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It was an evening of laughter, great food, wine, and friends as we continued our Fall Author Series last night with a visit by acclaimed chef Lucinda Scala Quinn, who offered some tried and true tips from her new cookbook, Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys, on how to tame the "wild beasts" in our lives and share with us how to make a family meal that will attract even the pickiest of eaters and satisfy even the most urgent of hungry situations!

Aside from her expertise as Martha Stewart's "food guru," co-host of the PBS show Everyday Food, and frequent contributor to Today and Martha, Lucinda lives with three sons and a husband who all love to eat - so she really knows her stuff! Here are just some of the brilliant (and hilarious!) tips she gave the audience on how to make boys and men crave those nutritious, home-cooked meals and function on their own around the kitchen:
  • Always have bacon on hand. The stuff lasts forever! And whether you're serving it as a main part of your dish or not, the smell of bacon cooking will surely lure anyone to the kitchen table.
     
  • You will build a vegetable eater if you give vegetables their due credit. Rather than hiding spinach in a brownie dessert, celebrate the taste of the leafy green simply by sauteing it in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, to the point where it just begins to fall. Don't let it get soggy, and you'll have boys who will begin to adore the traditionally feared side-dish!
     
  • Men are not genetically incapable of washing dishes. They just need a little encouragement! If they leave crusted, dirty pots in the sink or on the stove, put them in a place that will have them horrified and rushing to the sink looking for the SOS. Lucinda’s suggested locations: their car seat or their sock drawers. Hmmm….
Not only did she dole out great strategies, our speaker and her eldest son Calder (remember that name; this boy is going to be a star!) prepared for the entire audience a tasting of the salsa recipe from the book. The secret to awesome salsa? Add radishes and water! It was amazing.... 
 
And we all feasted on the to-die-for desserts that the Library staff baked for refreshments during the book signing reception. (We did not bake the stunning book cake shown in the photos; but thank you so much to our favorite "To Read or Not To Read" gals for including us all in their birthday celebration!) Another tip from Lucinda - bake the coffee cake recipe from the book and then freeze it hot. It seals in all the moisture, so that when you cut a slice in the morning, it will be absolutely incredible. Freeze while still hot? Who knew?!
 
By the way, have I mentioned yet just how fabulous the new cookbook actually is? The recipes are diverse and comforting, the advice is practical and thorough, the photography is gorgeous, and the pages stay open on their own.  Plus, as one patron keenly pointed out last night, the book is complete with stories and explanations, and would make for as compelling a bedside read as the latest fiction best-seller.
 
What more can I say, other than, you'd be mad not to get your hands on this book!
 
Oh, and Lucinda loves Darien Library just as much as we love her! How cool is this?!