I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I love reading cookbooks. It sounds like a strange thing to love, especially when you consider how little cooking I actually do. A few years ago, I wouldn't have got it, but then a few years ago a good night would probably have involved McDonalds and the movies. Some things about growing up are wonderful... However, by far the best cook books to read are those that are written by people who aren't neccessarily professional chefs. I don't want to say professional chefs are bad food writers! What slander! No, on the contrary they're great food writers, but often for them a meal is an opportunity to show off with delicious but elaborate feasts for the senses that need a half day to prepare and ninety dollars worth of ingredients. What I like to read is the kind of book written by people who cook with love. I know that that sounds incredibly corny, but if you're the type of person who cooks for themselves a lot or who eats out a lot, think of the basic pleasure given when someone else cooks a meal for you. A truly delicious family dinner is an affirmation of love. Also, nothing brings people together like good food.
So while I love going to a restaurant and ordering something fancy, when I want to feel snuggly and cozy, or when I want to get in to the holiday spirit, I crack open one of my Nigella Lawson's or one of my Peter Mayle's and curl up in my living room with something to munch on (you should never read a food book without something to nibble on along the way) and lose myself in the photography, the descriptions, the menus and the whole feel of it.