A thankyou to Vanessa Food in Books

Every once in awhile, someone makes a gesture that touches you, changes you, in a way that’s profound. Sometimes it might be big, sweeping gestures like a billionaire setting up a go fund me account to save the Toys R Us stores.

Another of Vanessa’s beautiful photos.

Other times and I think even more profoundly powerful, it’s a smaller but more intimate gesture that comes from the heart that really touches. Gestures that aren’t necessarily expensive, but gestures that are kind, thoughtful and special and reflect a nature that observes, listens and thinks about others.

I was the recipient recently of such a gesture from Vanessa at FoodinBooks, a fellow blogger I enjoy immensely. On a post from Vanessa about The Apprentice by Jacques Pepin, I had mentioned that when my house was burglarized, one of the things that bothered me the most was the theft of my Jacque Pepin books.

Vanessa immediately & most generously asked for my address. I had just upgraded my blog and was dealing with many behind the scenes issues, and neglected to do so…but shortly after, Vanessa had a giveaway to celebrate 300 followers. As luck would have it, I was one of the recipients, and low and behold, rather than the book she was giving away, what appeared in my mailbox was a copy of the Essential Pepin, one of the treasured books taken from my home.

I have been meaning for a while to do something for Vanessa, and sharing her blog FoodinBooks with you, I hope is one way to thank her beyond the obvious words. Her kindness makes me remember how many wonderful people there are in the world that matter so much more and make more of a difference than any low-life thief.

I’ve been dying to try this recipe, just one of hundreds I want to make!!

I do so enjoy FoodinBooks. Vanessa’s photography is beautiful, her book reviews are fun, and Vanessa has a way of drawing you in with each post, building drama and suspense as she starts to prepare a recipe while reviewing a book. A photo pops up, and you wonder what she’s making, but you’re so fascinated with her lovely prose that you don’t want to leave it to peek ahead…your interest is piqued even more as the next photo appears.

And so the suspense builds as you read, as each carefully crafted word builds on the previous, and each photo reveals another little hint of what the end result, the final climax, will be. And end it does with the finished dish, wrapped up and tied to into the book, in a neat little package. It’s always an aha moment.

Vanessa making savory blue corn cakes with poached eggs and green chile

Sometimes I guess what sumptuous feast Vanessa has prepared before I get to the very end, and sometimes it’s a book I’ve already read so I have a pretty good idea. Even so, I’m still wowed at the way Vanessa makes me look at it in a whole new way through her eyes.

And when I read Vanessa’s posts, I feel as if I’m walking hand in hand with her for just a beat. That maybe some small smattering of her Je Ne Sais Quas may have rubbed off on the usually too practical me.

Am I reading too much into Vanessa’s apples?

I think that maybe next time I go out, I’ll choose that red lipstick, untouched in the back of the make-up box instead of my more basic shade. I might leave that button (or more!) undone, or maybe I’ll be more generous with those spices, more bold with my words. I’ll sip a cocktail and laugh a throaty laugh as I toss my hair.

Vanessa makes me feel a little braver, a little bit more powerful.

Go visit Food in Books and see if you don’t feel the same. And hit that “follow” button! All photos, except from the Jacques Pepin book, are from www.FoodinBooks.com



30 thoughts on “A thankyou to Vanessa Food in Books

  1. Oh no Mollie! It really so sad and scary to have this happen. Thankful you’re OK and weren’t there when they came in. And glad for this dear post— we all love hearing about kindness in the world. Love to you Mollie.

  2. What a sweet way to create a positive out of a negative experience. That’s what it’s all about. Love your blog (been a follower for quite a while) and I will be following FoodInBooks too.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      You know, maybe you’re right. Vanessa was so amazing with her gift. 🙂 Just reaching out like that. It really did help my attitude just to know there are people like her out there!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks Sophie! I wanted to make it more about Vanessa than me! I guess I still needed to vent a bit! I appreciate your kind words. 🙂

  3. Joanne


    You are such an inspiration to me. I am so sorry for your experience. I only know you through the posts on this blog, but you touch my heart deeply through your generous spirit which I absolutely know is pure and abundant.
    As always, thank you. I am so happy to have found you here.
    I will follow Vanessa as well


  4. Oh, my! That is so insane that your books were stolen! I would be devastated. Vanessa is one of my favorite bloggers and she is super special and kind. This is a beautiful tribute. Thanks so much for sharing. <3 Take care. 🙂

  5. Also, this was one of the most kind, beautiful, lovely, and touching posts anyone has ever written about me. Molly, you are a treasure. Thank you so very much, my friend. I am reposting this on my page, if ok with you. Thank you again for your wonderful words and also for the cooking inspiration that you give me with each of your delicious posts. The Brussels sprouts with Parmesan are on a weekly rotation, and so many of your other dishes have inspired versions of my own. You’re a lovely blogger and human being and I’m fortunate I found you here on WordPress. xoxo

  6. Awww! Well, someone who loves Jacques Pepin as much as we both do deserves all of his cookbooks. So glad you’re enjoying it. His books are among my absolute favorite cookbooks of all time, and his recent memoir “The Apprentice” is also a wonderful read, with excellent recipes and memories of his youth working in his mother’s cafe. xoxo

  7. Wait. A burglar stole your Pepin cookbooks? Wow. That’s really crazy. But oh so sorry, I can’t even imagine my house invaded and victimized like that. So good to know about Vanessa and her blog.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Mimi, well they took all the usual stuff, of course. The tv’s, electronics and appliances, tools & heirlooms and silver. And they decided that if they emptied out the freezer in my basement they could fill it with all kinds of stuff and wheel it out of the house on a dolly. And so left behind was the contents of my freezer on the laundry room floor which included a year’s worth of organic chicken I had won in a cooking contest.

      The police thought I was dead inside because of the smell and my neighbors & son cleaned it up for me. Another gesture I’ll never be able to repay!

      Somehow it was the small, stupid things that they took that really bothered me. Like taking my copies of Jacques Pepin. Coz I couldn’t get it out of my head that they weren’t selling or hocking those small, personal things, that they were using them.

      That some A-Hat was sitting down and eating one of Jacques dishes cooked from MY cookbook! (and cooked while his wife was wearing my nice leather Ralph Loren boots.)

      I don’t think I will ever stop looking at people’s feet to see if they have MY boots on, either!

        • FrugalHausfrau

          Oh, they didn’t take any artwork which apparently, from what we found out from the dealers we worked with for my folks when the went into assisted living, is pretty much worthless in today’s market, so it’s a good thing I always bought what I liked! And they didn’t take most of my kitchen equipment, so that was a plus! I thought for sure my kitchen aide would be gone.

          • My mother’s house was robbed when i was in college. They were experts. Tons of antiques, Oriental rugs – everything she had was shipped from France ages ago. They also took my passport, but fortunately there have been no repercussions from that. I wasn’t there, but still felt violated. I’m so sorry. Do you have any idea who did it?

            • FrugalHausfrau

              Yeah, these guys knew, too. The took the cut crystal, left the pressed. Took the silver, left the silver plate, and so on. Oh my gosh, those antiques and those Oriental rugs must have been worth a fortune! I think a kid in my neighborhood set me up and was working with someone who knew what they were doing. They were in and out fast, but they tried to make it look like a crack person was in there. They took some piping, etc. which is really worthless, and not consistent with the type of robbery it was. That’s why I think this kid was in there first, then contacted someone who had a little more experience and a vehicle.

              • Horrible. Sorry, I’m probably making you re-live this. For her, it was plumbers that she suspects, who were working in the house, and asked odd questions. Who knows. But as you know, it’s not about the value, but the intangible importance and connections to the material “stuff.”

                • FrugalHausfrau

                  I keep telling myself it’s all just “stuff” right. After helping the folks clear out all of their junk, I mean stuff, from their house, I came home and started off loading some of my things. So maybe the robbers gave me a head start! I just shipped most of my china to my daughter, and I’m going to clear out a few other things, too, that I don’t use anymore. Maybe the robbers gave me a head start.

                  And I was so glad I wasn’t there when it happened – I hope your folks were away!

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