welcoming 2011 and saying thank you

I’ve wracked my brain for the last week trying to come up with a meaningful end-of-2010 or welcome-to-2011 post. I thought about doing a wrap-up of my most popular ten posts for 2010, but I didn’t feel it was the right time for that. My blog’s anniversary is coming up in February, so I thought I might save that kind of thing for then. I’m much more interested in reading about other’s top lists of the past year. [If you want a really great wrap-up of favorite food blog posts of 2010, check out this post on kitchen Mage.]

Last night at our New Year’s Eve dinner, I was inspired by one of my very best friends on what to do for today’s post. Truthfully, she always inspires me, and I’m so thankful to have her as a friend. Plus, she’s going to be a famous novelist one day, and I’m really looking forward to the day when I can say, “I knew her when…”

2010 was the year that I found that the passion for food, food writing, and food photography is embedded deep in my soul. That creativity had to come out, and it did, in the form of this blog. I love being in my kitchen, with my camera nearby at all times, making food for those that I care about most. I love that I can share it here with all of you. And mostly, I love that all of you care to read about it. You, friends, have been my inspiration and a part of my life for the past year.

And I want to thank YOU for that. As a teensy token of my thanks, I want to do a giveaway of one of my favorite cookbooks of this past year. And here they are:

Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller.

The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg.

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef by Shauna and Dan Ahern, the amazing couple behind this blog.

Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser, one of the co-founders of Food52.

This giveaway is the least I can do to thank you all for your loyalty and readership over this past year. I am so happy you’re with me on this journey, and I plan to make 2011 an even better year for myself and this little blog of mine. Happy New Year!

Here are the details of the giveaway: Please leave me a comment below – just one comment per person, please – telling me which of these books you’d love to own. I’d also love to hear about your favorite cookbooks or food lit books of the past year or of all time, so please share! On Saturday, January 8th, I’ll use Random.Org to select one winner from all of the comments. I’m paying for the book, and I’ll pay for the shipping — to the USA or Canada only. And again, thank you!

***Update on January 8, 2011***

I loved reading all of these comments. It was a struggle for me not to reply back to some of them, but I didn’t want to mess up the comment count by adding my own in there. Again, thank you all for sharing this journey with me.

And, now, for the winner, as chosen by the random number generator:

Comment number 44 happens to be this one:

Congratulations, Jackie! I’m thrilled to be sending you the cookbook.

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80 Responses to “welcoming 2011 and saying thank you”

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    Lisa — January 1, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    What a great giveaway! All of those books look great. I think I would like the NYT cookbook 🙂 Happy New Year!

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    Brian @ A Thought For Food — January 1, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

    It has been such a pleasure getting to know you this past year and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2011!

    My favorite cookbook from 2010 was Flour by Joanne Chang. But Ad Hoc is definitely a great one too.

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    Gail — January 1, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    What a selection! They’re all such incredibly passionate works. If I had to choose one, I guess it might be Ad Hoc, as it’s the one I’d least likely buy for myself.

    Thank you, MJ, for your generosity at the beginning of what is promising to be an exciting new year. Getting to know you through Twitter and your blog has been one of the joys of this past year.

    Happy New Year, sweet friend!
    xo

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    Acey — January 1, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    After eating at Bouchon in Las Vegas, I’d definitely go for Keller’s book. Plus, there’s a pig on the cover…can’t go wrong with that!

    I have to admit, my favorite cookbook on the shelf is Giada’s Everyday Italian…I even get beyond the pictures, on occasion (love the Carbonara!).

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    Liz the Chef — January 1, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    Thanks, Merry, but I have each and every one of these terrific books – great minds think alike! Happy New Year X0 Liz

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    kimbly — January 1, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    I would have to pick Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller – but every book you have listed is a winner!

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    Paul Ting — January 1, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    I already own Keller’s book, even though I’ll never cook like that. Next on my list, and the book I definitely want if I win, is Amanda Hesser’s book – The Essential NYT cookbook. I’ve been eyeing it for a while and it has received GREAT press. Please, please, please!!!

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    suzy — January 1, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    I’d love to have DG’s new cookbook!
    Happy new year!

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    kitchen Minions — January 1, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    I would also have to pick Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller… My second choice would be Around my french table… Awesome book choices!

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    Susan Gayle — January 1, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    What a generous gift. My partner lived in France for 5 years and I spent some time there with him last Fall. I’d love to have Dorie’s book, “Around My French Table” to help us recreate some of our favorite parts, the food.

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    JulieD — January 1, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    Happy New Year to you! I would Dorie’s book. My favorite book this year has been The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2010.

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    Bill — January 1, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

    Well, I already own and love Dorie Greenspan’s and Amanda Hesser’s books; the butchering guide cover on the Keller book is too intriguing to pass up, so I would opt for that.

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    Tracy — January 1, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

    What a nice way to start the new year! I think I’d choose Around My French Table, which I’ve cooked from and enjoyed. Happy New Year!

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    autumn — January 1, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    happy new year to you! i’d love “around my french table.” i’ve heard such good things about it.

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    Bunkycooks — January 1, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    What a great giveaway! 🙂 I would love to own the Ad Hoc cookbook. I do not have that one. Looking forward to meeting you THIS month! Happy New Year!

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    shirley — January 1, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

    I love to read your blog. I would probably pick the NYT cookbook. I usually use southern living cookbooks or one from a local church Treasured Traditions by Madison Street United Methodist Church.

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    Leigh — January 1, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

    Wow, I can’t imagine that I’ve ever said or done anything very inspiring around you, MJ. Normally don’t we just giggle about ridiculous things our kids have done and talk about traveling? And occasionally drink too much? 😉 I’m so thankful for your friendship in 2010 and before, and I know that 2011 will be great year for you too!! (And, I’d totally dig the Keller book. It has a PIG on the cover. How can you go wrong?)

    With much love, Leigh.

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    chefpandita — January 1, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

    Happy New Year!! What a great selection of books. If I had to pick one, it would be The NYT’s cookbook. One book that impressed me was Bon Appetit’s Desserts; it’s huge and full of recipes and information. Joanne Chang’s Flour is an amazing book too. Every recipe I’ve tried has been successful and delicious.

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    Tenley — January 1, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    The Ad Hoc cookbook would be fabulous. I just became a fan about a month ago. Already made your chorizo stuffed, bacon wrapped dates and your pampelmousse cocktails. Thanks for your blog.

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    Babs — January 1, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    I’ve just discovered you on Twitter, so your NYT cookbook would be my pick. Good luck to me!

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    Jessica F — January 1, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

    Happy New Year!

    I would love to crack open my very own copy of the Essential New York Times Cook Book. One I’ve been delighted with in the past is Baking: From My Home to Yours. While it isn’t a ‘cook’ book, it is amazing!

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    Carrie — January 1, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    Ohhh, just found your site and love it! I would love to have Thomas Keller’s book…

    I can’t just pick one favorite cookbook – it’s too hard! I love Donna Hay’s cookbooks – simple, fresh, delicious food. And such beautiful photographs and great entertaining/decorating ideas!

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    Cynthia — January 1, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    Happy New Year. I would love ” Around My French Table”.

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    Aubrey — January 1, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    I’d love the New York Times Cookbook!

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    delia — January 1, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    I would love to own the NYT cookbook. I just discovered your blog this past week on my holiday downtime and am really enjoying your posts! Happy new year!

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    Jayne — January 1, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    Your blog is a delight! While I’m struggling to start my own, yours is one that inspires me. I love the look of Dorie Greenspans book!

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    Candace — January 1, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

    ooooh! I love this! Congrats on your near-anniversary! And Happy New Year!
    The Flavor Bible, I think, is what my cookbook collection is missing. That little addition would be a great way to spice up 2011!
    And my favorite cookbook of all time has to be The Lady and Sons cookbooks–never-fail, good ‘ole southern cooking at its best. Not the most creative, or interesting, but it never fails to be great…and isn’t that what we really want in a cookbook?
    Candace

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    Corrine — January 1, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    Great website! I would love Around My French Table. 🙂

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    Jenniferk — January 1, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    Nice giveaway! I’ve had my eye on gluten-free girl & the chef… Would love to have it!

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    Alicia — January 1, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

    I would have to say Around My French Table I have been wanting to get this one for awhile:)

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    Karen — January 1, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

    Brilliant and generous giveaway! I would love to own Ad Hoc at home…….Keller has been such an inspired influence in the past decade for American cooking and cuisine…on so many levels. I appreciate him bringing his restaurant genius into the home kitchen with this book.

    I treasure Marcella Hazan, EVERY book and EVERY recipe, i.e:

    Marcella Hazan’s CRAZY Tomato Sauce:
    1) You don’t chop the onion. You cut it in half and throw it into the pot.

    (2) You don’t use olive oil, you use butter.

    (3) You don’t use garlic.

    Happy 2011 everyone!

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    Jackie G. — January 1, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    How nice of you! I would love Amanda Hesser’s New York Times Cookbook. The cookbook that I have been enjoying from last year is Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. I really enjoy her writing style. Beside having great recipes, it is a very good read.

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    Lisa — January 1, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

    I’d love to get Gluten Free Girl and The Chef!

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    Liren — January 1, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    Happy New Year, MJ! 2010 will always be memorable for me as my introduction to the blogging world introduced me to such lovely people like you. I can’t wait to see what 2011 will bring! Love the idea of this giveaway – I would really enjoy The Flavor Bible 🙂

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    I heart giveaways.

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    C&C Cakery — January 1, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

    My husband and I were looking at the flavour bible the other day, and we knew we had to have that book. It would make our lives so much easier (and flavourful!)

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    Jackie Watson — January 1, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

    I just found your site & I’m going to like it! I would love to have the NY Times Cookbook! All of them look good though.

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    Shea Goldstein — January 1, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    Happy New Year!! What a great giveaway~ I would love to own “The Flavor Bible”. What an amazing asset to have in the kitchen for us foodies. You have a great blog 🙂

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    Great giveaway! I would choose the The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Wishing you all the best for 2011 and happy blogging.

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    Mac — January 1, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    It’s so like you to be so sweet! This is a very nice giveaway – thank you!
    I’m not sure which book I’d choose if I won. I think I’d need to ponder that a bit more.
    But I can tell you there are 5 new cookbooks sitting on my shelf, and two of them I adore! They changed my approach to baking and cooking: 1) Desserts 4 Today & 2) Poor Girl Gourmet. Love them both.

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    stacy — January 1, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

    First – thank you for all your inspiration and wonderful recipes! Here’s to a great 2011!

    ~ I’d love either Ad Hoc or The Flavor Bible, those have been on my wish list for awhile! Thank you!

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    Trishissi — January 1, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

    Happy new year and congratulations on a beautiful blog. I would love Dorie’s book which looks awesome 🙂

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    Rachel — January 1, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

    I would love Thomas Keller. I saw him on several episodes of top chef, my favorite show, and plan to eat at his restaurant one day. Even saw the ladies on the real housewives of orange county eat at his restaurant. And I know they did not appreciate his food like I would! My favorite cookbook is anything by in a gar ten. and I have made several delicious items from the merry gourmet, the oatmeal is a personal favorite!!!

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    Jackie Baisa — January 1, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    What a soulful post. Already looking forward to your February blogaversary post. 🙂

    I love Thomas Keller and still do not own that book. I think, partly, because I’ve felt maybe it’s out of my league. But, I’ve gotten more and more adventurous in the kitchen this year, and I understand complicated concepts now, so I think I’m ready for it. 😉

    You’re such a generous person. Thanks for having this contest. How sweet!

    Happy New Year!

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    Courtney T — January 1, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

    I would love the New York Times cookbook. Hoping it will give me new dinner ideas!

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    feather14 — January 1, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    I would like to win the NYT cookbook, heard great things about it.. What a great offer, thanks!! I have two books I love this year. I’m a huge Tessa Kiros lover, her books are like art. I just got her new greek cookbook ( at least new to me ) and who doesn’t love Dorie’s new one Around My French Table, another great book.

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    Megan — January 1, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

    I would love Dorie’s new book! I love her baking book and I’ve been lusting after this one since it came out, but didn’t get it for Christmas. It would be a great way to start the new year!

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    Paula - bell'alimento — January 1, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

    Happy New Year! What a fantastic idea! All of these books are incredible. If I had to pick just ONE it would have to be ad hoc…See you in Birmingham xoxo

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    Ethan — January 1, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

    Happy new year MJ!
    I have Dorie’s book and the NYT’s is on my list next, so I’d probably select Ad Hoc at Home if i had the choice.
    wonderful giveaway, thanks!

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    Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle — January 1, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

    Happy New Year and so glad we got to know each other this year; you may have come to the cooking party a bit late (by your own admission) but you have such a gift for cooking and writing about it; I look forward to reading more.

    I am fortunate to have several of these books and right now am really enjoying Dorie Greenspan’s; even trying to participate in French Friday’s with Dorie. Trying being the word!

    The only one on your list I have yet to get that I want is Ad Hoc and would love it for a great read; maybe haven’t purchased it since I’m not sure how user friendly it is but would love to find out!

    Thank you…such a great, generous offer.

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    Kirstin — January 1, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

    I don’t live in the US anymore but I’d love to send Ad Hoc at Home to my mom in the states. She just got a brand new DSLR camera too, maybe it’ll inspire her to start a blog!

    As for favorite food lit, I just started reading My Life in France and I’m totally smitten with it so far. Happy 2011!

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    What a sweetly inspired giveaway! I hope you had a great new years, can’t wait to see what you cook up in 2011! Was great to meet you in Seattle this past year, hope to bump into you again soon!

    My favorite cookbook (ever) is the Flavor Bible. I keep that one at my fingertips, ready to provide some inspiration. I have been eying that New York Times cookbook though…… 🙂

    Happy 2011!

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    JACK — January 2, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    I would love to own Greenspan’s book. Although I find French cooking intimidating, I’ve heard that the recipes in this book are ver accessible. Thank you!

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    Arubula — January 2, 2011 @ 9:15 am

    I have been meaning to grab AdHoc at Home for a while now. I waited for Thomas Keller to come to town, but then something came up and I never made it to the signing. Then I gave my husband a list of cookbooks for Christmas to get me, and I got none. It’s on my to buy list!

    I, too, put The Flavor Bible on my favorite cooking resources of 2o10 list. It is my favorite resource in my library. For anyone who doesn’t have this book, you should really pick it up, it’s fantastic!

    Happy Cooking in 2011!

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    Foodelf — January 2, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    I’d love to win Dorie Greenspan’s book!

    My best Christmas present was “As Always, Julia” which is a compilation of the correspondence between Julia and Avis DeSoto. I slurped this up over 2-days and was sorry when it was over. This book charmed and captivated me and I’m still carrying it around in my head.

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    Debbie — January 2, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    I’d love to win Dorie’s new book. I have her Baking book and I love it. The recipes are awesome. I’ve dabbled some with french cuisine and I’d like to do more. With Dorie you can’t fail!

    You have a great blog. It’s one of my favs.

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    Amanda Thompson — January 2, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    I would love to win Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef by Shauna and Dan Ahern! One of my New Years Resolutions is to start cooking healthier foods for my husband and myself. Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home and Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook are on the top of my favorites list too. I keep Ad Hoc on my coffee table for inspiration. I really enjoy your blog ~ your photos are gorgeous!

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    Happy New Year! What a nice thing to do for your readers. Would love to own the new NY Times Cookbook. One of my favorite little cookbooks is by Tori Ritchie and it is titled – Party Appetizers. Wishing you much happiness and success in 2011!

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    Licorous — January 2, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    I’d love to have a copy of The NY Times Cookbook. Thanks!

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    Carla — January 2, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    My limited cookbook collection consists of 2 Mark Bittman books 🙁 – I’d love to win the Dorie Greenspan book.

  61. Pingback: Tweets that mention welcoming 2011 and saying thank you | the merry gourmet -- Topsy.com

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    Lisa — January 2, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    I’d love any of those, but especially Ad Hoc or The Flavor Bible. I just picked up Melissa Clarks’ In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite and can’t wait to dig in!

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    Emily — January 2, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    I would love to have a copy of Ad Hoc at Home to add to my collection. One of my personal favorites is Bon Appetit Y’All by Virginia Willis.

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    Grace Boyle — January 2, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

    What a wonderful giveaway and way to start 2011.

    I would love to own EACH of these, but The Essential New York Times Cookbook really compiles an array of recipes and foodie bits that would be so great to own on my bookshelf.

    I really love Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics Cookbook. It’s extremely simple and combines delicious foods, to make an incredible taste. There’s nothing complex about her cooking but the taste, is always great.

    Thanks for the opportunity! 🙂

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    Cheryl Arkison — January 2, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

    I totally heart Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. Not only a great cookbook, but a great read. Otherwise, my pick would probably be Dorie Greenspan or NYT. I’m thankful for Twitter for allowing me to meet so many new people! Here’s to 2011.

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    Mary Ann Rusnov-Hagans — January 2, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    Everyone of these books would be a wonderful addition to my cookbook family. I have entered many a food competition and my Flavor Bible has been my right arm. One of the most rewarding compliments I have received was a judge commenting on my use of “uncommon” flavors as to being the reason I won. I did not tell him I used the Flavor Bible. My other go to books are the Jewish American Cookbook published in the 1930’s, The Escoffier Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery, Ruhlman’s Ratio and my school books On Cooking and On Baking. I would love either Ad Hoc, Around my French Table or The Essential New York Times Cookbook

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    Carroll — January 2, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

    A very Happy New Year to you, and thank you for sharing your blog! I would love the ad hoc or the flavor bible. My cooking inspirations for this year, as I have been learning how to bake bread, are the Artisan Breads in 5 minutes. Although lately I have been trying to perfect the Amish White bread recipe found on various blogs and sites.

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    Jason Phelps — January 2, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

    The Flavor Bible would be my pick. I love the predecessor and having an index of flavors sounds like just my thing!

    Happy New Year!

    Jason

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    Steph — January 2, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    NYT Cookbook for me!!

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    [email protected] — January 3, 2011 @ 12:09 am

    What a terrific selection of books!! Well, since Santa was very good to me this year ( I received Dorie’s book and the NY Times book – both are excellent!!) I would love to own Ad Hoc!!!

    I really enjoy your blog and wish you and your family a happy, healthy and joyous 2011!!

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    Brian — January 3, 2011 @ 2:20 am

    I’d love to have Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc. I already have the Flavor Bible. In fact, it may be my most used “cookbook.” It’s a fantastic way of using a recipe or a technique as the source and then going to the FB to add twists and learn how to build off those basics. It has brought some interesting combinations, most recently a grapefruit and tarragon beet salad. Happy New Year!

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    Meg Rosenberg — January 3, 2011 @ 5:41 am

    Out of the cookbooks listed above, The Flavor Bible draws me the most. During the last year, I have been learning how to create and tinker with recipes through Food 52, and The Flavor Bible would be a great reference for creative cooking. Also, it is one of the books I don’t already own!

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    Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) — January 3, 2011 @ 6:14 am

    Number one on my list is the new Baked cookbook. Of these, I’d love either Ad Hoc or the Flavor Bible

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    [email protected] — January 3, 2011 @ 6:43 am

    It has to be either AdHoc or the NYT book – I can’t decide so when I win, you can help me make the decision! LOL! Seriously, so glad you found your passion and are sharing it with us – I know my day is better when I see a new MG post in my Reader! Happy New Year and I cannot wait to see where 2011 takes you!

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    Sandra Lira — January 3, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    I’d love Dorie Greenspan’s book!

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    Robin Fletcher — January 3, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    They all look good, but if I have to choose one, it would be Dorie Greenspan’s. I’ve been eyeing that one…. Happy New Year!

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    Marcy — January 3, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    I’d love to own any of these books I don’t have any of them…. My fave cook book right now (bc I’ve had to make a ton of cakes) is Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer cakes.

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    Angie — January 4, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

    How nice of you to offer this giveaway!

    I would love either the New York Times book or the Flavour Bible – both sound wonderful and up my alley. I own Ad Hoc at home and it’s excellent and inspiring.

    This year I read the book “Heat” – it details the activity of the kitchen at Babbo and pasta-making and charcuterie in Italy. Wonderful read.

    Happy 2011!
    Angie

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    Lara — January 5, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    I’d love the NY Times cookbook! I’ve heard such great things about it. My favorite go-to books are Joy of Cooking and Kosher By Design. Always good recipes & ideas.

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    Carol — January 6, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    A really meaningful food book I read this year was “Spoon Fed” by Kim Severson. I loved that it was about food, but also so much more as it weaved through the lives of different women in the food industry.

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