good reading for a rainy spring day

As I write this, the rain is pouring down outside, washing across the already-clean sidewalks, and pattering across the foilage below my second-floor window. It's lovely, really, as much as I wish it were sunny. But for those days when you're stuck inside, here are a couple of books I've been reading and loving.
Vintage Style by Cath Kidston. This simple book on interior design by one of those who brought vintage fabrics back into style is simple and charming. We go inside her homes (yes, that's a plural) for photographs and she explains the thought behind many of her decorative decisions. I picked up some very good ideas; my favorite is for those who have pets in the house. She tucks a length of fabric or pretty old blanket around just the seat cushions of her couches. It doesn't match, but it adds extra color, as well as being much easier to clean then the slipcover or actual cushions.
Fashionable Food by Sylvia Lovegren. This one is humourous, but I haven't been tempted to try many of the recipies. It's a recounting of food fads in the US over the past seven decades. It's quite interesting to see how attitudes toward food and trends in cooking are reflective of society as a whole. Make sure to look for the infamous "candlestick salad."
Chef on a Shoestring, edited by Andrew Friedman. Apparently this goes along with a television show, but I haven't seen it. Simple, lovely dishes that often have unexpected flavor pairings. I want to try the sweet potato gnocchi, onion soup, and apple strudel, among others.
Two for the Road by Jane and Michael Stern. I love their column in Gourmet; I'm also addicted to their website. This friendly book recounts how they got into food writing, favorite meals, early cars, and everything in between. It has recipies at the end of each chapter, but you'll want to read it just for fun. It's not long, either, so you should finish it just about the time the rain stops.


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