examiner said...

Erika, I love the vicarious pleasure of reading about your food adventures. You've been having a lot of fun lately!

Hilary Cable said...

This adventure was one of the many wonderful days since I started working in the magical building. Thank you for inviting me!

Kate @ Savour Fare said...

Even though I have only a husband and a toddler who eats like a bird to feed, I really love the book and Lucinda was wonderfully down to earth. Thanks for inviting me!

Gaby said...

wish I could have come - it sounds like fun!

Rita Anne Smith said...

Hello Erika:
This sounds like a great book, especially for a husband who is not the biggest fan of left overs, and a little girl whose favorite food changes from minute to minute. Thanks for sharing your food journey with us.
Rita Anne

Kelly said...

I too have 2 boys 18 & 20 and until they left for college, I never knew how many would be there for dinner. Having cooked hamburger, & chicken in the freezer was always a life saver for me. Would love a copy of the book, because I know with christmas break coming up and them being home, I'll have a full table again (and I'll love every minute of it!!!).

Laura said...

3 boys I totally NEED this book, although many of her methods are already employed in my kitchen. Wish we spent more time at foodbuzz together :( next year is already on the way!

Erika Kerekes said...

And the winner is...Gaby from What's Gaby Cooking! Thanks to everyone who entered, and to my mom for choosing the random winning number.

Guess we need to make a lunch date, Gaby, so I can hand over the book. After Thanksgiving. And you might have to rip it out of my hands. I finished reading it last night, and it's got about a hundred recipes I want to try. You'll just have to check them out first.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Popping in to wish you and your family a delicious and Happy Thanksgiving, Erika!

Congrats to Gaby too!

Erika Kerekes said...

Thanks, Diva, and a happy turkey to you too!

Actually, my mom and I abandoned the rest of the family and are in Las Vegas for the long weekend - no gambling for us, but beautiful restaurants with good food, shows, and walking the Strip - doesn't that sound like an excellent weekend? Will report back.

Cshine said...

Heard about this book on NPR -- sounds like a must have for our household. We watched a turkey disappear over thanksgiving like some kind of weird mirage. My "little" boys are becoming full time vacuum cleaners of food!

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