Breakfast: Sliced tomatoes, scrambled eggs, coffee ~ Brooklyn, NY August 10, 2012
Classic cookbooks. The holidays always bring a deluge of sexy cookbooks from the major publishers — but personally, I find my favorite reads are rarely the ones I encounter on the new release table. After all: good food and good writing never goes out of style. One gem I turn to again and again is the deliciously droll Esquire Party Book (pictured above, editions start at $5.50). But follow your own tastes: when it comes to old cookbooks, half the fun is the hunt. Scout your local used bookstores, brick and mortar specialty shops (like Rabelais in Portland, Maine or Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in NYC) or online at Oldcookbooks.com.
Notes for chic readers. Penguin Books are treasures — fabulous to read and, thanks to decades of iconic cover design, to look at, too. This set brings together 100 of their best jackets in one box. Pin them on your wall for inspiration or drop them in the post to surprise to your favorite bookworm. (Postcards from Penguin, $25, us.penguingroup.com)
An enchanted getaway. Winter is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit New Mexico, and the season I miss it most. This Christmas, I’ll be asking Santa for a weekend at Los Poblanos Inn — and dreaming of starry nights along the Rio Grande, the smell of pinon fires, and heaping plates of carne adovada. (Los Poblanos Inn, rates $130-$280/night, www.lospoblanos.com)
Scandinavian whimsy, from a master. I didn’t discover Tove Jansson until I was adult, but I fell for her books — both for kids and grownups — with the enthusiasm of a child. Wouldn’t it be nice to have breakfast in bed from a cheery Moomin tray? I’m thinking milky tea, black toast, and lingonberry jam. (Hardcover copy of Moominland Midwinter, from $12, www.amazon.com; Moomin trays, $40 each, www.scandinaviandesigncenter.com; portrait of Tove Jansson; Marimekko birch print)
Tea for Two: Napa Valley honey and a vintage tin packed with PG Tips. Because sometimes a cuppa is really all you need. (And this honey is the stuff of sticky, sweet dreams.) (Branches honey, set of 3, $36, www.katzandco.com; vintage tea tin, prices vary, www.ebay.com)
A bird-lover’s grab bag. Because hope is a thing with feathers. (Sterling and copper bird swing necklace, $60, www.papersnake.ca; Apple bird feeder, The Art of Ornithology, and Audobon Bird Call, $5-$20, www.imaginechildhood.com; Copper songbird house, $84, www.yardenvy.com; Bird garden linen fabric (beautiful for pillows), £44.00/meter, www.stjudesfabrics.co.uk)