On a hectic day, I sometimes slip quietly over to Stephanie Stiavetti’s blog, TheCulinaryLife.com, a repository for all things comfort food related, to read her musings on life as she spins a recipe for corn on the cob or cassoulet. Her first book is Melt: The Art of Mac and Cheese, co-authored with the wonderful food writer and recipe developer, Garrett McCord. I’m also a fan of his popular food blog, Vanilla Garlic, which looks at how life and food intertwine. The book is a beautiful tribute to grown-up renditions of everyone’s favorite comfort food, combining artisan cheeses into dishes inspired from cuisines around the world. It’s beautiful, too, with photography by one of my favorite people, Matt Armendariz. A handful of tickets may be available for my private house party celebrating Stephanie and Garrett’s new launch. Otherwise, you can catch them at The Book Larder on Tuesday, Nov. 12. In the meantime, I asked Stephanie to provide some insight into what’s on her kitchen shelf and where she finds inspiration online. – Kathleen Flinn
Note: The authors are giving away a set of Le Creuset cookware through December 15th, 2013.
What are favorite recipes in Melt?
Oh gosh, I’d have to say it’s the Humboldt Fog, Balsamic Grilled Peaches, and Orzo Salad. SO GOOD IT HURTS.
What are some of your “go to” cookbooks, the ones you use again and again?
Anything by Nigel Slater. I adore his simple ingredient combinations that never fail on flavor. Of his books, I like Real Food best.
I have a thing for culinary textbooks, and I often say that I could give all of my cookbooks away except for my texts. My Culinary Institute of America textbooks are my most referred-to culinary books.
On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee is by far my favorite reference book. I refer to it weekly, if not more often.
The Flavor Bible by Karen and Andrew has a permanent place on my desk, where I do most of my thinking. Not a week goes by and I don’t love on it at least a little.
Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan is a constant inspiration, and her book “Baking” is my go-to book for baking recipes that make me happy without having to tinker with them.
The River Cottage Meat Book is the ultimate meat reference, and my copy has been put to thorough use. I can’t help being a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall fangirl.
All of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s baking bibles are mainstays in my library. Rose is the authority on baking, and I appreciate the exhaustive time and research she’s put into her books.
Which blogs do you visit regularly?
Good. Food. Stories: Casey Barber is a culinary genius. I’ve referred countless people to her ask-Casey column, and I appreciate her east-coast perspective on food.
Bravetart: Stella Parks is hilarious, and I love her blog almost as much as I enjoy baking itself. She’s my generational homegirl, so her pop-culture references feed my inner dorky 80s/90s kid.
Pastry Chef Online: Jenni Fields is an inspiration in so many ways. She shares the full experience of baking, including the challenges and flops. She’s fun and authentic. I trust what I read on her site.
About Stephanie Stiavetti
Stephanie Stiavetti is a freelance food writer, recipe developer, and all-around digital food media mistress residing in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in numerous outlets, such as NPR, The Huffington Post, KQED, Culinate, and Serious Eats. A die-hard tech maven, Stephanie as been blogging since before blogging was cool. You can find her online at TheCulinaryLife.com.